Sunday, March 16, 2008

Alley Girl -- Jonathan Craig

I like Jonathan Craig's Gold Medal series about Pete Selby quite a bit. It was Craig's try at capturing the magic of Dragnet in novel form, and I thought it worked pretty well. Most, if not all, the books in the series were later reprinted by Belmont/Tower, but for some reason I didn't buy the reprints. I always thought Craig write these with a copy of Psychopathia Sexualis open beside him on the desk.

Alley Girl was written before the Selby series, and it was later reprinted by Berkley as Renegade Cop, a title that's much more descriptive of the contents. Maybe Lion Books was trying to cash in on the "Girl" titles so popular with Gold Medal writer Charles Williams, who'd already published Hill Girl, Big City Girl, and River Girl by the time Alley Girl appeared. Anyway, Alley Girl is a hardboiled noir story about Steve Lambert, a renegade cop. You think those guys on The Badge are tough and corrupt? You should read about Lambert. He makes them look like wussies. He's got a guy in jail as a material witness, when someone offers him $5000 to get the guy convicted. He's happy to do it, but he wants $20,000. He's also banging the guy's wife, who submits in the hope that he'll get her husband freed. And those things are just the start. Lambert is one bad dude.

Craig takes pains to show that not all cops are like Lambert, but of course Lambert's the interesting one. Craig also had his copy of Psychopathia Sexualis open when he was writing this one. There's some kinky stuff, along with some very '50s attitudes that are now very unPC. Don't say I didn't warn you.

In honor of Craig, I've posted a slideshow of covers over on the right. Or I will post it when Slide starts working again. There seems to be a glitch at the moment.


Juri said...

I really liked Craig's one novel about a mob killer tracking down a 14- or 15-year old girl. The girl tries to seduce the guy! This was at least five years before Nabokov's Lolita. I can't recall the title though, even though I know I've cited a dozen times.

Bill Crider said...

There's probably a photo of the cover over on the right.

Juri said...

So Young, So Wicked. Excellent novel.