The Killer is Mine by Talmage Powell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Talmage Powell was another pulp writer who migrated to the mystery digests, primarily Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, and of course paperback originals in the 1950s. He was also one of the Tampa group of author pals with Harry Whittington, Day Keene, Jonathon Craig, and Gil Brewer. Fine company indeed. This paperback from 1959 was Powell’s take on the immensely popular private detective genre of the era with this, the first Ed Rivers novel. A young wife attempts to engage Rivers to prove that her husband on death row is innocent, and while at first disinclined to help, he changes his mind when he is threatened to drop the case, correctly sleuthing that something fishy is afoot. Rivers doggedly seeks the truth while dodging a large retinue of forces that are throwing roadblocks and threats at him. Powell expertly rolls up a delightfully sophisticated and tightly plotted gem with a slew of interesting characters, all spouting terse and evocative dialog. A top notch detective novel and another superior entry in the pantheon of 1959 paperback masterpieces, arguably the best year ever for crime, sleaze, and detective fiction. Five stars and my highest recommendation.
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