Surrealism, psychology and noir have been friends before in popular fiction (see the Hitchcock and Dali collab Spellbound, which came out around the same time) but in John Franklin Bardin’s The Deadly Percheron, it gets a little quirkier and less artful than that. Leprechauns, multiple states of amnesia, Coney Island freaks, stolen identities, giant horses and forced electric shock therapy all come into play. Is it all cohesive and believable? Of course not! But it’s a quick pleasure to read and a unique entry in the over crowded genre of pulp novels written in the forties.
Bardin was a native Ohioan turned New Yorker (as so many Ohioans tend to be) who is most known for this novel and two others (The Last of Philip Banter and Devil Take the Blue-Tail Fly) though none have exactly made him a household name.