Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sad Harvey Mapes is a winner

Watch Me Die

ny Lee Goldberg

an E-book reissue of

“The Man with the Iron-on Badge.”

also available as a paperback

This is the story of sad Harvey Mapes and how he tried to become Travis McGee, or the International Op, or even, Joe Mannix. If you want to know how well he succeeded, read the story. It’s a very funny novel. It’s a very good plot with some surprising twists I never saw coming. A couple of warnings may be in order. There is some really powerful and explicit brutality in this novel. There is some sex and some frank language. Finally, if you are a down and died-in-the-wool, living-it-to-the-end rabid crime fiction fan, you may want to skip this one, because Goldberg manages to diss just about every film and TV detective from “The Great Train Robbery, (1903) to Sherlock Holmes, to Ephram Zimbalist Jr. and just about every detective novelist from Collins to Connelly and Crais.

The author also manages to head-slap the film and TV industries and not a few publishing efforts. That it all works in service to the story and sad Harvey Mapes is testament to the skill and artistry of the creator of “Watch Me Die. Lee Goldberg certainly has the demonstrated chops to be able to produce this risible, amusing and very diverting story. Just glance at his bibliography for a taste.

Sad Harvey Mapes is a gate guard for a gated community in the Los Angeles area. He reads a lot of crime fiction and dreams of one day becoming a Travis McGee or a Tom Sellack. He’s single, lives in a depressing if exotically-named apartment and he spends a lot of time ogling women and dreaming about sex. Then he gets employed by a resident of the gated community to follow the man’s wife and find out what she may be up to. It appears to be a classic if run-of-the-mill detective novel set up doesn’t it? Guess again. Sad Harvey Mapes life is never again the same and readers may very well have to adjust their attitudes about the whole mystery and crime fiction millieu. Read the acknowledgements. I don’t get the title of the e-book, but everything else about this novel is just first rate.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great review! I am very flattered.

    I'd explain the new title to you...but it would be a spoiler for folks who haven't read the book.

    The original title, MAN WITH THE IRON-ON BADGE, was just too clunky and not many folks under a certain age know what an "iron on badges" is anyway.

    Under the new title, and with the new cover, sales of the book have surged...I am selling over 100 more copies a month than I did under the old title...so I know I did the right thing.

    Lee

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