Paperback: Seduction of the Innocent by Max Allan Collins, 2013, 9780857687487.
Third in a series of comic book themed novels by Collins. I did not know the other two books - Strip for Murder and A Killing in Comics - existed. Maybe that's why the first publisher dropped the series after the first two novels. Hard Case Crime came to the rescue and published this one.
Right in the middle of this novel the protagonist slugs it out with a drunken, brawling cartoonist. The fight scene was fantastic. The confrontation and fisticuffs only last 2-3 pages and I feel like I should go back and analyze the whole thing and figure out why it was so good. I won't.
Anyhoo. Jack Starr is a troubleshooter for a company that handles nationwide syndication of newspaper comic strips. His job is to keep the artists and writers out of trouble and on deadline. His young stepmother is a former striptease artist and business savant who owns the company. The two get along but they don't "get along".
Meanwhile, Dr. Werner Fredrick has just published his expose on the dangers of comic books and how they are inciting bad manners, long hair, foul language, chewing gum and all other forms of juvenile delinquency among American children.
Stepmom Starr tries to woo Fredrick by proposing that Fredrick write a syndicated advice column. Heck, Starr Syndicate will even find him a ghost writer for the weekly pieces. Things are looking positive indeed until Starr goes to Fredrick's hotel apartment and finds the good doctor dead.
Starr starts investigating. Along the way we encounter several fictionalized cartoonists, comic book titles, mobsters, personalities, and artists. I actually recognized some of them. Starr has some sex. Starr gets a beating. Starr cracks a little wise. Starr figures it out and Stepmother Starr and Starr reveal the bad guy.
1. What's it called when all the suspects are brought together by the investigator and the investigator reveals the killer?
2. Collins's new Quarry novel comes out in a few months.
3. I've not been able to watch the Quarry TV show. I'll have to wait for the DVD.
4. EDIT: 9-26-16. I fixed some writing errors up above. I also found out that the QUARRY episodes are viewable on YouTube. I've only had time to watch one full episode but the show has been pretty good so far.