George Mair. The Jade Cat (1974) 157 pp. [pbo]
Lou Brick: nationally-syndicated radio commentator, investigative reporter, ladies’ man, and man of action. He is naturally suspicious of every seemingly innocent situation, which keeps him from being killed in a variety of gruesome ways. He can also take on a gang of Chinese gangsters armed with nothing but bravado and a broken shard of glass. Brick’s only known adventure begins in St. Louis, where a Chicago millionaire, Herbert Pancellus, has summoned him for a top-secret meeting. As soon as he checks into his room, a sexy-sounding woman calls him and arranges to meet him in his room. Before she arrives, he sneaks out of the room—a move that keeps him alive when, instead of a sexy woman, a large black man arrives with a bomb and blows his room to bits. Brick has his meeting with Pancellus, learns that Pancellus is being robbed and blackmailed by a shadowy group called The Jade Cat, and narrowly gets out of town alive. The Jade Cat turns out to be a secret society, with ties to Communist China, operating out of San Francisco’s Chinatown, where the bulk of the action takes place. With Pancellus’ beautiful assistant, Nancy Forsythe (whom he, naturally, does not completely trust), at his side—and with the impressive investigative resources of news radio at his disposal—Brick tracks down the leaders of The Jade Cat, finds a particularly nasty torture device, and uncovers a much bigger plot than he expected.
Setting: San Francisco (Chinatown); St. Louis, Mo.