Thursday, May 28, 2015

Stopover For Murder (Terry Harknett aka Thomas H. Stone, 1973)

I don't particularly like the PI cases that involve personal crap. Too much drama and family shit. But premise in this one is pretty cool - our hero doesn't try to track down some teenage junkie runaway daughter of his old friend (to whom he usually owes a favor). In this one Chester Fortune simply wants to get laid. He's stuck at JFK for 12 hours waiting for his connecting flight so instead of killing time at the airport bar he decides to challenge his fortune with an ex-girlfriend Rhoda.

So it's a running-against-the-clock type of thriller. With our hero's libido clicking instead of some bomb triggering clock.

It moves with a super sonic speed. So fast that in fact it very quickly becomes comical because the amount of shit that happens to Chester in this short period (plus total mileage that he covers with his rented Ford) is just ridiculous.

But even with this crazy pace, it was still easy enough to follow. At least to some point. And I had an impression/expectation that all those gangsters, thugs, fashion photographers, pornographers, religious fanatics, washed up journalists, cops, street gangs, etc, etc were leading to something. I was wrong. Instead of getting tighter it slowly disintegrates and finally falls apart around the 10th chapter in which Fortune "breaks" the case. Ending with the mandatory "shocking" twist is pretty pathetic too, it simply doesn't hold water. I mean, for fuck's sake, could some old lady really kill a grown up woman, drag her corpse down the stairs of the apartment building and stuff it into a car trunk? Totally unnoticed?

Short and violent pulp. Was a little disappointed, especially after reading the much better Squeeze Play. Don't think I'll bother with the remaining two of the Fortune series.

2.5/5

Facts:

Hero
Chester Fortune, mulatto PI - "A Man of Violence in a Violent World"

Location
New York

Body count: 3

Dames
Rhoda Castle. Failed actress, now successful model (and porn star) trying to raise money for opening a theater.

Blackouts
Almost:

The room was by turns dark, intensely bright and then hazy, but unconsciousness was kept tantalisingly at a distance.
 
Title: 
Chester has to make a stopover in New York during witch his ex-girlfriend is murdered.

Edition:  
First Nel Paperback Edition, June 1973

Cover
Pretty silly illustration of timid and confused looking Chester.

Cool lines: /

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