Reviews by George Kelley


JOHN WELCOME – Run for Cover. Faber, UK, hardcover, 1958. Knopf, US, hardcover, 1959. Harper Perennial, paperback reprint, 1983.

   I have nothing but praise for the Perennial Library series: their selections are high quality fiction attractively packaged and priced. John Welcome’s Run for Cover is fun reading: light as cotton candy. Former intelligence agent Richard Graham is drawn into a tangled plot when the manuscript he is reviewing is stolen.

   The haunting aspect: the manuscript was written by a man Graham knew was dead, Rupert Rawle. But the dead man has come alive and Graham is back on the trail of the man be once idolized, only to have Raw}e leave him for dead during a WWII commando mission. The writing is slick, cultured, and professional. The plotting is fast-paced, wild, and unpredictable. Perfect for vacation reading.


JOHN WELCOME – Stop at Nothing. Faber, UK, hardcover, 1959. Knopf, US, hardcover, 1960. Harper Perennial, paperback reprint, 1983.

   Stop at Nothing is John Welcome’s best book. Simon Herald, former racing car star, faces 40 and a bitter divorce when he falls in love with a younger woman whose brother is hunted by vicious men in order to gain the secret of a formula that makes horses run faster.

   Forget about the corny plot; Welcome fires away from page one and doesn’t let up on the action until a couple hundred pages later. Hairbreadth escape follows hairbreadth escape as Herald faces overwhelming odds, brutal beatings, a psychopathic killer, and an obsessed millionaire. What more could you ask for? This is seat-of-your-pants escapism at its best.


JOHN WELCOME – Go for Broke. Faber, UK, hardcover, 1972. Walker, US, hardcover, 1972. Harper Perennial, paperback reprint, 1983.

   Go for Broke is one of John Welcome’s lesser works, but it still provides more excitement than most thrillers. Eric Vaughan, wealthy financier, accuses Richard Graham of.cheating at cards. Graham is mystified by the false charges, but finds himself drawn into a web of international intrigue where the seeds of treachery and double-cross in the past haunt the present.

   Graham finds himself a social outcast, discharged from his part-time espionage position, and forced to sell his meager land holdings to pay for his legal defense. But he falls in love with a mysterious American woman and finds an unexpected clue to the frame he’s been put in.

   The flaw in Go for Broke is the boring courtroom proceedings that take up too much of the book; once outside the stuffy legal chambers, the pages fly by. The conclusion will surprise no one, but it’s curiously satisfying.

— Reprinted from The Poisoned Pen, Vol. 6, No. 2, Winter 1984/85.

Editorial Note:   A criminous bibliography for John Welcome can be found here on LibraryThing, along with a brief biography, which concludes: “He [John Needham Huggard Brennan] took up writing, under the pen name of John Welcome, to relieve the tedium of the country solicitor’s life.”