FORGOTTEN BOOKS: GOODEY’S LAST STAND!
"I was right, wasn't I, Joe? You should have been a private dick all the time. You're a natural. Here you've had a private op's license a full six hours or so, and you're working overtime finding dead bodies, disappearing potential murderers and witnesses, bumping heads with detective sergeants all over the place. You've got the knack, boy." – Goodey's Last Stand
Joe Goodey is a star San Francisco homicide detective working until he mistakes the mayor’s cousin for a gunman and shoots him. In short order, Goodey is forced to resign and run out of town. It’s indicated that once things cools down, he might be able to return as a private ticket.
However, no sooner than you can say plot twist, a North Beach stripper with the mayor’s name in her little black book is murdered, and Goodey finds his private eye license expedited – he’s back in town with fall guy written all over him.
Goodey survives his last stand in order to work a second case in Not Sleeping, Just Dead, when he is hired to investigate the mysterious death of a young woman at a Big Sur commune/rehab clinic called The Institute.
Author Alverson’s screen writing involvement with Terry Gilliam’s stylized films Brazil and Jabberwocky should give you some idea of the anachronistic time displacement displayed by the down on his luck Goodey. Goodey’s Last Stand was published in the mid-seventies and set in the then modern era. However, Goodey is less enlightened toward women and minorities than Mike Hammer in his heyday, making his exploits a homage to the genre’s worst attributes.
Still, despite his throwback attitudes, Goodey is an entertaining wise-cracker who goes through his knight in tarnished armor routine in serviceable tradition. Set in Chinatown and San Francisco’s red light district, Goodey’s Last Stand is strong with mood and ambience, but never rises above mediocre storytelling.
THE JOE GOODEY NOVELS:
GOODEY’S LAST STAND (1975)
NOT SLEEPING, JUST DEAD (1977)