Saturday, March 21, 2015
Evan Strikes Again
My old pal Dave "Evan" Lewis launched a new series in the current issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine--May 2015-- with "The Continental Opposite," an inventive story that has Dashiell Hammett's portly little detective The Continental Op coming out of retirement to clean up corruption in 1953 Portland, Oregon.
Peter Collins is an operative for the Continental Investigations, Inc. agency. When he learns his boss is in cahoots with the town's criminal kingpin he notifies the main office, who send the unnamed but obvious Continental Op to set things right.
Inside jokes abound, starting with the protagonist's name. Peter Collins is underworld slang for a nobody, and also a take on Peter Collinson, a pseudonym of Hammett's early in his career. There's a Chinese joint called Hung Lo's. Lots of side-of-the-mouth patter spices up the dialogue and exposition.
We also have a tong gang, crooked cops, an oily gangster who runs a nightclub, and Peter's mother, who is no June Cleaver, not by a long shot. It's a wild and wooly ride peppered with action, humor and a dash of pathos. I hope AHMM doesn't wait until its annual humor issue to present the next installment.