Recommended reading: The Expendable Man

This week I’m recommending The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes, a crime noir classic recently reissued by New York Review Books. A young doctor driving from California to a family wedding in Phoenix, Arizona, sees a teenage girl hitchhiking on a desert road and stops to pick her up, setting in motion a chain of events that will have him suspected of murder when her body turns up a few days later. The “expendable man” of the title refers, of course, to the protagonist, who becomes the wrong man conveniently accused of murder for reasons that the reader is not let in on until about fifty pages into the book.

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