I read this book for the Mount TBR reading challenge 2014.
The Brass Rainbow – Michael Collins, 1969
A two-bit gambler comes to one-armed PI Dan Fortune to arrange an alibi. He’s doesn’t want to take the rap for roughing up a rich guy from whom he was trying to extract a gambling debt. Fortune refuses. The very next day the rich guy is found in his ritzy apartment stabbed to death. The cops are after the two-bit gambler, who has disappeared. Fortune doubts the gambler has the heart to turn killer. Though he has no client, he works to find him and clear him. Fortune is a defiant cuss so takes pleasure in disregarding the cops when they pressure him to drop the case.
This was the second of 19 Dan fortune novels, making it a very long running series. The first in the series Act of Fear won the 1968 Edgar Award for Best First Novel. Collins wrote in the hard-boiled tradition of Hammett and Chandler, but also with the social concerns of Ross Macdonald. His unadorned prose has energy and confidence. He focuses on how characters found themselves in a bad situation and how they cope. We never lose track even when the suspenseful twists and turns get mightily complicated. Also notable is the late Sixties anxiety about ourselves and our world: “Life begins in darkness and ends in darkness and in between is a nightmare.”
Michael Collins was one of many pen-names of Dennis Lynds (1924–2005). He was raised in New York City and like many born in the Twenties he fought in WWII. He won a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Private Eye Writers of America in 1988.