Bloody Murdock

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PI and ex-cop Matt Murdock is picky about the cases he takes on. Being a bodyguard isn’t his favorite gig, especially when the client is a high-handed number-cruncher like Ellis Dean. But Murdock is short on funds, and the case is a puzzler. It doesn’t hurt that it features the death, accidental or otherwise, of a beautiful woman. Murdock has a weakness for damsels in distress, even after it’s a little late for rescue. Gayla Jean Kirkwood, killed in a car wreck on the Pacific Coast Highway, was a good-time girl, high-class waitress and wannabe starlet.

Dean fires Murdock and ends up dead, clearing the way for Murdock to sign on with the victim’s sister, Meg Kirkwood, a gorgeous dead-ringer for her sister. The case will offer other female distractions, including a fresh-faced and overly eager girl reporter.

Who would want Gayla Jean dead? Was it a scorned lover? Someone at the chic club where she worked? The men who paid to photograph her naked? Or was she simply collateral—the real target being the Mexican actor driving the doomed car? As his investigation continues, Murdock and his client will discover just how dirty deals in Hollywood can get. If they live long enough.

One thought on “Bloody Murdock

  1. Every now and then the publishing world regains its sanity and brings back books that remind us how good mystery writing is supposed to work. Camel Press, in Seattle, has gotten hold of Robert J. Ray’s Matt Murdock series and is re-issuing them. And these novels work.
    “Bloody Murdock”, just released, is classic, vintage, memorable detective writing. We all dream of Hollywood, but most of us never get close. In this novel, Ray takes us into the dark side of Southern California. We’ve been there before, but never quite like this. In all of his novels, Ray mixes innocence and sin; death and love; power and greed with purity. He shows us a world so screwed up you wonder how anybody can get out of bed in the morning–“I woke up next morning to the smell of fresh perked coffee–one of the few good reasons I know for waking…” He shows us Beauty in lace underpants (Chandler, eat your heart out) and the Beast in a tailored suit. In “Bloody Murdock” we see the sleuth as an avenging angel with a bulldog’s bite and the tenacity of a compulsive gambler. The writing is there, the story is there–and Ray is a great story-teller–but Murdock himself is the work of art here. Worn down by life, hurt by love, mangled by war Murdock still finds a way to bring this crummy, crumbling, diseased world of greed and lust back into balance. If he could, Murdock would wipe out all the bad guys, but he knows he can’t so he moves on. As he moves through the story, Murdock shows us his rough edges and his survivor’s skills with gun, knife, and that sharpest of all weapons–his mind. I want to say this–I wish Murdock was my dad, or at least the uncle who shows up at Christmas looking like he’s just fought a nasty battle with the demons from hell and won. I like Murdock. You’ll like Murdock. He’s going to put one part this fouled up world back on its pivot–if it’s the last thing he ever does. And that’s what sleuths are supposed to do. Welcome Back, Murdock.
    After “Bloody Murdock”, grab the other novels in this series– “Murdock Cracks Ice” and the soon to be published–“Murdock Tackles Taos”. Good writing by a masterful novelist.

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