The Bad Samaritan

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Gault wrote a total of 14 Brock Callahan novels, a private eye designed to appeal to the reading masses. Callahan was a Rams football star permanently on hiatus due to a bad knee. His office was in posh Beverly Hills and he dated high-class interior designer Jan. Gault published the first half of the series between 1955 and 1963 (Murder in the Raw, Day of the Ram, Convertible Hearse, Come Die With Me, Vein of Violence, County Kill, & Dead Hero) and the rest two decades later from 1982 onward (Bad Samaritan, Cano Diversion, Death in Donegal Bay, Dead Seed, Chicano War, Cat and Mouse, & Dead Pigeon).

Bad Samaritan begins the second set of Callahan novels and has him inheriting his uncle’s fortune (1/2 of it anyway), finally marrying longtime girlfriend Jan, and retiring to fictional San Valdesto (Santa Barbara/Montecito). Personally, I prefer the earlier set of Callahan novels as the later group never seemed to have the same punch to it.

This particular novel has Callahan pulled out of retirement to investigate a missing girl and a seeming suicide. Much of the story meanders through San Valdesto, perhaps giving us readers a taste of what lies just beneath the surface in the form of the poorer side of town where the working folk live and all the characters in that part of town.

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