Any Woman He Wanted by Harry Whittington
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Although this was published by Beacon in 1960 as a sleaze novel, it was originally written by Whittington as sequel to Brute in Brass, which was published by Fawcett Gold Medal. Whittington intended Mike Ballard as a series character but Gold Medal rejected this sequel. The hilarious thing is that anyone buying this based on the cover thinking that they were getting a story about a guy making time with four women was seriously disappointed. There is not so much as a kiss in the entire book. Hard to understand Gold Medal's rejection because this is just about the equal to Brute in Brass. The primary difference is that Any Woman He Wanted is not a noir. It is just a straight ahead crime novel. The novel starts with Ballard, now a homicide detective showing up at the scene of a robbery. A nice set-piece scene that establishes character via action. After that things slow down a bit with Ballard's back story, both pre- and post-Brute in Brass. So we learn more about his history, and for those who have read Brute, we find out what happened after that novel ended. It is now four years later and Ballard is a clean, but hobbled, cop. Enter new plot complications. He meets with the DA, who tries to hire him as a special investigator. Ballard knows that is death warrant and refuses. Next day the DA is dead and it is game on. The rest of the novel tracks Ballard as he battles it out with the new criminals who run the town.
280Steps has re-released this one as an eBook and it is also available in a Stark House edition along with A Night for Screaming.
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