Straight from the author's mouth (sorta)...

Dan Benton
Created by Charles Neutzel

DAN BENTON was a a one-shot private eye by sci-fi/fantasy/mystery writer Charles Neutzel, a self-confessed "paperback hack," who appearred in just one novel, originally published with the great trashy title Two Timing Tart under the John Davidson pen name for Epic Books.

It was later published as Softly As I Kill You (pictured) under the author's own name by Powell Pocketbooks, where it picked up the following cover blurb:

When Dan Benton learned that a long time friend was in trouble, he cut his weekend vacation short in Las Vegas and flew back to L.A.

From that point on he became involved in one of the most intriguing cases in his career as a trouble-shooter and private investigator.

First murder exploded the case wide open and then continued to twist into a startling series of mysteries that, in the end, could only mean death!


It was subsequently as a POD book by Wildside Press. The following intro was added for the Powell edition, which the author admits was slightly less spicy than the original edition.


I have known Dan Benton for many years. He’s a hard working private investigator, private eye, troubleshooter, you name it.

The following book is his.

To give you some background about this man and how this book happened to come into being, I’ll put down these few words of introduction.

He’s cool-headed. Normally.

His line of work often involves following husbands or wives to see if they are cheating on one another. Usually he is lucky enough not to get involved in murder cases, though there have been some along the way.

When he came out of the service and attempted to get a job, it was to discover that he just didn’t dig working under the thumb of others, following the book rules that big and little business require people to live by.

As a result, he decided to use what little knowledge he had picked up in his work in the armed service, via self-protection, via hand to hand combat.

Being a troubleshooter, his way of putting it, seemed like a logical means to make a living without being forced to work for others in a direct manner.

Bosses, he doesn’t like.

Yet, when it comes to friends, he would lay his life on the line, give his last shirt or dime away. Because of this, his involvement in the following case was a highly personal one, starting as a result of his friendship with a long-time buddy who had saved his life.

As for women, they go for him, although he is not the kind of man who openly comes right out and says it that way. He’s a good looker. The kind of male females go for in a big way.

Yet, as he has pointed out, men in his line of work seldom, if ever, have beautiful young things throwing themselves at his feet every day, as suggested in so many detective novels.
It might sound hard-boiled at times, but his attitude toward life and women is highly refined and it is that of a total gentleman.

Even in telling me his story he was reluctant to reveal any more details than are outlined in this book.

It is enough to say that very few people are as loyal or as generous as Dan.

Being a writer, myself, I suggested that his experiences told here would make a very exciting book. Thus, we sat before a tape recorder and he started talking. I questioned him at times. Some of the conversations had nothing to do with the case. Cigarettes, booze and friendship cause side conversations to develop in a very natural way. So some editing and even restructuring were necessary to smooth out minor spots.

After having all of the story on tape the only thing required of myself was to get a secretary to transcribe the whole thing. After that, I edited and polished where necessary. When I showed the finished product to Dan, he had only one comment to make: “You’re kidding? I didn’t think I could tell it that way!”

That’s Dan for you.

Thousand Oaks, California

The present Wildside version is pretty much like the Powell release, slightly altered, again, I do believe, and it was released as an ebook in 2007 by That gives the publishing history of the book.



Respectfully submitted by David Nobriga.

| Table of Contents | Detectives A-L M-Z | Film | Radio | Television | Comics | FAQs |
Trivia | Authors | Hall of Fame | Mystery Links | Bibliography | Glossary | Search |
What's New: On The Site | On the Street | Non-Fiction
| Fiction | Staff | The P.I. Poll |

Remember, your comments, suggestions, corrections and contributions are always welcome.
At the tone, leave your name and number and I'll get back to you...