FORGOTTEN BOOKS: SHADOW OF A BROKEN MAN – GEORGE CHESBRO!
George Chesbro is one heck of a writer and it is a huge shame he has dropped off the high profile publishing position he once enjoyed.
His creation of Mongo the Magnificent took the private eye genre into a whole new direction – straddling the traditional mean streets with a dash of the mystic and exotic. While the Mongo books gathered many fans, Chesbro continued to follow his own reality in books such as Bones and Veil as well as the three book paperback original series, Chant (under the pseudonym David Cross). But it was Mongo who truly set Chesbro above the solid, but traditional, private eye novels of the era.
Shadow of a Broken Man (Simon & Shuster 1977) was the first Mongo book published, but the second written. City of Whispering Stone, which was the second book in the series publishing chronology, was actually written first, but could not find a publishing home.
Aside from several published short stories, Shadow of a Broken Man introduced the world to Dr. Robert Frederickson, known to his friends as Mongo, a professor of criminology at a New York City university, a former circus headliner, a black-belt karate adept, and a private detective – who just incidentally happens to be a dwarf.
His investigation into the tangled history of a renowned architect named Rafferty, who supposed died in a bizarre accident, brings him up against Lippitt, a strange victim of Communist torture, whose interest in Rafferty goes deeper than patriotism.
Mongo's tenacity sets in motion an incredible chain of events leading to an explosive and terrifying climax on a New York waterfront, in which a deadly secret is revealed.
The book also introduces readers to Garth, Mongo’s ‘big’ brother – an NYPD detective. As the series progressed, the relationship between Mongo and Garth became one of the impressive trademarks of the series.
First edition copies of Shadow of a Broken man are rare these days, but Chesbro has his own website where copies of all his books can be obtained in trade paperback format.
TO CHECK OUT CHESBRO’S WEBSITE CLICK HERE
I still remember Mongo fondly and am determined now to dig back into my collection and start reading him again from the beginning.