The Pequod Review:
Gil Brewer (1922-1983) was one of the better pulp crime writers for the legendary Gold Medal publishing house, and The Red Scarf (1958) might be his best work. The story features a classic Brewer set up — a desperate protagonist who turns to crime out of necessity — and in this case it is Roy Nichols, who finds his new roadside motel project at the brink of insolvency after a construction loan falls through. When Nichols hitches a ride home from a young couple, he discovers a briefcase full of cash in the car and realizes it is his only way out (“That money. I had to keep it. Somehow. It beat like a very small drum at the back of my head. A small and very distant drum...") The story is vivid and raw throughout — it recalls James M. Cain and Jim Thompson — and Brewer persuasively shows what people are capable of when backed into a corner. Recommended.