John Harvey is best known for his acclaimed Inspector Charlie Resnick novels, but he's also the man behind a series of paperback originals featuring SCOTT MITCHELL, "the toughest private eye - and the best."
It was Harvey's first attempt to transplant the American-style tough guy detective to England. While it's not always successful (a sort of wordy Britishness occasionally creeps in), it certainly demonstrates Harvey's skill.
Here's a sample of dialogue from his last Mitchell novel, Neon Madman (all four books are from Bob Dylan lyrics):
Of course, Harvey is best known for the Charlie Resnick series, about a jazz-loving Nottingham cop, but he's written all over the place. He taught English and Drama in a number of secondary modern and comprehensive schools for several years before giving it up to become a full-time writer, and certainly made good use of his career change, pumping out a slew of books in all genres over the years. His first big sales (mostly under various pseudonyms) were mostly westerns, although he eventually wrote a few mens' adventures ("mostly for series that bombed," he confesses), as well as six books for the Doubles series of soft porn comedies as Jonothan White (6 books). During this time he also wrote the four Scott Mitchell thrillers for British paperback house Sphere. According to Harvey, "The first one, Amphetamines and Pearls', did quite well, but the others sold less and less. It's a shame as 2 & 3 - The Geranium Kiss and Junkyard Angel - aren't too bad."
He eventually planned to return to the shamus game with a novel about an English private investigator named John Dancer, called Dancer Draws A Wild Card (1985) under the pen name of Terry Lennox, but to tell the truth, I'm not sure this one was ever released. And more recently, he's written a few stories about Jack Kiley, a former cop and footballer turned London-based P.I.
TRIVIA AND TRIVIER...
Respectfully submitted by Van Scott, with additional surveillance from Kevin Burton Smith.
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