BRAD LATHEM – The Hook #1: The Gilded Canary. Warner, paperback original; 1st printing, September 1981.

BRAD LATHAM The Gilded Canary (Hook #1)

   Warner has been publishing books in several of its various new “Men of Action” series for some time now, and for mystery fans, here is the first appearance of the one that might seem the most promising. “The Hook” is Bill Lockwood, a 1930’s private eye who is as tough with his fists as he is energetic in bed.

   There seems to be little else to say. Lockwood’s case, as he investigates the theft of some jewelry from a rich girl singer named Muffy Dearborn, is nothing less than a flimsy excuse for him to jump in and out of a bed or two and beat up a few hoodlums in between with his patented left hook.

   There are a few good moments — once in a while I got a fleeting impression that there was some intelligent thought put into the writing of this mediocre excuse for a book — but they quickly pass.

   On the other hand, the result is probably exactly what Warner had in mind when they commissioned it.

From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 6, No. 2, March/April 1982
        (slightly revised)

[UPDATE] 01-28-10.   Whew. I seldom put down a book as solidly as this, and this review took me a bit by surprise when it turned up next to be put online. I thought of tempering the tone down a notch or two, but this is what my reaction was some 28 years ago, and (without re-reading the book) I decided at length that I ought to stand by it.

   There were, in all, five in the series. Here, taken from the Revised Crime Fiction IV, by Allen J. Hubin, is a complete list:

          LATHAM, BRAD. Pseudonym of David J. Schow.

    1. The Gilded Canary (n.) Warner, pbo, Sept 1981.
    2. Sight Unseen (n.) Warner, pbo, Sept 1981.
    3. Hate Is Thicker Than Blood (n.) Warner, pbo, Dec 1981.
    4. The Death of Lorenzo Jones (n.) Warner, pbo, 1982.
    5. Corpses in the Cellar (n.) Warner, pbo, June 1982.