This book is one of Adams’ several homages to the best detective novel of all time, Hammett’s Red Harvest. So hey, no wonder it’s a pretty good read. Private Eye Shannon is lured to the tough mining town of Las Cruces, Arizona by a former girlfriend convinced her late husband’s suicide was actually a murder. Shannon soon finds himself caught in a war between two unscrupulous mine operators, with miscellaneous gangsters and corrupt cops thrown in to keep him hopping.
In a move even the Continental Op would have envied, Shannon puts the screws on all concerned by gaining control of both the local branch of the miners union and the town’s only newspaper.
Like most of Adams’ novels, I suspect this one was at least partially cannibalized from his pulp stories. Can’t prove it yet, but the quest continues. Shannon appeared in at least two pulp stories, “Jigsaw” from Detective Fiction Weekly and “Mannequin for a Morgue” from Double Detective. I’m pretty sure he appeared in more than that, but can’t prove that either. Yet.
This book has the distinction of being in print as late as 1975, well over a decade later than other Adams novels. The reason, I suspect, is the ultra-generic title. But another factor might be (as I may have mentioned) that it's a pretty good book.
More Adams to come. And more Forgotten Books at pattinase.