The Big Clock
by Kenneth Fearing, introduction by Nicholas Christopher
George Stroud is a hard-drinking, tough-talking, none-too-scrupulous writer for a New York media conglomerate that bears a striking resemblance to Time, Inc. in the heyday of Henry Luce. One day, before heading home to his wife in the suburbs, Stroud has a drink with Pauline, the beautiful girlfriend of his boss, Earl Janoth. Things happen. The next day Stroud escorts Pauline home, leaving her off at the corner just as Janoth returns from a trip. The day after that, Pauline is found murdered in her apartment.
Janoth knows there was one witness to his entry into Pauline's apartment on the night of the murder; he knows that man must have been the man Pauline was with before he got back; but he doesn’t know who he was. Janoth badly wants to get his hands on that man, and he picks one of his most trusted employees to track him down: George Stroud, who else?
How does a man escape from himself? No book has ever dramatized that question to more perfect effect than The Big Clock, a masterpiece of American noir.
That rare noir masterwork that somehow both keeps you in suspense and unmoors you with its underlying fatalism.
Read The Big Clock to get a feel for Kenneth Fearing as social critic, spinning out an edgy corporation—as—hell thriller.
— Nancy Pearl, Book Lust
I'm still a bit puzzled as to why no one has come forward to make me look like thirty cents. But except for an occasional tour—de—force like The Big Clock, no one has.
— Raymond Chandler
Mr. Fearing, poet and novelist, must now also be labeled a master of the tour de force. He has taken one of those tricky situations which always appeal to the short story writer and the mystery novelist and made it into an almost believable metropolitan melodrama. Even Agatha Christie with her penchant for difficult plot structure could have done no better with the material at hand—and I do not intend that as faint praise...You probably won't find a better thriller this year.
— The Washington Post
If you enjoy top—drawer detective fiction...we can recommend this one with no reservations whatsoever.
— The New York Times
This brilliant study in noir is 60 years old and looks better all the time. Fearing's intricate portrait of murder and the corporate mentality couldn't feel more current.
— The Globe and Mail