Sleep With The Devil by Day Keene
Ferron was part hoodlum, part gigolo, a guy who’d break your arm as quick as he’d look at you. Suddenly his whole world began to shatter with unspeakable savagery.
Sleep With The Devil (1954)
THE beautiful red-haired girl told Ferron he was a heel straight down the line.
But she’d do anything for him—anything at all.
Wayne would find out, too, that Ferron was part hoodlum, part gigolo, a guy who’d break your arm as quick as he’d look at you.
Yet Wayne wanted to give him a quarter of a million bucks.
And the police knew that Ferron was the most wanted man in the state.
But they did nothing about it. They didn’t even look for him.
It was a swell setup, Ferron thought.
They’d never get him because he was too smart.
He began to wonder . . . and then suddenly his whole world began to shatter with unspeakable savagery.
Sleep With The Devil is a sixteen chapter novel first published in 1954.
Sleep With The Devil has 0 illustrations.
Gunard Hjertstedt (March 28, 1904 – January 9, 1969), better known by the pen name Day Keene, was an American novelist, short story writer and radio and television scriptwriter. Keene wrote over 50 novels and was the head writer for radio soap operas Little Orphan Annie and Kitty Keene, Inc. Several of his novels were adapted into movies, including Joy House (MGM, 1964) and Chautauqua, released as The Trouble with Girls (MGM, 1969).
Excerpt: Sleep With The Devil
HE WAS IN NO SPECIAL HURRY to kill Bennett. He would know when the right time came. It might be tomorrow; then again, this waiting might go on for months. At the moment, Ferron merely envied Whit Bennett. Right now Whit was probably sitting in some air conditioned bar, working on a tall cold Collins and a babe.
Ferron wished he was doing the same thing himself. Instead he was sweltering in the small frame church where the summer heat was a living, tangible substance. Night was a hot black blanket hung over the open windows. It seemed as if the sermon had been going on for hours. Ferron’s cheap white shirt and shiny blue serge suit were sodden with perspiration. He was glad there were no screens on the windows. The drone of the mosquitoes attracted by the flickering oil lamps and the constant slap, slap, slap of the congregation were all that was keeping him awake. He’d never been so bored or so uncomfortable. Still, considering the score for which he was shooting, he could stand some discomfort. He could wait.
A big blond man in his early thirties, Ferron decided he could be as patient as the situation required. Now he looked across the center aisle that separated the men from the women. He watched Amy. He wished things were different regarding Amy. It would make the waiting less boring.
Dewy was the word that best described her. Dewy, virginal, untouched. Her face was elfin. Crisp black curls peeked out from under the modest poke bonnet she habitually wore. Not even her simple gray gown could disguise the perfection of her form. There was a hidden devil in her gray-green eyes. She was a smouldering volcano, as yet unawakened, awaiting the touch of the master’s hand. Ferron slapped at a mosquito. And she was his, but only on one condition. He studied the earnest young face, then dropped his eyes to the snug fit of the girl’s bodice and perspired even more profusely.
In the six months he’d courted Amy, the greatest intimacy she’d granted him had been a kiss, and that only after they had been formally engaged and the banns had been read from the pulpit. Now they kissed goodnight regularly. On occasion they even held hands. There would be nothing more until their wedding night. Ferron doubted if in her entire years the girl had even thought one improper thought. On the night she became his wife she would be his to do with as he pleased, a willing and eager participant in the Biblical injunction to beget. Until then, they could continue to hold hands.
Ferron patted at the perspiration on his face with his handkerchief. Still, biologically speaking, all women were very similar. And until he and Amy were married, there was always Lydia.
Ferron suppressed a smile as he thought of the red-haired night club singer. Lydia would howl if she could see him now. She’d ask:
“What the hell are you made up for, a Holy Joe or a Bible salesman or something?”
As usual, with her gamin-like perception, Lydia would be right.
Ferron glanced down at his shiny blue serge suit. The too tight coat bound his broad shoulders. The archaic, stiffly starched white collar was choking him. His black string tie had worked its way under one ear. It was an effort for him to cross his legs because of the heavy, thick soled shoes he was wearing.
More, his clothes and the pious attitude he assumed on his weekly visits to New Hope did something to his face. He didn’t even look like Les Ferron. In New Hope, he wasn’t Les Ferron. He was Paul Parrish, former rural school teacher, and current itinerant peddler of Bibles and religious objets d’art. It still surprised him how many of both he sold in the few days a month he was able to devote to this new identity he was building.
Ferron forced himself to listen to what the minister was saying. One thing was for sure. The guy was death on sin. Anyone who drank or smoked or played cards or desecrated the Sabbath in any way was hell bound for the hot place in a bucket. The thought amused Ferron. It was little wonder the small, obscure sect washed up into a fertile pocket in the foothills of the Catskills had so many children. There was nothing else for them to do.
He lifted his eyes to the open windows and the thick black night behind them. It seemed incredible that he was less than a hundred miles from the hurly-burly of Times Square, an hour and a half’s drive in the 210-horsepower yellow convertible Cadillac garaged at the western terminus of the George Washington Bridge. Of course, in the ancient Plymouth he always drove to New Hope the drive took him a little longer. One night the heap of junk was going to fall to pieces under him. Still, it was in keeping with his role. Itinerant peddlers of Bibles didn’t drive yellow Cadillacs.
He looked back at Amy and found her looking at him. She blushed and returned her attention to the preacher.
Like shooting a sitting quail, Ferron thought.
Excerpt From: Day Keene. “Sleep With The Devil”
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