Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Jack Laflin?

I once mentioned Jack Laflin in a comment of an older post, but he came up again recently when Lurker at Populaari mentioned him and scanned the cover of his only novel in Finnish translation. Lurker didn't dare to read the book (which was originally called The Spy in White Gloves) and I wrote in a comment that it's a pretty bad novel, even considering that it was a spy paperback from a small publisher and from an author no one knows anything about.

Does anyone reading this know who Jack Laflin is? Any educated guesses? It sounds a bit like house name, but has anyone ever confirmed having written as by Laflin?

For what it's worth, here's the list of Laflin's novels:

The Flaw, Belmont 1964
The Reluctant Spy, Belmont 1966
A Silent Kind of War, Belmont 1965
The Spy in White Gloves, Belmont 1965
The Spy Who Didn't, Belmont 1966
The Spy Who Loved America, Belmont 1964
The Temple at Ilumquh, Award 1970 (seems to be the fifth part of a series called The Adjusters)
The Bees, Ace 1970 ("No one expected a miracle - but that was the only hope for a nation, a world, ravaged by a deadly swarm.")
Throw the Long Bomb, Whitman 1967 (a juvenile football book)

(There's also a Vantage hardback from 1992, called Serpent in Paradise, but I have no way of knowing if it's the same author or not.)

An interesting tidbit is that the cover of the Finnish edition of the Laflin book was drawn by Teuvo Koskinen who later on his career made on to create one of the success stories of Finnish children's literature: Miina and Manu, two cats who live in a fifties-like small town world.

7 comments:

Peter said...

Unbelievable! I read Throw the Long Bomb when I was a sports-loving child. I never knew the author's name, and I'd forgotten the title until I saw your scan of the cover. A quick search confirmed that it was, indeed, the same book.

The protagonist is a rookie quarterback with the New York Giants (American) football team, and the book tells the story of his struggle to make it in professional football. The novel tried to convey the rowdiness and camaraderie of a football training camp, though without the drugs, the sex and violence, which were not invented until later.

In one scene, the rookie quarterback is bursting with pride for turning a thwarted field goal (three points in American football) into a touchdown (six points), and is thunderstruck when his hard-bitten coach berates him for messing up the field goal in the first place. I suppose everything turns out all right in the end, though.

I seem to recall that the book has a forward by Bart Starr, who won championships as a quarterback with the Green Bay Packers.
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Juri said...

Great! Now you can order the book and relive your youth!

Peter said...

No, I'll preserve the rosy glow of nostalsia and refrain from ordering the book.

But your post did spark a bit of curiosity about the mysterious Jack Laflin. I shall follow this post with some interest.

Juri said...

Maybe you'll crack this one. I was actually kinda hoping that Steve Lewis at Mystery*File would try to solve this, with the help from Al Hubin and Victor Berch. Hey, Steve, are you there?

Steve Lewis said...

I think this Jack Laflin is the same as the author:

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/hartfordcourant/obituary.aspx?pid=155759761

Best

Steve

Juri Nummelin said...

thanks for this, Steve! I'll do a new blog post on the subject.

dahlgren said...

loved this book as a kid. Sorry to hear the mystery novels weren't very good. I still have a copy tucked away, but will likely refrain from re-reading it. It's not quite Bang the Drum Slowly by Mark Harris, a fine book at any age, but I suspect Throw the Long Bomb holds up better than other sports books of the era. A shame there was never a sequel