Shooting Star/Spiderweb by Robert Bloch
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Loser wannabee actor Eddie Haines falls in with a blackmailing ring led by the sinister Professor. But when Eddie falls for one of the Professor's targets, he has to get out any way he can...
The first of the short novels in this collection was pretty good. Eddie's slide into life as a con man was well done, as was his romance with Ellen. The Professor and Dr. Sylvestro were suitably chilling yet still plausible. When Eddie decides to get out, his uphill climb was believably done.
Bloch knows how to write a potboiler. Let's see if Shooting Star is as good.
One-eyed private eye/writer Mark Clayburn is hired to clear the name of Dick Ryan, a murdered western star. Can Clayburn find his killer and dispel the rumors of his drug use before Ryan's killer finds him?
For the first three-fourths of Shooting Star, I was enthralled. Clayburn got thumped over the head more times than Lew Archer as he looked for Ryan's killer. Every time I thought I knew what was going on, Bloch yanked the rug out from under me. Then the plot revolving around a marijuana-selling ring kicked into high gear.
Did you know that in the 1950's, muggle was another word for joint? Neither did I. The whole marijuana part of the plot was unintentionally hilarious. Every time Clayburn mentioned tea, reefer, or stick, I chuckled a bit. It was probably heavy stuff back in the day but soon entered Reefer Madness territory. Still quite enjoyable, just not in the way I was hoping.
Overall, I was quite pleased with this Hard Case double. Mr. Bloch and I will probably be spending more time together in the future.
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