"Reid Bennett is one of the most interesting series whodunit heroes of the decade."
Not really a private eye, but like James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux or Chester Himes' Grave Coffin Ed Johnson & Digger Jones, Ted Wood's REID BENNETT is a police officer who doesn't very much act like one.
But the influences of Reid, the sole police officer serving the tiny -- but surprisingly crime-ridden -- vacation hamlet Murphy's Harbour in the Muskoka region of northern Ontario, go far beyond his simply being a particularly independent-minded cop.
He's got the quixotic streak that would do Travis McGee or Philip Marlowe, a cold-blooded kick-ass pragmatism and hands-on approach to justice that owes a lot to men's adventure paperbacks from the seventies, and a healthy dollop of boy's adventure books, given that Reid most trusted crime fighting ally is his prodigiously intelligent German Shepherd, Sam.
Toss in assorted bush pilots, miners, prospectors, bears, black-hearted villiams, canoes and plenty of wandering around in the woods, and it's clear we're deep into Sergeant Preston of the Northwest Mounted territory here; the sort of pandering Canadian stereotypes instantly recognizable around the world -- or taken with a large sense of campish irony if you're Canadian.
The books did fairly well, both in Canada and abroad, and that's because Wood knows how to keep things moving. They're a lot of funWhich makes , full of guns and fistfights and the manly art of a man doing what a man's gotta do.
And about halfway through the series, Reid does begin to take on private clients, most notably in When the Killing Starts (1989), wherein he's hired to track down a woman's young son, who seems to have fallen under the spell of a military cult, and in On the Inside (1990), where he agrees to go undercover as a cop in a mining town to sniff out suspected corruption within the force.
Ted Wood was born in England, but emigrated to Canada in 1954, where he worked for the Toronto police force, and as a copy writer and creative director for a Toronto advertising company. His first novel, Dead in the Water, which introduced Reid Bennett, was published in 1983, and from 1987 to 1988, he served as president of the Crime Writers of Canada. Under the Jack Barnao he also wrote three two pulpy, action-oriented books, featuring two-fisted bodyguard/private eye and former SAS expert John Locke.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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