"An American Gestapo is goddam well what we need... The only way you can lick these guys is to fight as dirty as they do... bite and gouge and use a knee where it will do most good."
Hot-tempered, crude, sexist, racist REX McBRIDE appeared in six novels by Cleve F. Adams.
Adams was a contemporary and apparently a good pal of Raymond Chandler. But while Chandler's Marlowe was the classic tarnished knight going down those mean streets, clinging to a personal code of honour, working outside the system, perhaps, but generally staying within the lines drawn by that system, McBride was something else entirely.
As Richard Moore put it on Rara-Avis once:
"(McBride) was a cretin, famous for his statement that 'an American Gestapo is goddamned well what we need.' Marlowe became the model for the future, the classic tarnished knight. McBride, for the few who have read him, is one of the most repugnant characters in detective fiction history. Lessons learned."
Perhaps, but Adams was also quite popular in his day, cranking out a couple of dozen books. He also created P. I., John J. Shannon, who at least has some redeeming qualities, and even more surprisngly, Violet McDade, one of the very first hard-boiled lady eyes and her Hispanic partner, Nevada Alvarado, who slugged their way through a string of stories in the pulps.
MORE FUN WITH REX
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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