Seduction of the Innocent (Jack & Maggie Starr #3)
It's 1954, and a rabble-rousing social critic has declared war on comic books - especially the scary, gory, bloody sort published by the bad boys of the industry, EF Comics. But on the way to a Senate hearing on whether these depraved publications should be banned, the would-be censor meets a violent end of his own - leaving his opponents in hot water.  Can Jack Starr, private eye to the funny-book industry, and his beautiful boss Maggie unravel the secret of Dr. Frederick's gruesome demise?  Or will the crackdown come, falling like an executioner's axe...?

Seduction of the Innocent (Jack & Maggie Starr #3) Details

TitleSeduction of the Innocent (Jack & Maggie Starr #3)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 22nd, 2013
PublisherTitan
ISBN-139780857687487
Rating
GenreMystery, Crime, Fiction, Noir, Sequential Art, Comics, Historical, Historical Fiction, Pulp

Seduction of the Innocent (Jack & Maggie Starr #3) Review

  • Kemper
    January 1, 1970
    Max Allan Collins has provided some wish fulfillment for fan boys via historical revision by killing off one the great villains in comic book history, Dr. Fredric Wertham. Well, I mean, he kinda sorta kills him off.In 1954 the comic book business is getting a black eye from public minded do-gooders who claim that the lurid funny books are warping the minds of children and turning them into juvenile delinquents. A noted psychiatrist, Dr. Werner Frederick, is leading the charge as his book Ravage Max Allan Collins has provided some wish fulfillment for fan boys via historical revision by killing off one the great villains in comic book history, Dr. Fredric Wertham. Well, I mean, he kinda sorta kills him off.In 1954 the comic book business is getting a black eye from public minded do-gooders who claim that the lurid funny books are warping the minds of children and turning them into juvenile delinquents. A noted psychiatrist, Dr. Werner Frederick, is leading the charge as his book Ravage of the Lambs is about to be released. Public hearings by Congress are further turning the public against comics. Jack Starr is a private detective who acts as a troubleshooter for the syndicate he co-owns with his step-mother Maggie that distributes comics and comic strips. They have a plan to muzzle Dr. Frederick by offering him a well-paying gig as an advice columnist, but he gets killed before they can close the deal. If Frederick was murdered by someone in the industry, the public outrage could shut the comic business down for good so Jack starts trying to quickly find the killer to minimize any bad press.Overall this one is fairly entertaining. Collins uses stand-ins for real historical personalities like subbing his creation Frederick for d-bag Wertham . He also rewrites history while mirroring real events like the disastrous testimony in front of the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency by EC Comic’s head Bill Gaines. However, if you don’t know the actual story (Check out The Ten-Cent Plauge for an excellent non-fiction account of the comic book witch hunt.), I’m not sure how much appeal it would have because as a straight-up whodunit, it’s pretty basic.There are also some nice illustrations done by Terry Beatty that are used for chapter headings and a clever summary of the suspects done comic book style before the conclusion.
    more
  • Josh
    January 1, 1970
    SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT is the third installment in the Maggie and Jack Starr mysteries in which the duo tackle the war on comics lodged by Dr. Werner Frederick who sees comics as a pathway to violence for the impressionable youth of America circa 1954. With the imminent publication of a book condemning the fictional medium, the Starr Syndicate, headed by Maggie Starr attempt to curb Frederick’s influence by hiring him to write a regular column for their newspaper. The terms of the agreement p SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT is the third installment in the Maggie and Jack Starr mysteries in which the duo tackle the war on comics lodged by Dr. Werner Frederick who sees comics as a pathway to violence for the impressionable youth of America circa 1954. With the imminent publication of a book condemning the fictional medium, the Starr Syndicate, headed by Maggie Starr attempt to curb Frederick’s influence by hiring him to write a regular column for their newspaper. The terms of the agreement prohibit Frederick from trash talking comics, something he agrees to under surprisingly little sufferance. However, what looks to be a clever and cunning business move soon turns sour when Frederick is discovered by Jack, dead, in his apartment. The comic industry