Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Brad Latham's Hook series

I finished reading Brad Latham's Hook series that was published in paperback in the early eighties. From the original five books, three were translated in Finnish, in the early nineties. It seems no one gives a damn about these series, and I won't argue: there's not much to miss. Here's Thrilling Detective on the books, though.

Hook is Bill Lockwood, tough insurance detective working in the late thirties in New York. He meets dames, has gunfights, gets knocked over - you know the drill. I thought at first that the books are filled with graphic sex, but that applies only to the fourth novel in the series (the second in the Finnish series), The Death of Lorenzo Jones (Kuolettava kaunotar). It starts with a scene about a woman who tries to seduce Hook by stripping naked, shaving her pubic hair and wearing only high heels. Needless to say, she manages. The other two, The Gilded Canary and The Sight Unseen, are more or less traditional in their depiction of sex and the books seem pretty coy. (And I was really anticipating more stuff, with my hands sweaty, gripping the books... Just kiddin'. But it would've been nice.)

The most interesting of the three books is the second one (in Finland the third one), The Sight Unseen (Kuoleman varjossa, in which Hook battles against Nazi spies. There are even some political issues. The plot is a bit confusing, though, and the overall effect isn't much.

Now, Brad Latham is a pseudonym. It seems no one knows who it belongs to. I've heard rumours that the books were written by David J. Schow, the famous horror writer who had hand in the splatterpunk school in the late eighties and early nineties, but I would say that these three books had at least two different writers, maybe three. The first one, The Gilded Canary, is skimpy in details and reads faster than the other two. The Sight Unseen is more elaborate and has more convoluted plot than the others. The Death of Lorenzo Jones, however, relies so much on sex that it seems the most important thing in the book - I don't remember much else about it, but I think it also had an okay plot. It seems, though, that Schow's participation is certain - take a look at what Mystery#File has to say (you'll have to scroll down a bit).

The reason I read these books (well, of course I would've read them eventually, but at this point) is that I'll be writing an entry for genre sex paperbacks in the forth-coming book on erotic classics. Now, Brad Latham will be immortalized between Marquis de Sade and Anaïs Nin. Too bad, though, that the books didn't have more sex in them! (I'll also have Gary Tubbs's The Case of the Missing Rubber... but let me get back to that later!)

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