Remember Rex McBride? He debuted in Sabotage (1940) and returned in And Sudden Death (1940) and Decoy (1940), all previously featured as Forgotten Books.
Reading Cleve F. Adams is always a joy. My brain slides right into the familiar rhythm of his prose and the jaded attitudes of his heroes. In Up Jumped the Devil, Rex is in San Francisco on the trail of a fabulous string of diamonds known as the Adelphi necklace. It’s gone missing, and the company that insured it for a hundred grand has hired Rex to get it back.
He’s up against the fatcat owner, a Cesar Romero lookalike sniffing around the owner’s wife and adopted daughter, a dirty cop who hates his guts, an unscrupulous diamond dealer, a gambling den magnate and an assortment of small time hoods and grifters. And just to make things tougher, the FBI is using him as a stalking horse in their investigation of sabotaged war plants on the West Coast.
If you haven’t read Adams, the first two pages of “Exodus” (below) will give you a good taste.
On this reading, the character of Rex McBride struck an extra chord, and I got the possibly crackpot notion that John Sandford, author of the Prey series, might be a Cleve F. Adams fan. Like McBride, Sandford’s hero Lucas Davenport is dark complexioned, a fancy dresser and a womanizer. Both like to spend money on themselves, both have quick, violent tempers, and both have contacts at all levels of society. How about it, Mr. S? Is Lucas is Rex’s nephew?
(click to enlarge)