SEVEN FACES by Max Brand


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 Retro kitsch and sundry delights pepper this sequel to 1995's hardcover reprint of Murder Me!, first published in 1936 in Detective Fiction Weekly. Brand, favored pseudonym of Frederick Schiller Faust (18921944), king of the pulps, prolific screenwriter (80 movies are based on his works or scripts), author of four books of serious poetry, founder of the Dr. Kildare series, the Destry novels, etc., etc., wrote 30 million words, the equal of 530 ordinary books, before dying as a war correspondent in Germany. Currently the pop prodigy has nine (count 'em) publishers issuing, among them, a new book by Brand every four months in just about all of the genres that anyone could think of (crime, fantasy, historical romance, espionage, westerns, science fiction, adventure, animal stories, big business, big medicine. . . ). Even so, Brand remains more interesting for the figure he cut than for the works he hacked, although nearly everything he penned has great pace, and even his potboilers--which at times truly grip--are often based on classic themes and figures (Oedipus, Achilles, Faust, etc.). In this particular 61-year-old serial, though, the classic theme is not all that visible. Returning here are salt-and-pepper detectives Angus Campbell--a Scottish American idealist given to dour rejoinders--and blimpishly bouncy, chortlingly ebullient, fact-counting, cigar-chewing Patrick O'Rourke. Manhattan millionaire John Cobb has been receiving threatening letters, and so leaves for Chicago, hoping that by hopping the night-train he'll escape from his anonymous ill-wisher. Assigned as guards, Campbell and O'Rourke go along. When, after signing his $15 million will over to his cousin, Cobb disappears from his Pullman, Campbell and O'Rourke must check the train for their missing charge. He's not on the train, though, and not in Buffalo, so they scour Chicago- -and, as it happens, mean old Cobb has enemies galore from some slick deals he's pulled. More bouncy and bounding than Amtrak.

Pub Date: March 10th, 1998
ISBN: 0-8032-1281-X
Page count: 180pp
Publisher: Univ. of Nebraska
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1998


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