FORGOTTEN BOOKS: MASQUERADE IN BLUE!
GLENN M. BARNS
ACE BOOKS ~ 1956
Apparently, small town police departments in the ‘50s never thought of using a parole officer to keep track of released criminals – at least in the small town in Masquerade In Blue, where the police chief gives his ex-con son-in-law a badge and a unifiorm in order to keep him ‘in check.’
Uniformed police officers were usually cannon fodder or played for laughs in the pulps. Having a uniformed cop as a hero was unusual – even if he was an ex-con before getting his badge. However, Jim Garland is an ex-con with a soft spot, taking the job as a cop to please his dying mother.
But this is pulp, and you know before the first page that Jim’s ex-con past is going to come back and haunt him. You’re even more positive as Jim quickly becomes the local hero, putting his criminal knowledge to good use since he knows how criminals think.
Of course, just when things are starting to look up for Jim, wouldn’t you know it, his old partner in crime shows up. Throw in some big-shot gangsters, and a femme fatale and it’s clear things are going to turn from bad to worse for Jim.
MASQUERADE IN BLUE
Every minute he wore that uniform he lived a mockery!
The last thing Jim Garland wanted to be when he got out of jail was a cop. Yet when he returned home, the badge was waiting for him. It was the way his police chief step-father used to keep this 'black sheep' in check. Jim had to take it or leave – and he took it.
But Jim still had links with the underworld he couldn't sever, blue uniform or not. And when beautiful Marge Rivers insinuated herself into his life with promises of love and money – enough for a new start – and he needed a girl – badly. So Marge, with her big-time ideas, led Jim to the one man who could supply their needs, the one man who stood between them.
An unusually exciting novel of a wayward son torn by new temptations.
Masquerade In Blue is second rank noir – all a bit preachy and conservative leaning and without the final twist of angst for a true noir bitter ending. Still, it’s a readable tale, providing the comfort of predicatability.