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"I was right, wasn't I, Joe? You should have been a private dick all the time. You're a natural. Here you've had a private op's license a full six hours or so, and you're working overtime finding dead bodies, disappearing potential murderers and witnesses, bumping heads with detective sergeants all over the place. You've got the knack, boy."
-Goodey's Last Stand

This seeming one-off private eye novel makes for a disorienting reading experience. Mr. Alverson so consciously tries to evoke Chandler that it's hard at first to figure out when the story is supposed to be set--though in the end it turns out to be contemporary. Adding to one's confusion is the anomaly of hero Joe Goodey referring to blacks as spades, which even in 1975 was frowned upon. At any rate, Goodey is thrown off of the San Francisco police department after accidentally shooting the mayor's uncle, but is given an expedited private eye's license when a stripper he knew turns up dead, with the mayor's name in her little black book. Set in Chinatown and the red light district the book's long on atmosphere and makes for a decent enough homage to the classics of the genre.


Grade: (B)


See also:

Private Eyes
Charles Alverson Links:

    -AUTHOR SITE: ChasOnline
    -FILMOGRAPHY: Charles Alverson (

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