Jack Laramie, grandson of Cash Laramie and wandering private eye in a vividly realized early 1950s Texas, returns in the novella HELL UP IN HOUSTON, and it more than lives up to the promise of THE DRIFTER DETECTIVE, the excellent story by Garnett Elliott that introduced the character.
This time, through a series of unfortunate circumstances Jack winds up temporarily working as a house detective in a slightly seedy Houston hotel. During an eventful few days, he has to deal with an old enemy, a beautiful young woman trying to kick a drug habit (shades of THE DAIN CURSE), and a blackmail scheme. He's beaten up, stabbed, shot at . . . a typical few days for a hardboiled private eye, I guess.
As you can tell, Elliott packs a lot of plot into this one, and he spins his yarn in fine, tough prose. Jack remains a thoroughly likable, mostly admirable character. These stories really remind me of a lot of the fiction I grew up reading, and I hope the series continues for a long time. Highly recommended.
THE PULP CALENDAR: September 24
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