Date: 02 Dec 2004


Re your message below:

> Right now I'm reading my first McGivern novel, The
> Big Heat, which to my
> surprise, is set in Philadelphia. I'd never read
> anything outside of Goodis
> set in Philly. Since I lived ten years there I know
> the lay of the land, so
> I can follow Bannion in my head as he drives all
> over the city.

Two other McGivern cop novels, SHIELD FOR MURDER and ROGUE COP, are also set in Philly, where McGivern was a police reporter for some years. Both feature crooked cops. MURDER is about a bad cop who gets worse. COP is about a detective on the mob's payroll who goes straight when his rookie patrolman kid brother is killed by his boss. Both good books. Like HEAT, they both were filmed, SHIELD FOR MURDER with Edmund O'Brien and ROGUE COP with Robert Taylor.

THE BIG HEAT was partially based on a real incident. A Philadelphia city official, finding he could no longer justify his corruption to himself, killed himself after making a written confession detailing the many connections between city government and the Mob. The written record actually found its way to the editorial offices of several Philly newspapers who were afraid to print the story.

Interestingly, though the film versions of those three McGivern novels were pretty faithful, none of them was set in Philly. THE BIG HEAT was set in a nondescript
"Big Eastern City." I think they might have called it
"Pittsfield" or something similar. SHIELD FOR MURDER was apparently set in Los Angeles. I think ROGUE COP was, too.

Another Philly-set crime series is Bart Spicer's under-rated novels about PI Carney Wilde. He's a Marlowe-style op when the series gets started, but, like a lot young businessmen in the '50's, he's got the success bug. By the last book in the series, he's built his one-man outfit into one of Philly's biggest security/detective agencies. The first book is called THE DARK LIGHT. A very well-done and unjustly forgotten series.

W.E.B. Griffin's BADGE OF HONOR series of police procedurals is also set in Philadelphia. These are each generally about 100 pages fatter than they have to be, and they read more like the military novels Griffin's better-known for than like cop novels, but I actually like them quite a bit.


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 02 Dec 2004 EST