HELL TO PAY
A Tom Kincaid Crime Mystery
By William R. Cox
Bold Venture Press
William Robert Cox (1901 – 1988) was a veteran pulp writer
who wrote in various genres. His most popular were crime/mysteries and westerns.
Among the several series he created, the Tom Kincaid are among the most
memorable. The set up was pure tough-guy pulps. Kincaid is a World War II
veteran eking out a living in New York
City as a professional gambler. In that line of work,
he often crosses paths with both mobster and cops of all varieties.
When a group of supposedly disaffiliated young hoodlums
begin attacking mob backed establishments and gambling parlors, Kincaid somehow
finds himself in the middle of the conflict. For whatever reason, one of the
vicious young Turks named Wysocki, has signaled him out in the belief he is
part of the Mosski syndicate. Which then puts the gambler under the scrutiny of
that particular boss. In his attempts to keep himself neutral, Kincaid finds
himself the center of violence from both sides.
As if that isn’t bad enough, someone close to Kincaid is
brutally murdered and he realizes those close to him are all possible targets
of the mystery figure controlling the murderous punks. Unless he can uncover
the hidden mastermind’s identity, the prospects of his future are getting worst
by the minute. And those are odds no gambler is ever willing to accept.
“Hell To Pay” is a classic 50s-60s pulp story. Cox’s vocabulary echoes the slang of the concrete jungle in a savage style of poetry that made his fiction unique.