He also alludes to male rape in prisons and homosexuals who Ralph comes to accept as fellow rebels. He thinks to himself at one point: “We all had a little twilight in our souls; in every man there are homosexual tendencies, this is immutable, there is no variant, the only variant is the depth of the latency….They were rebels too, rebels introverted; I was a rebel extroverted. Theirs was the force that did not kill, mine was the force that did kill.” .
In addition to the timely and talked-about issue of the aforementioned “nature verses nurture,” McCoy reveals much about Ralph and uses a device that would become stock in noir fiction to drive the plot through Ralph’s inner dialogs, which are almost as numerable as the tough guy banter between the characters. This also portrays Ralph's rising mania to not only outwit the system but to rise above the typical slow-witted crooks he is forced to employ in his schemes.
Altogether, this is not only a tour de force of hardboiled noir fiction, but a literary triumph of genre fiction from one of the grandfathers of the style. It is great that there is a wonderful edition now available in a nicely formatted eBook with an extended biography of the author.