Tag: Mike Shayne

Bodies are Where You Find Them by Brett Halliday

Posted January 20, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Pulp / 0 Comments

Bodies are Where You Find Them by Brett HallidayTitle: Bodies are Where You Find Them (Goodreads)
Author: Brett Halliday
Series: Mike Shayne #5
Published: Dell, 1941
Pages: 188
Genres: Pulp
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: Hard to find visit your local Indie bookstore to order it

Mike Shayne is back, and yet again he finds himself unable to say no to a beautiful rich woman asking for his help. But maybe he will change his tune when she winds up dead in his bed and his is being accused of a crime he did not do. With the girl’s political stepfather eager to see Mike fry, will he find out just who is trying to frame him?

Bodies are Where You Find Them is the fifth (of over seventy) Mike Shayne book by Brett Halliday, but it is the first I’ve read.  Shayne is a heavy drinker, heavy fisted but a quick thinker. However the thing that really stood out with this character was the fact that he was a real anti-hero. I find with hard-boiled detectives they normally blur the line between good and evil but they always seemed to always be a hero; well in all the ones I’ve read, I’ll be happy to be proven wrong. But with Mike Shayne he often crossed the line, not particularly into evil but he was a deeply flawed detective that found me groaning at some of his actions.

The novel is a typical hard-boiled plot, with some political thriller aspects thrown in; Shayne has backed one candidate to be mayor and now he finds himself being framed. With the help of a reporter, he uncovers political corruption and dead bodies. You are never really sure exactly what is happening, I think this is because Shayne’s thought process really throws the reader off.

The Robert Downey Jr. movie Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is apparently based on this novel but I think it must be very loosely based; there are glimpses of a resemblance but nothing really that stands out apart from the idea of being constantly sidetracked  by the protagonists thoughts and unexpected bodies.

While this book wouldn’t be high up in my recommendations for pulp novels, it was an enjoyable read. There are some parts of the book that felt like they have been done to death but I do think Mike Shayne will go on to be a great protagonist; one I’ll love to hate. One thing that stayed in the back of my mind was the amount of cognac Shayne drank; seriously I kept imagining just how hard it would be to be a private investigator if you are plastered all the time. I wonder if anyone have written or filmed a satire about a PI that is too drunk to solve or do anything. Bodies are Where You Find Them is worth reading for pulp fans but if you are new to this genre maybe check out these recommendations.