The Whip Hand

Cover image for


Author: Charles Willeford (W. Franklin Sander)
Published: 1961
Language: English
Wordcount: 62,227 / 165 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 94.7
LoC Category: PZ
Downloads: 2,461
Added to site: 2009.05.27 24289
Genres: Pulp, Post-1930, Thriller

Lash by bloody lash, the she-devil from Dallas would get her revenge.

Show Excerpt

d bought a shine to pass the time while I waited for Ed. I wondered how soon the alarm would go out for me, and if the pock-marked bodyguard would try to perform the execution right in the station if a squad came after me. He hadn't bothered to follow me into the can. I thought about the citizen I had hit, afraid I had hit him too hard. Much too hard.

The shine boy patted my toe. I paid him and eased into the waiting room.

There was no excuse for putting it off any longer, so I checked my billfold. As I'd figured, I was short. Much too short. I read the signs ringed around the walls showing fares to various places. L. A. to San Francisco. L. A. to Seattle. L. A. to Chicago. L. A. to Dallas. That one appealed to me. It fit. It was the farthest point my billfold would reach.

I couldn't think of anybody I knew in Dallas. It was big, I'd heard; and I didn't want to drop into a whistle-stop.

It wouldn't do to be remembered by any ticket clerk, so I returned to the men's room.



Average Rating of 3.8 from 5 reviews: ****

An L.A. cop in Dallas finds himself implicated in a violent crime spree. He soon finds that the only way to exonerate himself will be by hunting down and capturing the true criminals. Excellent crime pulp novel.


It's a second book by Charles Willeford that I read, and I've become, definitively, a fan of this writer.
A great sense of humour, a clever plot, an accelerated rhythm of the
action, ingenious twists and turns, and the main characters that engage
you to become their friends.
If it must be qualified as pulp fiction, it's a pulp fiction in its Golden Age, never to be surpassed.
You can't put the book down and you enjoy every word of it.
Certainly: don't pay attention to the cover design: doesn't have anything to do with the story, if only figuratively.


This was not a thriller and it fell so short of the description. The girl character doesn't even whip anyone; her dad does. Plus, it was really gory. I didn't like it at all!


Wow! What a page-turner! I read this book in one day. More twists and turns than a plate of spaghetti. Pulp fiction at it's very finest

C. Alan Loewen

Charles Willeford (1919-1988) was well known for his cynical, misogynistic, violent stories and The Whip Hand is no exception. However, in this reviewer’s opinion, Willeford shows his capable hand at writing without sacrificing the story to too many extremes.

And speaking in a technical sense, Willeford is a very, very capable writer. His grasp of the logistics of writing is quite capable and one wonders how hw would have fared if he had turned his talents to other arenas and genres.

In The Whip Hand, Bill Brown, an L.A. cop fleeing a frame-up, ends up in Dallas and right in the middle of a kidnapping and murder of a six-year-old girl where he is considered a main suspect.

It is evident Willeford did not hold Oklahoma hicks and rich Texans in very high esteem.

Craig Alan Loewen

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