Sunday, July 20, 2008

E. Howard Hunt

Charles Ardai has announed that he'll be publishing an E. Howard Hunt novel in the Hard Case line. I've talked about Hunt here before. Watergate made him notorious though even before then he had a reputation for somebody who swung a little too wide in politics.

He once offered to parachute into Cuba wearing a red wig and kill Castro. The only thing he hadn't worked out was how he was going to escape. Some of this tale may owe more to urban legend than fact but remember Hunt HIRED G. Gordon Liddy to help him burgle Dem headquarters in Watergate. This doesn't say much for his judgement. Liddy was already on the shortlist of the craziest of GOP ops.

I've also mentioned that Hunt started out not as a pulp writer but a mainstream if not literary one. In addition to three novels he also wrote a pay of note and was cited as one of the bright new lights to come out of the big war by the then very influential Esquire. One of the five others mentioned included Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal.

I've never been able to find out why a writer who was working in mainstream fiction as late as 1948 suddenly appeared in 1950 writingt books for Gold Medal. That had to be seen as a step down.

He was a good solid craftsmen. Many reviewers didn't want to admit that because of his association with Watergate but he knew how to tell a story--some of them quite lurid, especially his horror novels of the Seventies as by David. St. John--but for me his Steve Bentley novels about politics were my favorites.

If you want to know the mind set the privileged right-wing Cold Warriors of the Fifties and Sixties just pick up one of his Bentley novels. These weren't the Doomsday books so popular at the time but rather believable mysteries involving the sort of people you meet in and around politics. The rich, right-wing kind. In case you hadn't noticed, they're with us today. Most of them involve the intersection of money and politics. Hunt had been CIA and a GOP op for many years. He spoke true.

Hard Case is doing on a Gordon Davis, HOUSE DICK. It's a good one and worth the wait.

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