Friday, August 22, 2014

FFB: Wolf House -- Jack Lynch

This is a slight revision of an FFB post from June 27, 2008.  I'm rerunning it for two reasons.  One is that Brash Books is going to reprint Jack Lynch's novels, so they won't be forgotten anymore.  This is great news.  The other reason is that I'ven ow visited Jack London State Park, where some of the book is set.  I have a few photos that I'll put on the blog to give you some local color.

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, Wolf 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 smoothly written p.i. novel of the kind they don't write anymore. It's not 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, and, as I mentioned, they're about to be returned to print (and become available as eBooks) from Brash Books.


Anonymous said...

I read a couple of the original ones and have a couple more, but I never did get around to reading them.


George said...

I read the GOLD MEDAL novels in the series, but never got around to reading the Warner paperbacks. It's good to see Jack Lynch's books back in print.

BVLawson said...

Maybe I'll start with "The Missing and the Dead" (nominated for the Edgar in 1982), although he was also nominated for the Shamus Award for "Pieces of Death." Both sound like good choices. FYI, Bill, I'm hosting the FFB links for Patti Abbott today. Here's the permalink:

Unknown said...

Already checked it out! Thanks for taking over today.

Lee Goldberg said...

We're bringing the book back as DIE FOR ME in's more info and the cover.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Lee. I meant to put a link in the review, and I've added it.