Marlowe’s life story has enough twists and turns for at least three or
four Gold Medal novels. Marlowe was widowed at a young age, became
close buddies with one of the most notorious bank robbers of the 1960s,
and later in his career, suffered a stroke that wiped away his
memory–but not his writing ability. Somehow, through all of this, he
wrote some extremely fine hardboiled novels, the best being his first
two Earl Drake books: THE NAME OF THE GAME IS DEATH and ONE ENDLESS HOUR.
Duane is a right — those are two great books. But if you read NAME OF THE GAME IS DEATH, and you must, be sure to get the first version, not the subsequent rewrite where some of Earl Drake’s very, very rough edges were smoothed out so he could become (following ONE ENDLESS HOUR) the improbable hero of a series of secret agent novels.