** The Postman Always Rings Twice by James Cain

Want a good dose of depression to start your week? Pick up The Postman Always Rings Twice, a noir novel that claims to have started the genre. It’s a no-hope-whatsoever story with a crude premise (bump the husband so the wife and the lover can get together), a despicable “hero” (the lover), and a tragic ending (death all around). The story pulled me in but I could never get over the weak woman character, who is inexplicably attracted to her loser lover and seemingly unable to make her own way in life. (Perhaps I should keep in mind that the book dates back to 1934!)

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