Joe Wayne
Created by Ray Owen (pseudonym of Albert King, 1924- ; other pseudonyms include Jim Cleveland, Craig Cooper, Mark Kane, Christopher King, Paul Muller & Simon Waldron)

"One look at the girl behind the steering wheel of the car told Joe Wayne two things about her. She was a glamorous redhead and she was dead."
-- opening paragraph of Flight from Fear

In the opening of Flight from Fear, private detective JOE WAYNE wakes up in a crashed car with a dead redhead at the wheel. He remembers who he is, but nothing else. He eventually realizes that she was a client and naturally, he's being framed.

But don't worry. Eventually Joe, his "battleaxe of a secretary" Maggie Yarmon and his sometime cop buddy Sergeant Hank Peterson crack the case.

This is a well-written generic P.I. novel, with relatively strong characters and some sharp dialogue between the three main characters. While we know little about Joe's background (and he tends to play things close to the vest, which results in both Maggie and Hank occasionally and openly doubting his sanity), the characters do come across well, particularly the feisty and independent Maggie. She has a '' with a hard-boiled mouth" and gives Joe as good as she gets ( imagine Bertha Cool as the secretary and not the boss).

There isn't much info available on the author, except that he's yet another British author who cranked out "American-style" hard-boiled detective novels in the sixties and seventies, several of which have been recently reprinted by the Linford Large Print Mystery Library.

Although the style and setting are decidedly, self-consciously American, it's amusing how often such simple things as place names seem to trip them up: Ashbury and Darton City are mentioned, and Joe himself has an office in the Wilton Building.


Respectfully submitted by Eric Chambers, with additional info and commentary provided by Kevin Burton Smith.

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