For those who have never read one of Lee Goldberg’s books, you are missing some of the most enjoyable reading around. From his DIAGNOSIS MURDER series to his
stand-alone novels, Mr. Goldberg never fails to entertain. Whether he is writing about the lovable Dr. Mark Sloan, the inner workings of Hollywood, or a character dealing with his own demons, he delivers. Once again, with the release of THE MAN WITH THE IRON-ON BADGE, he comes through.
Harvey Mapes is in his late twenties, stuck in a life of boredom. His job is that of a security guard at a gated community — a rent-a-cop. He has a part-time girl friend in his apartment building. He has the usual dreams of something better, fueled by his love of detective novels and detective show reruns on television. Then, one day, his life takes a change. Cyril Parkus, one of the wealthy residents of the community he “guards” ask Harvey to do him a favor. Cyril needs someone to tail his wife to see what she is up to. Mr. Parkus suspects something but has no proof. Harvey jumps at the chance even though he has no idea of what he is supposed to do. His only guide comes from the characters in novels about Travis McGee, “Dirty Harry” movies, and the “Mannix” and Rockford television shows.
Through a series of humorous actions, dangerous beatings and murders, Harvey pursues the truth – all the while throwing out the usual clichés when he is confronted with danger. Yes, he
actually tells one thug to “Make my day.”
Piece by piece, Harvey becomes a better private eye than he realized he could be. He continues his detective work for two main purposes. One, for his own satisfaction. And two, he wants to impress Carol, his part-time lover, since she seems to have become quite enamored of him now.
Harvey Mapes is the type of wannabe that many of us can see within ourselves. He is the type of fictional character who could find life in several other story lines.
Even though I know that he will find a way, I am wondering how Mr. Goldberg can continue to give us his trademark unique endings. With the conclusion of THE MAN WITH THE IRON-ON BADGE he once again shows his talent to surprise and please a reader.
The causes behind all the subterfuge and secrets get turned on their heads with the conclusion of his latest work. Not many writers can make us both laugh and feel sad within the same story line.
Thanks so much to Tom Mayes and everyone over at I LOVE A MYSTERY.