01 August 2009

E. Howard Hunt's actual dick!

House Dick is E. Howard Hunt's 1961 novel of robbery and murder in Washington D.C. Yes, the same E. Howard Hunt of Nixon and Watergate infamy. He wrote dozens of books over more than fifty years (he lived to be 88), using several names, mostly spy novels or intelligence-related non-fiction. House Dick is Pete Novak, the hard-boiled detective of the Hotel Tilden. He gets himself involved with a beautiful woman, an ex-con, a drug pusher, an honest cop, a rich lady, a casino boss, and a bag of jewels, all while smoking, drinking, skulking, and wisecracking. It was a fun read despite the dated feel--the action was brisk and the story moved forward. The last chapter had a familiar denouement, with the gritty and determined detective wearing one of the characters down enough so that they'd finally cop to the truth. It was originally published as Washington Payoff by Gordon Davis.

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