'Street Of No Return' is one of my favourite Goodis novels. It's multi layered, has an interesting central character and a deep interlocking plot. Goodis views race riots, alcoholism, murder, police corruption and a deep seeded longing for a better place all through a tainted glass beer bottle. Whitey, a bum amongst bums, is mistaken for a murderer after trying to aide a felled police officer in a dark alleyway. His trip to the station house brings insight into the world around him. Danger and breathing go hand in hand. The world is not a nice place and the boys in blue have a hidden agenda.
I was surprised at how complex Goodis made 'Street Of No Return'. Not only did he maintain an interesting plot set in the present but also enveloped the reader in the past - a time when Whitey wasn't a street dweller and his clothes not insect infested. Even more interesting to read is how that past, and a women named Celia impact on the race riots happening around him in the present tense.
'Street Of No Return' is a fast paced crime novel - set primary at night to hold true to the noir theme. The protagonist is a helpless drunk, the good guys are bad, the bad guys are bad and the riots are only the tip of a much larger and deadlier iceberg. The speed at which the story is delivered is not without its filler content with some passages coming across as dialogue heavey and perhaps unwarrented.
The only thing that really holds 'Street Of No Return' back is the typical Goodis internal dialogue by which the character has a tendency to over think a situation and analyse every possible move and outcome. Some of this introspection detracted from the story at hand - which is a shame as the plot itself was excellent. That aside, I really enjoyed 'Street Of No Return' and have no hesitation is saying that this will be a future re-read.