Friday, June 27, 2008

Forgotten Books: WOLF HOUSE -- Jack Lynch

It wasn't so much that I forgot about Wolf House. I didn't even know it existed until I read the bad news about Jack Lynch's death on Jiro Kimura's Gumshoe Site. (I highly recommend that you read this obituary. Lynch was an interesting guy.) At any rate, as soon as I learned about Wolf House, I bought it. After all, and we're getting to Forgotten Books now, I'd read all seven of Lynch's previous books about p.i. Peter Bragg. They were published first by Gold Medal and then by Warner Books. One was nominated for an Edgar. Two were nominated for Shamus Awards. But Lynch is pretty much fogotten now. That's too bad, because his books are quite good.

That being said, Wolfe House isn't the best of them. It was published only a few years ago by some imprint of iUniverse. I suspect that it was written earlier and that Lynch finally decided to publish it himself if he couldn't interest a mainstream press in it. There are some attitudes in the book that seem to date it back to an earlier time, though not everything does.

Some people will be put off immediately because the book begins when Bragg gets a call from a psychic who believes that someone is killing people and dumping the bodies in Jack London National Park, the location of Wolf House, a home London had begun building but which was mostly destroyed by fire. Only the shell remains. The psychic turns out to be correct, and Bragg is drawn into the search for the serial killer. There are a few holes in the plot, but this is a perfectly serviceable p.i. novel of the kind they don't write anymore. It's now gaudy or showy, but Bragg's a good narrator, and the characters and the local color ring true. If you don't want to read this one, why not try one of Lynch's earlier books? I recommend them all. I'm sure you can find them on-line for next to nothing. That's what happens when books are forgotten. I'm sorry it's happened to Lynch's work.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks, Bill. Sorry it happens to so many fine writers.

Barrie said...

I did read the obituary. Thanks for pointing me in that direction. He was definitely an interesting guy.

Anonymous said...

I didn't read all the Bragg books, but I did read several, and met Lynch at a couple of cons. Nice guy.

Sorry to hear this.


Bob Randisi said...

I also knew Jack slighlt from PWA and some conventions. The Bragg books suffered when he moved them to Warner, who packaged them like a men's adventure series. Sorry to hear about this,and sorry it took me so long to find out.