Jake Strait, Bogeyman – Frank Rich (Randy Johnson from the archives)
1: Avenging Angel
2: The Devil Knocks
3: Day of Judgment
4: Twist of Cain
It’s 2031 and the world is in a terrible mess. The Party controls everything and have for to many years. All military forces in the world have been disbanded and instead a Security and Protection Force guard all the nicer areas, i. e. the suburbs, the few still fertile farmlands, and the rich! The City is a hell where anything goes, no law, no protection. A Reclamation Service keeps the bodies cleaned up(one can get a small fee finding a body and reporting it) and sent to be used as protein fertilizer or other things if one believed the rumors. The milk didn’t come from a cow, the meat didn’t come from an animal(the real thing in both cases was very expensive). Soy is king.
Jake Strait is an enforcer, a bounty hunter, a “Bogeyman” in common parlance, who makes his living picking up criminals. He really functions as a private eye, preferring the criminal element to political warrants. One could make a good living picking up the “political” criminals which, while they didn’t pay a lot, were plentiful(a lot of people offended the Party). But Jake didn’t agree with Party principles. He’s also well skilled in weapons and self defense(an ex- Ranger from when there were still such groups).
That line he wouldn’t cross kept him poor.
He was sitting in his office one day wondering where the rent was going to come from, how he was going to pay his answering service(they weren’t taking any more calls until he did), where he was going to get his next meal, when the rich couple walked in. They were officious, sneering, not at all nice.
But they did have an execution-without-trial warrant that paid 5,000 credits.
Not willing to pay a retainer, Jake forced them to let him scan their hands to make sure they were who they said(everyone has a chip in their that has IDs and banking information). Jake had an illegal scanner that furnished more than ID information. They were legit, so he took their warrant.
The subject was not a nice fellow. He pushed whack, crack, and squeeze, did a little pimping and gunrunning on the side, not to mention a little rape and murder on the odd occasion.
Tracking his target down, Jake takes him out and gets his proof(the way you proved your kills was taking the hand with the chip). Heading home, and nearly out of alcohol fuel for his car, he decides to let his victim pay. Stopping at an auto station, he fills up and scans the hand for payment.
That’s when things started to get weird.
His victim had 46 credits left after payment. He also had a second account at a much higher scale bank. Hitting the nearest bank, he transferred the 46 credits to his account and then went looking for a higher scale bank to see what was there. A quarter of a million credits! Quickly moving them to his account, Jake is feeling smug.
When he goes to the local SPF headquarters to collect his reward bounty, the second weird hits. The execution warrant is a fake. The kill was simply a small time poet with a minor arrest warrant out on him.
Jake’s been set up and the possibility of a murder charge hangs over his head. After one long drinking binge, he gets mad and decides to find out what’s going on. The clients are among the super rich and their home is among a well guarded enclave. It won’t be easy to get into, surrounded by minefields as it was, not to mention the extra security at each home within the development.
Throw in the beautiful, homicidal young woman and the death squad sent after Jake, it made for a fun novel. It’s told in the first person, like most PI tales, and reads like one. Four books in the series, from the early nineties, although there was a reissue in 2007, I have only read the first one so far. It interested me enough that the others move up in the TBR pile.
A commentator clued me in to which Frank Rich is up to these days. Go HERE.
Sergio Angelini, WHOSE BODY, Dorothy L. Sayers
Mark Baker, THE CONCRETE BLONDE, Michael Connelly
Joe Barone, MULTIPLE EXPOSURE, Ellen Crosby
Les Blatt, THE NOTTING HILL MYSTERY, Charles Warren Adams
Brian Busby, HILDA WADE, Grant Allen
Bill Crider, QUARRY'S VOTE, Max Allan Collins
Martin Edwards, MEASURE FOR MURDER, Clifford Witting
Ed Gorman, MURDER AMONG OWLS, Bill Crider
Rich Horton, THE LANGUAGE NOBODY SPEAKS, Eugene Mirabelli
Jerry House, "Indian Sign" Robert Bloch
Nick Jones, RED HARVEST, Dashiell Hammett
George Kelley, EDWARD GOREY: HIS BOOK COVER ART AND DESIGN
Margot Kinberg, A DARK AND TWISTED TALE, Sharon Bolton
Rob Kitchin, NIGHT PASSAGE, Robert Parker
B.V. Lawson, ARISTOTLE DETECTIVE, Margaret Doody
Steve Lewis/ David Vineyard, THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE SEVEN KINGS, L.T. Meade and Robert Eustace.
Todd Mason, FANTASTIC: STORIES OF IMAGINATION, April 1963, edited by Cele Goldsmith, THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, February 1964, edited by Avram Davidson
J.F. Norris, THE WOMAN IN BLACK, Leslie Ford
Mathew Paust, WILD SWANS, Jung Chang
James Reasoner, LEAVE HER TO HELL, Fletcher Flora
Gerard Saylor, DOVE SEASON, Johnny Shaw
Kevin Tipple, 47 RULES OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE BANK ROBBERS, Troy Cook
Kerrie Smith, HINDSIGHT, Melanie Casey
TomCat, MURDER IN THE MAD HOUSE, Jonathan Latimer
TracyK, BILLION DOLLAR BRAIN, Len Deighton