CHARLES ALVERSON – Not Sleeping, Just Dead. Houghton Mifflin, hardcover, hardcover, 1977. Playboy Press, paperback, 1980.

   Joe Goodey is a private eye. Being a cynic comes with the job, but along with a sour view of the`world and a nasty way of saying his mind comes an unquenchable sense of justice that not even the soul-scouring impact of group therapy can touch.

   What he’s hired to do, and what he does, is to learn who caused the death of wealthy man’s granddaughter at a Big Sur drug rehabilitation commune. He also finds once again the success does not always bring satisfaction, much less gratitude.

   While there are some novelistic weaknesses in his approach, Goodey‘s last statement on the matter is an impassioned defense of the moral point of view that explains society’s continued need for incorruptible investigators who are unafraid of the truth and willing to point fingers of guilt where they should. It’s not been done better since the days of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, and praise greater than that cannot be given.

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 2, No. 2, March 1978 (slightly revised).

[UPDATE] 01-12-16.   I’ve not read either this, or Alverson’s Goodey’s Last Stand (1975), the first entry in an all-too-short two book PI series, in nearly 40 years. I liked both very much at the time, but I wonder how they would stand up today. I also have no idea why there were only the two books. Based on my opinion back then, there should have been more.