The Womb (1966)

K.P. Whittaker (Kathryn Putnam)
Award Novels

Shadowton--a brutal crater of violence where only the most valiant or the most vicious could survive.

Shadowton, as it turns out, is actually the Sunnyside neighborhood just south of Long Island City (get it? things ain't so "sunny" in Shadowton).

Despite a cover that makes the book look like a '60s sci-fi story about eugenics, this is actually a very good pulp about various low-life gamblers (and the women who love them) hanging around a bar called the "Ly-Low."  Author Whittaker clearly hoped to do more here than simply write a page turner, the book describing the historical moment when gambling, previously an activity "humanely" administered by the local Irish, is in the process of coming under a more brutal form of Mob control.  Lots of fighting, drinking, squalor, and psychologically-damaged hook-ups among people going nowhere.

Despite being better than most in this genre, The Womb appears to be rather obscure--virtually invisible except for a few stray copies at Alibris.  Whittaker's only other book, at least according to WORLDCAT, is comic novel about the WACs called Roll Your Tent Flaps, Girls! (1963-Avon).

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