Friday, November 07, 2008

Forgotten Books: CROCKETT ON THE LOOSE -- Brad Lang

Fred Crockett appeared in only three books, of which this was the first. The publisher was Leisure Books, not the top of the line, which might explain why hardly anyone remembers Crockett: "He's young, hip, long-haired -- a private detective." Very '70s. I mean, look at the cover.

But you know what? It's a fine series of books. I liked every one of them (Brand of Fear and The Perdition Express are the other two). this one's about a missing daughter. You know how that goes. It's never really about a missing daughter, and as the back cover says, you get to follow Crockett through "the sleazy massage parlors, topless bars, and narcotic hideouts of the midwestern college town" where he lives and works. Not to mention you'll run across the funniest torture scene around, not that there's a lot of competition.

Brad Lang doesn't write P. I. novels these days, but he has some cool websites, including Hardboiled Heaven and Classic Movies. I highly recommend you check those out, and if you run across any of the Fred Crockett books, give 'em a try. Maybe you'll like them as much as I did.

Update:  Check out this material on Steve Lewis's Mystery*File.

7 comments:

  1. And, of course, the '70s Leisure is the ancestor of the current Hard Case/western/horror Leisure.

    And they knew a good thing when they could afford it, such as being the paperback publisher of Robert Bloch's collection COLD CHILLS.

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  2. That cover is great! Bill, I give you credit for digging deep for these forgotten entries. I will add the Crockett series to my ‘in search of’ list. Btw, I picked up Galveston Gunman and it’s a damn good read.

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  3. That is the ultimate seventies cover, isn't it?

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  4. Crockett, ok, but what kind of name is "Fred" for a PI?

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  5. What a great forgotten book. I still have all three Crockett titles on my shelf. I'm going to have to dig one out tonight and reread it!

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  6. An interview I did in 2004 with Brad Lang is still on the main Mystery*File website at http://www.mysteryfile.com/Lang/Crockett.html.

    It's preceded by a detailed profile of Fred Crockett by PI specialist Gary Warren Niebuhr. Worth checking out, I think.

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  7. That cover looks so much like the style of some of the Roger Moore/Bond poster artwork of the day.

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