Sam Train
Created by Ernest Savage

According to Marv Lachman in Detective Story Magazine, San Francisco-based SAM TRAIN is "one of the best private eyes in short fiction." I'm not sure about that, since there's some pretty heady competition, including Dashiell Hammett's The Continental Op, Raymond Chandler's John Dalmas, Rob Kantner's Ben Perkins and Bill Pronzini's Nameless, to name a few.

Still, the Sam Train stories are certainly worth checking out. He's an ex-cop in his mid-forties, a tall and rather taciturn guy who enjoys tennis, fishing and, rare for a P.I., fine art. He lives and works out of his apartment on Van Ness Avenue. Sam quit the police force after nineteen years, following a particularly devisive strike. But he still has plenty of friends on the force, ibncluding Lieutenant West, out of Central Station, and Mike Phelps, a desk sergeant and a great source for info and traces.

The stories, which all appeared in various digests, mostly EQMM and AHMM, in the late seventies and early eighties, are all well-written, with a nice toughness about them, that was too often lacking in mainstream digests at the time. Nothing spectacular, but good, solid, above-average private eye stuff, nonetheless. Check 'em out...


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