Sarah Livingston

Created by Milton K. Ozaki
Other pseudonyms included Robert O. Saber & Mark Shane

"She was a clean-limbed, lemon fluff blonde waiting for a taxi..."

A lady dick from pulpmeister Milton K. Ozaki? This one's going straight on my TBR pile.

SARAH LIVINGSTON is a Chicago gumshoe searching for her sister's killer, aided by the out-of-towner her sister had picked up just prior to her murder.

By all accounts, it's not very good, and Sarah's not exactly a shining light of grrrl power. But as an "alternative classic," it shines, with Bill Pronzini elevating it to "The Alternative Hall of Fame" in Son of Gun in Cheek for Ozaki's "uncanny ability to manufacture similes and metaphors of rare exuberance and ingenuity," citing such "lumps of alternative gold" as:

"I felt as gay and feverish and as desperate and inadequate as a lover in a t.b. ward."

"Thoughts came and went in my mind like guests arriving at the wrong funeral."

"The minutes crayfished along."

"... my cranial cavity seethed with thick volatile chili juice."

In her defense, Sarah doesn't spout these -- the book is narrated by a Wisconsin salesman, so it's he who's got the headful of chili juice, but still...

Milton Ozaki was a Chicago newspaperman, artist, tax attorney and beauty salon operator who turned to writing crime fiction after World War II, and gave us a couple of dozen hard-boiled novels, all but two of them paperback originals, and all of them full of enough sex, violence and over-boiled prose to fulfill all your daily cheese requirements.

Under his real name and the pseudonyms Robert O. Saber and Mark Shane, he created several other Chicago P.I.s, including Rusty Forbes, Max Keene and Carl Guard, among others.



Written and compiled by Bill Crider, originally for EyeCon, 1995.

Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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