Joe Gores, the Bay Area crime novelist who passed away this week. But I liked the few of his novels I did try. Oddly, I believe only one of them, "Contract Null and Void," was from his signature "Daniel Kearney Associates" (DKA Files) series.
Two stand-alones from the mid-90s have stuck with me, though, both of them clever tales of revenge. "Menaced Assassin" combines murder and paleontology, as a college professor seeks justice for his wife's killing. "Dead Man" also features a bereaved husband, one who rebuilds himself after the death of his wife and children to infiltrate the Mob as an accountant.
Although he won an Edgar for his first novel, "A Time of Predators" and wrote scripts for many detective TV shows, including "Kojak" and "Magnum PI," Gores is probably best known for his association with the quintessential hard-boiled detective, Sam Spade. In the Eighties, Gore wrote, "Hammett," in which the author of "The Glass Key" himself becomes embroiled in murder mystery. In 2009, he was authorized to pen a "prequel" to "The Maltese Falcon," "Spade & Archer."
Gores was a writer who understood the everyday realities of the private detective game but still managed to find deep wells of humor and suspense in it. His clear-eyed vision of the trade will be missed.