Don Carpenter. Hard Rain Falling (1966) 308 pp.
Publisher’s description: “Jack Levitt, a white foundling, and Billy Lancing, a Negro drifter, are seventeen and sixteen when they first briefly encounter each other in Portland, Oregon—one a formidable, tough-looking fugitive from an orphan asylum, the other already a brilliantly accomplished pool-hall hustler. Years later they meet again, in San Quentin, where Jack has landed on a charge of statutory rape, Billy for forgery. In the interim, Billy has married, begotten a son, taken a mistress, gone to college; Jack has boxed, bucked logs, worked in a cannery, robbed gas stations, rolled drunks, and spent time in reform schools and county jails. What happens in San Quentin is crucial to both men, and helps shape the ironic conclusion of the story in San Francisco.”
Setting: San Quentin, San Francisco