The Pequod Review:
Black Wings Has My Angel is a bleak and seedy noir masterpiece, the story of a prison escapee who recruits a prostitute to help with a bank robbery. The plot is decent enough, but Chaze’s hard-boiled prose is what carries the novel:
She giggled, a small light sound against the heavy hum of the Packard. She was breathing oddly, her shoulders moving as if her lungs were upstairs there, in her shoulders. She wore a T shirt of some kind of cocoa toweling and when she leaned back hard against the seat it was a splendid thing to see. Her skirt was gray flannel and it fitted as if it had been smeared on her, and below it were the legs. You hear and read about legs. But when you see the really good ones, you know the things you read and heard were a lot of trash.
And here is the main character (“Tim Sunblade”) remembering his first love:
I’d held her in the swing down the block, on her front porch, back in the days when holding hands was a lovely explosion, when home-made pimiento cheese sandwiches and lemonade were manna from heaven. How many years ago? How many years since those pimiento-flavored kisses?
Later, when he compares the landscapes of the American West and South, Chaze remarks that “out West all the smells are sucked up out of the baked land by the sun.…The sky is high and pale and impersonal and you get the feeling it doesn’t belong to you at all, but that it is the property of the chamber of commerce. In the South the sky is humid and low and rich and it’s yours to smell and feel.” Highly recommended.