In the dangerous and oftentimes cynical world of private investigations, Beverly Hills-based private eye Joseph Puma is a refreshing breath of fresh air. In his job, he often encounters the seedier side of life, and yet, he retains that idealism that justice must be served. "A man is dead," he says. "Isn't it important to you?" Oftentimes broke and needing to pawn his old Chevrolet, Joe nevertheless finds time to help old friends and strangers, even without pay. He does not shy away from danger, if he thinks he is helping people. As a licensed detective looking for missing persons, and investigating questionable characters murders, and kidnapping, Joe's big and muscular physique certainly comes as a big help. His strong punch has gotten him out of sticky situations, and his quick thinking has helped save his life a few times. In this collection, however, Joe finds himself in a rough spot more than a few times. He endures being knocked out and imprisoned, hides from gun-toting enemies underwater while losing blood, gets TKO'd by a heavy and unexpected punch and woken up by a bucket of water, and is a hair's breadth away from dying when he was shot at and crashed his car. The big Italian manages to emerge triumphant in the end. However, he doesn't come out of his adventures unscathed. In his daily battle against murderers and people who consider a man's death lightly, Joe feels the burden of his profession. He suffers guilt for the death of a colleague, and in the course of an investigation, he also has to choose between justice and a friend.
"William Campbell Gault was a writer of the old school, a consummate professional throughout a distinguished career that spanned more than half a century. From 1936 to 1995 he published scores of novels, both mysteries and juvenile sports fiction and hundreds of short stories, and counted among his awards an Edgar from the Mystery Writers of America, and the Life Achievement Award from the, Private Eye Writers of America." --Bill Pronzini