Badge of Evil Paperback – 18 January 2013
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- Paperback : 208 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781440560910
- ISBN-13 : 978-1440560910
- Product Dimensions : 13.97 x 1.32 x 21.43 cm
- Publisher : Prologue Books (18 January 2013)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : 1440560919
- Best Sellers Rank: 432,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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About the Author
Whit Masterson is a pen name for a partnership of two authors, Robert Allison "Bob" Wade (1920-2012) and H. Bill Miller (1920-61). The two also wrote under several other pseudonyms, including Wade Miller and Will Daemer. Together they wrote more than thirty novels, several of which were adapted for film. Most famously, their novel Badge of Evil was adapted into the Orson Welles film Touch of Evil.
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When prominent businessman Rudy Linneker is blown up at his home the police are under pressure to make a quick arrest. After ten days and no leads, with the Press all over them, the District Attorney makes his assistant, Mitchell Holt a 'special investigator', and the police call in the help of retired policeman, Captain McCoy. McCoy makes a quick arrest, but oddly Mitch makes an arrest also, for the same crime, his being the correct culprit. Things don't seem to add up, and Mitch thinks that perhaps the police were a bit over zealous and may have tried to frame someone for the crime.
As the tension builds, Mitch finds himself and his family in danger, as well as the chance of losing his job. How far up does frame ups go, how long have they been going on, and how many people have been convicted on false evidence? Mitch is determined to get to the bottom of it all, but will he get any help? Even if he is right that something is going on, the aftermath could be very damaging for the law enforcement authorities as a whole.
Straight from the start you are thrown into the action, and this story doesn't let up as you proceed. With convictions being quashed today with 'unsafe' evidence this story is still as relevant as when it was first published. All in all this is a great read that would have made a perfectly good film even if Orson Welles had transferred it straight to screen as it is.
However, whilst I acknowledge that this was a classic on its day, I found it quite predictable in parts, with occasional leaps of faith required to hold it together.
A prominent businessman is murdered and Assistant District Attorney Mitchell Holt is appointed as special investigator by his boss. He reluctantly accepts the assignment. Holt differs from the hard-boiled detective of many pulp mysteries. He is a happily married family man who sees himself as an attorney, not an investigator. He is thoughtful and driven to do the right thing. Soon he and his family are threatened. The dialogue and excellent writing are a joy which I will not spoil by describing any more of the plot. Pulp mysteries are traditionally around 160 printed pages and are a fairly quick read.
A particular pleasure is the presentation of the book by Prologue. I used the crisp Publisher Font and appreciate the perfect formatting and editing. After reading Badge of Evil, I purchased copies of some original pulp first editions I own but, alas, can no longer read the tiny print. My thanks to Prologue Books.