L. V. ROPER – Hookers Don’t Go to Heaven. Mike Saxon #1. Popular Library, paperback original; 1st printing, August 1976.

   The wife of Mike Saxon’s old army buddy was killed in what the police call a hit-and-run accident. Saxon investigates and not too surprisingly concludes it was murder. (The police are dense.) The trail leads to Las Vegas ad the wife’s high-priced call girl past. She also dabbled in blackmail on the side.

   Both the front and back cover invite comparison with Raymond Chandler, but I strongly demur. The plot is straightforwardly sappy, the patter strictly sub-standard, and the attitude and tone are frozen 20 years in the past. With hardcore pornography available now no further than the nearest art theater or one of those bookstores, it’s hard to say what all the excitement’s about.

   The rating below follows because I was able to read this one all the way through with only momentary cringes, but if private eye fare is not usually for you, don’t get within ten feet of this one. What I fear most is that when misrepresentation like this don’t sell, paperback publishers will give up on the real thing as well.

Rating: D

–Very slightly revised from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 1, No. 2, March 1977.


Bibliographic Update: L(ester) V(irgil) Roper wrote five paperback originals for Curtis and Popular Library between 1973 and 1976, then one last book for Dell in 1981. This was Mike Saxon’s only recorded adventure, but two of the other Popular Library books featured another PI known as Jerry “Renegade” Roe. Check out the latter’s page here on the Thrilling Detective website.