Friday, February 18, 2011

FFB: Dead Skip by Joe Gores

Dead Skip by Joe Gores

Gores past away at the end of last month and there were flurry FFB entries in memory of him. I had only read his Spade and Archer at the time of his passing, but the first of his Dan Kearney and Associates(DKA) book Dead Skip has been hovering around the top of my To be Read Pile, and I had already planned on reading this year.

The story is the ultimate well worn first plot any one thinks of when you say mystery fiction…. in that it is set up, it’s a who-done-it. What makes it stand out is that features a real, professional detectives and focuses first on their day to day work doing repos and skip tracing.

Our lead in Dead Skip is Larry Ballard who steps up and attires to figure out who has attacked one of his co-workers. Backtracking the last couple of cases a a pool of suspects is generated, they are interviewed and eliminated as Ballard get’s closer and closer to figuring out what happened.

The writing is clean and direct and drives the plot along, keeping some suspense, but paying off questions raised in time. I really liked that Gores shows how long it takes to get answers, to follow up on leads and how no matter how good you are forgetting one little thing, or not following up on one lead can bollix the whole venture up, complicate things, and create more work for the investigator.

I need to take a moment here to talk about Richard Stark. Not only is he name dropped in the book, but his character Parker makes an appearance in the book, he helps to get some information and move the plot along. I haven’t read Plunder Squad yet, but apparently this chapter also appears in that book.

I liked the book and I look forward to reading the rest of the series. I also want to point out the great Art Nevo/ Art Deco covers on the Mysterious Press covers.

"Dan Kearney and Associates" DKA Novels:

Dead Skip (DKA; 1972)

Final Notice (DKA; 1973)

Gone, No Forwarding (DKA; 1978)

32 Cadillacs (DKA; Edgar Award nominee, Best Novel; 1992)

Contract Null & Void (DKA; 1996)

Stakeout on Page Street and Other DKA Files (DKA Short Stories; 2000)

Cons, Scams & Grifts (DKA; 2001)

2 comments:

Richard R. said...

I've been a fan of Gores' books since I read this one sometime around 1979. I've read them all more than once and always enjoy them - a lot. Some say there isn't enough action in the DKA books, I say there's enough, but these are books about character an process. Gores knew his stuff, he'd been in the business.

Todd Mason said...

And he was a fully-realized artist. Try HAMMETT, Eric.