GOLDEN GATE MYSTERIES: A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF CRIME FICTION
SET IN THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA
Created by Charles Alverson
I was right, wasn’t I, Joe? You should have been a private dick all the time. You’re a natural. Here youve had a private ops license a full six hours or so, and youre working overtime finding dead bodies, disappearing potential murderers and witnesses, bumping heads with detective sergeants all over the place. Youve got the knack, boy.
JOE GOODEY is a San Francisco shamus who appeared in two novels by Charles Alverson. Jonah Webster Joe Goodey makes his debut in Goodeys Last Stand (1975). He is a San Francisco homicide detective whose career is cut short when he mistakes the mayors cousin for a gunman and shoots him. Goodey is then told, in no uncertain terms, to either resign and get the hell out of town, or face charges for attempted murder. Maybe, after things cool down, he can return to the city and get a private investigators license. His exile from San Francisco is short-lived, however, when he is called back to the city to investigate the murder of a popular North Beach stripper named Tina DOro, who also happened to be a special friend of the mayors. In Not Sleeping, Just Dead (1977), Goodey is hired to investigate the mysterious death of a young woman at a Monterey County commune/rehab clinic called The Institute.
Goodey is a wise-cracker who would never be accused of having enlightened views about women or minorities, but he is honest and a basically decent guy. Alverson obviously enjoys his work, though:
Smokey Sefton, the assistant ghoul, pulled out what looked like a filing cabinet drawer, flipped back a rubber blanket, and there was Tina, lying on her back with those fantastic tits sticking up like howitzer shells. Her skin was the color of old, weatherworn marble, gray-white, and with a vague coarseness. The famous body was unmarked except for a nasty appendix scar and a rather triangular wound just above and slightly to the right of her left breast, made by the blade that had nicked an artery and spilled her lifes blood. The interns had done a good job of cleaning her up, but they didnt know much about the latest hair styles.
Fucking amazing, said Ralph, exaggeratedly bug-eyeing Tinas body. Bet youve been having a good time for yourself down here, eh, Smokey? Id hate to have that body dusted for prints. Put you away for life.
(There is a reason, after all, that the Goodey novels were reprinted in paperback by Playboy Press.)
Charles Alversons writing career has taken many strange turns. After graduating from San Francisco State he got started in journalism, moving to New York and working as assistant editor at Harvey Kurtzmans HELP! Magazine before landing at the Wall Street Journal. He is best-known, however, as the screenwriter of Terry Gilliams Jabberwocky (he also wrote the first draft of Gilliams Brazil, but is uncredited in that film). He has lived in London, Cambridge, and Wales (where he wrote the Goodey novels). When last heard from, he was living with his third wife in rural north Serbia. He has one other novel, a stand-alone thriller called Fighting Back (1973), and several childrens books to his credit.
- The next best thing to finding a new and unsuspected Raymond Chandler phantasmagoria. (The New Yorker)
- [Goodeys Last Stand] is rich in San Francisco background and colorful characters and includes a nice ongoing bit about Goodeys Chinese landlord...
(1001 Midnights, Pronzini and Muller, eds., Arbor House, 1986)
- Goodeys Last Stand (1975)
- Not Sleeping, Just Dead (1977)
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