Revenge is a dish best served cold. That time-honored phrase encapsulates Cornell Woolrich’s The Bride Wore Black. With this novel, Woolrich created one of crime fiction’s most memorable femme fatales.
Julie Killeen has just been married to the man of her dreams. She steps out of the church and into a nightmare: before her eyes, her new husband is gunned down on the street by unknown assailants, for unknown reasons. She recovers from the trauma and meticulously crafts a cold-blooded revenge, morphing from blushing bride to icy assassin. One by one, she hunts down each of the killers. Disguised as a sexy seductress, she plots brilliant, irresistible traps for the murderers, luring each one to a violent death.
We accompany Julie on her vengeful quest. The road is laden with twists and terror, and it ends with a staggering sucker punch to the gut. Woolrich masterfully manipulates fate, fear, power, and paranoia — the building blocks of noir fiction.
The book inspired three films: Fran¨ois Truffaut’s faithful adaptation with Jeanne Moreau unforgettable in the title role; and Quentin Tarantino’s two Kill Bill installments.
The Bride Wore Black is Cornell Woolrich’s ode to the corrosive effects of the dark heart. Never has a thirst for vengeance been quenched quite so effectively.