Not many Gold Medal writers are forgotten, but Richard Himmel seems to be. A brief Google search turned up next to nothing about him or his books. I'm partially at fault here, since I've had a good many of them on my selves for well over 30 years and never read a one of them. Why? Well, you can't read everything. Anyway, I decided it was time to take a look at one. Himmel, after all, sold millions of books. His first one for Gold Medal was I'll Find You, and it was the second novel GM published. (The first was John Flagg's The Persian Cat, and Flagg is another GM writer whose work I've never read. So many books, so little time.)
What did I learn? For one thing, the Gold Medal pattern was set from the very beginning. I'll Find You has just about everything that the later books from this publisher had. The first-person narrator, Johnny Maguire, is a self-proclaimed punk, a night-school lawyer whose attitudes toward women are primitive at best: "OK, so she might have fought. It would have been good that way. Maybe that's what she wanted. Maybe she wanted to get messed up a little bit. Maybe that's the way it was good for her." He says this about a woman he's fallen for, hard. She's the first woman he's ever loved, though of course he's had plenty of sex. Sex is big in the GM line.
As soon as Maguire falls for the woman, she disappears, an apparent suicide. Maguire doesn't think she's dead and decides to find her. Hence the book's title. And he does find her. That's when things get complicated. Gangsters are involved, and there's a murder, but this isn't really a crime novel. In its own twisted way, it's a love story in the Gold Medal vein, with the emphasis on speed, with lots of raw emotion, with plenty of melodrama. And a really great final scene and line, very much in keeping with the character of Johnny Maguire.
Himmel had something going for him, and it's not a big surprise that the book was such a hit. My guess is that he didn't plan to make Maguire a series character. He wasn't cut out to be one. The book sold so many millions, however, that bringing him back must have proved irresistible. In one of the sequels, Maguire is even an investigator for the State Department. I guess I'll have to read another one to see how this came about.