My Bouchercon 2015 panels: Billy Rags, Ted Lewis' American(-style) melodrama
The narrator/protagonist of the 1973 novel by the author of Get Carter (Jack's Return Home) invokes The Street With No Name and Richard Widmark, for example. (It also give a mention to René Lodge Brabazon Raymond, that Englishman who read James M. Cain, grabbed some maps and a dictionary, took the name James Hadley Chase, and wrote No Orchids for Miss Blandish.)
Billy Rags' story arc, particularly its ending, could have come straight from a 1940s filmed melodrama, and I won't spoil much if I reveal that the protagonist comes to a bad end without, however, dying. The clincher, however, is that the phrase "no choice" and variants thereof recur throughout the book as a near-didactic invocation of all those doomed characters played by the likes of Widmark and Sterling Hayden, from back in the days when when lead characters died.
© Peter Rozovsky 2015