Steve Summers

Created by Jason Manor (pseudonym of Oakley M. Hall, 1920--)

Retired private eye and former Peninsula City cop STEVE SUMMERS came into some real money, and decided he didn't need the grief. So he chucked it all, and became a commercial fisherman in southern California. Unfortunately, while he no longer makes trouble his business, trouble seems to keep finding its way to his door, in three ambitiously complex novels by Jason Manor (a pseudonym of American writer Oakley M. Hall).

In The Girl in the Red Jaguar (1954), for example, he gets roped into helping his ex-wife squeeze a big divorce settlement out of her second husband, who turns out to be the right hand man to a local gangster. And in the The Pawns of Fear (1955; aka "No Halo for Me"), the death of a fishing buddy leads to a clash with America, Inc. a patriotic (ie: anti-Communist) organisation whose motives may not be as pure and aboveboard as they claim.

Oakley Maxwell Hall was born in San Diego, California, graduated from the University of California (Berkeley) and served in the Marines during World War II. He eventually received his Master of Fine Arts in English from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa, and later founded the writing program at the University of California, Irvine and co-founded the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. His first novel, Murder City (which was also set in Peninsula City) was published in 1949 under the name O.M. Hall, and he wrote five subsequent mysteries as Jason Manor, including the three featuring Steve Summers. Later in his career he returned to the genre with a series that featured Ambrose Bierce as an amateur sleuth. He's best known, however, as the award-winning author of twenty-five novels, most notably Warlock (a 1958 novel that retold the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and became a 1959 film) and The Downhill Racers (which inspired 1969 film starring Robert Redford).

UNDER OATH

  • "Exciting reading -- despite the confusion of goals -- in another fast paced story of retired private eye former cop Steve Summers, and his pursuit of California's law breakers.

-- Kirkus Reviews on The Pawns of Fear

  • "... convincing and restrained toughness with an adroit plot..."

-- Anthony Boucher on The Pawns of Fear

NOVELS

Report submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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