Friday, February 26, 2010

Forgotten Books: If the Coffin Fits -- Day Keene

This book came up in the comments last week, and I couldn't resist rereading it for this week's post. This one's not a free eBook. It's from off the shelves, and as you can see, it has a dandy needle cover. That alone makes it a collector's item.

Day Keene wrote only a few novels with a p.i. as the main character, but this is one of them. I think it's an expansion of a pulp tale, but I'm not sure. Anyway, Tom Doyle is the first-person narrator. He has his own agency in Chicago. He takes a job in Central City, Nevada, to help out an old friend, who wants Doyle to prove a man innocent of murder. While he's at it, Doyle's also going to have to clean up Central City, which is one of those corrupt towns replete with gambling, prostitution, and cops on the take, all under the control of Mr. Big.

As soon as Doyle steps off the plane, he's in a fight, and after that things never slow down as Doyle is beaten, drugged, beaten, drugged, propositioned, jailed, and beaten. Meanwhile lots of people are dying, just as others have died before when they've come close to uncovering Mr. Big. The story takes place over a couple of days, and the only sleep Doyle gets is when he's knocked unconscious (which is often) or drugged. The story is a lot more complicated than I can describe here, but it's a lot of fun. If you like the old-fashioned pulp-styled p.i. stories, you'd find a lot to like here. I know I did.

8 comments:

  1. This is one author I must try. I do read, I actually do.

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  2. I love the cover on IF THE COFFIN FITS!

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  3. I probably bought it for the cover, George.

    Patti, Keene's not for everybody. You have to be in the mood.

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  4. A great one. (Novel, cover, and your posting)

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  5. Now, you see, Bill, "a great needle cover" is just Not Right. I mean GGA I can understand, having a fondness for women's aspect and a decided aversion to sharp things going into anyone's skin, including mine (you can imagine how much fun I had as a kid accompanying my father to a cinema showing of THE FRENCH CONNECTION II). Give me all the spiderwebs in the world catching on my face ahead of a whole lot of needle (much less the spiders...or snakes...themselves...even nonpoisonous snakebites don't seem to bother me as much as metal injectors, from early experiences of both, not that I enjoyed garter-snake bites nor did too much to encourage them).

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  6. "This won't hurt any more than a little old sticker-burr up on a sandy-land hill." That was the line my doctor used before the jab when I was a kid.

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  7. Day Keene's Tom Doyle series ran in the pulp Detective Tales, so this might be an expansion of one of the novelets.

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  8. Seems like a good bet.

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