Marvin H. Albert used the Nick Quarry pseudonym for his six Jake Barrow private eye novels. We're not breaking new ground here, but all the novels have hair-trigger action and are excellent. This is one of the best from the series.
No Chance in Hell, published in 1960, starts off fast, with P.I. Barrow swiftly entering a tenement building in NYC. He's looking for the daughter of a friend and ends up blasting a hole in a guy with his .357 Magnum. Then we flashback to learn that Barrow has to find and protect the girl from a ruthless killer. This killer has already shot two of his friends and Barrow wants to perform his own justice on the guy. He fights exhaustion and a couple of brutal beatings trying to located the girl and killer. There is an Mexican immigrant smuggling operation, a unbelievable escape scene in the NYC sewer system, and a wild cat- fight with Barrow letting the girls go at it. Barrow follows the trail to New Mexico, (the girl is Native American) ending in the desert buttes.
Jake Barrow is a hard driven P.I., tough, but likable. A little weak in showing some compassion for victims, maybe, but he is willing to get knocked around and will bounce back fighting. A good storyline and an excellent -- and bloody -- ending. Thought it was over, but Barrow managed to cram in two more murders.
Barrow uses the dialog of the era:
"Dark fog engulfed my brain. My arms and legs turned to jelly. Hanks heaved me off him. I sprawled to the floor, as limp and uncoordinated as a dropped bunch of rubber bands."
I always thought Albert's Tony Rome character (written as Anthony Rome) had a lot of Jake Barrow in him. Just a different setting and social class, but same hardboiled style. I prefer the Jake Barrow stories.
Marvin Albert wrote many quality novels. His Gold Medal westerns are very good and I was hooked in the 70's on his adventure novels authored as Ian MacAlister. Used a few pseudonyms and wrote many novels and film novelizations. Two Gold Medal paperbacks written under the name Albert Conroy are exceptional, Nice Guys Finish Dead and Murder in Room 13.