Created by Michael Collins (pseud. of Dennis Lynds)
"We are a species that preys on itself. We live on our own kind, hunt each other. That's what I wanted to tell the girl who faced me across the desk in the office part of my one-room loft, but I didn't. I told her what the police had told me."
-- from Minnesota Strip (1987)
A kid from the streets of New York, DAN FORTUNE (born Fortunowski) lost his arm in an accident while he was looting a docked ship. Taking the incident as a sign that a life of crime might not be the best career path to take, Danny decided to go straight. After a stint in the Merchant Marine, he returned home and got his P.I. ticket, setting himself up as a one-man agency in the Chelsea and Greenwich Village section of NYC.
Not your typical let's-get-physical hard-boiled dick (having only one arm sorta cuts down on the urge for fisticuffs), Dan has to rely more on his intelligence and compassion. Fortunately, Danny's no dummy. Well-read and self-educated, his underdog's empathy for other people makes him a great interrogator. People seem to really open up for him.
And it's a good thing, too. More than any other private eye, Fortune is driven by the compulsion not just to know who? what? where? and when? but to also know why. The other questions interest him, but for Dan, the all-consuming obsession is not just to know, but to understand. He's a persistent little cuss, and has done one thing few series detectives have ever managed, namely changing locations. Dan has moved from the back alleys and bars of New York City to the wide-open sun-filled plazas of southern California.
Dan's compassion, particularly for society's underdogs, has resulted in a series that evolved into one of the most compelling and insightful private eye series of the last few decades. Charges of political preachiness have been levelled at the series, particularly in the more recent novels, but anything more than a cursory reading will reveal that Dan's interests (and, presumably Lynds') lie more in understanding people than in any particular agenda. Highly and heartily recommended.
And the infinite, broken sadness, based on real people and real lives, that lies at the heart of the series reveals the glib, cynical posturing of much modern "noir" for exactly what it is.
Author Michael Collins is just one pseudonym of Dennis Lynds (Collins was an Irish revolutionary), who also writes as William Arden, John Crowe, Carl Dekker, and Mark Sadler. Dan Fortune may be his most famous creation, but he's also found time to create other PI's, including Paul Shaw and Kane Jackson. Dan Fortune himself is actually a more refined, socially- and politically-aware version of an earlier detective character of Lynds', Slot Machine Kelly, who appeared in several short stories in such digests as Manhunt and Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine. Lynds also wrote many of the Mike Shayne short stories under the house monicker of Brett Halliday for the latter magazine.
Lynds won The Eye, the Private Eye Writers of America's Lifetime Achievement Award, in 1988.
Not really a short story, more an op-ed piece.
His official web site, maintained by Gayle Lynds.
The Mystery Community Pays Their Respects...
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
| Home | Detectives A-L M-Z | Film | Radio | Television | Web Comics | Comics | FAQs | Search |