MICHAEL BRETT – Kill Him Quickly, It’s Raining. Pocket; paperback original; 1st printing, December 1966.

   First of all, what a great title for a private eye novel. This is the first recorded case for Manhattan based PI Pete McGrath, and most of his book titles are as good as this one, if not better. I’ll add a list of all ten at the end of this review, as usual.

   While Kill Him Quickly is the first of the McGrath books, Michael Brett was the author of two earlier books, both paperback originals from Ace, in which the leading character was someone called Sam Dakkers. The titles were The Guilty Bystander and Scream Street, both from 1959. If anyone recognizes either title and can tell me anything about Sam Dakkers, I’d be happy to know more about him.

   When I picked this one up to be read at bedtime, I had no idea that it was McGrath’s debut to the world. It was easy to assume that he’d had other adventures, it was just that I hadn’t read them yet. As it turned out, it didn’t matter. McGrath tells his own story, and with such confidence that you assume he’s been around for a while, that he hadn’t just hatched out of nowhere, which in effect he had.

   I didn’t get much of a picture of who he is, though, or even what he looks like. Just another tough PI with a bit of an attitude. Just how tough, that comes later, when he finds himself needing answers from someone, and he’s in a bit of a hurry as to how he gets it.

   The case, as it so happens, is twofold. He’s hired first by a woman recently widowed whose home has been entered and probably robbed, and she can tell that someone is following her. It turns out that her now deceased husband had some friends with whom he was involved in an unsavory venture together, and one of the friends is decidedly unfriendly.

   While still working on this case, McGrath is hired by a second client, a spy, he says, trying to come in from the cold, and he needs a bodyguard. It turns out that the spy is pretty good with a gun himself, and McGrath finds himself with a dead body on his hands and in a jam with the police

   This one’s a good one, with only a couple of caveats. There are a few too many people involved; after a while it becomes difficult to keep them all straight, and not all of them manage to survive. I also thought the ending was wrapped up too quickly, as if the book was beginning to run out of pages. Otherwise this debut venture for Pete McGrath makes me want to read more. I think I have all of them listed below, and it’s time to dig them out and have at them.

       The Pete McGrath series —

Kill Him Quickly, It’s Raining (1966)
An Ear For Murder (1967)
The Flight of the Stiff (1967)

Turn Blue, You Murderers (1967)

We, the Killers (1967)

Dead Upstairs in the Tub (1967)

Slit My Throat Gently (1968)

Lie a Little, Die a Little (1968)
Another Day, Another Stiff (1968)
Death of a Hippie (1968)