stands much to gain by ridding the world of Frederick; the question for Jack is who of the many suspects is the guilty party? I really enjoyed this book. The murder mystery takes a little while to get going as the author establishes the key players and builds a lengthy list of suspects. Even though this is the third mystery to feature the widow Maggie Starr and Jack Starr (a private eye of sorts), SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT reads extremely well as a standalone. In addition, the graphics at the start of each chapter are a real bonus – not only do they look cool, but add an extra element to the story and really capture that golden age of comics feel.SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT is a solid and entertaining whodunit with a nice sidebar of historical fiction. This review also appears on my blog: http://justaguythatlikes2read.blogspo...
    more
  • Randy
    January 1, 1970
    Jack and his stepmother Maggie Starr are back in their third mystery tale. This one has the anti-comic crusades of the fifties as the inspiration. Unlike Mr. Collins' other historical mystery/thrillers, this series doesn't blend real characters with his fictional ones, instead opting for a, sort of an alternate reality world you might say, in presenting this mystery tale.The "bad" guy here is Dr. Werner Frederick, a German-American psychiatrist about to publish a book claiming that all the juven Jack and his stepmother Maggie Starr are back in their third mystery tale. This one has the anti-comic crusades of the fifties as the inspiration. Unlike Mr. Collins' other historical mystery/thrillers, this series doesn't blend real characters with his fictional ones, instead opting for a, sort of an alternate reality world you might say, in presenting this mystery tale.The "bad" guy here is Dr. Werner Frederick, a German-American psychiatrist about to publish a book claiming that all the juvenile delinquents/criminals in America became that way by reading those awful "funny" books that glorify violence and bloodshed with their lurid covers and stories inside.The comics industry is up in arms and the man has been receiving death threats. Jack and Maggie are peripherally involved as their comic strip distribution company, started by Jack's father, has a few strips by companies targeted by Frederick and a few in the planning stages as well.Maggie has the idea to head him off with an Ann Landers/Dear Abby type column, one by a real psychiatrist, appealing to his enormous ego, with the proviso that he could not mention comics or his crusade in the column. And he wouldn't be expected to do all the work either, but an assistant, approved by him of course, write the general column and Frederick would simply do a pass over it to put his stamp, and name, on it. And it was working until Jack finds the good Doctor hanging from a rafter in his office, an apparent suicide. It didn't take long to figure out it was murder.There were any number of suspects: artists that had threatened his life, a young black man that came at him with a switchblade in his clinic, that Jack happened to be there to break up, bosses of the comics companies. Maggie wanted Jack to clear it up fast, he was the troubleshooter of the company, as it was bad for business.Another winner from Max Allan Collins. Though not exactly as his historical thrillers, it's similar in that it all really happened: the comics crusade, the Congressional hearings, the death threats(though none were ever carried out). His fictional counterparts are not meant to portray any real artists or writers, no business people, but a blend of the type of folks involved way back then.As always, the author's writing style is so easy to get lost in that one doesn't realize just how much work was done to deliver the book to the public. The section in the back talks about some of those real folks, the books he researched to give his mystery tale that ring of authenticity that's a hallmark of his work.Not to be missed.
    more
  • PopcornReads
    January 1, 1970
    Book Review & Giveaway: When the publisher approached me about reading and possibly reviewing Seduction of the Innocent by bestselling author Max Allan Collins, I took one look at the book cover and thought, “Oh no. This is sooo not my kind of book.” Luckily, I stepped back from that first impression long enough to read the concept, to recognize the author’s name, and to realize the cover was a perfect take on pulp fiction. A lot of people may recognize Max Allan Collins as the person who pe Book Review & Giveaway: When the publisher approached me about reading and possibly reviewing Seduction of the Innocent by bestselling author Max Allan Collins, I took one look at the book cover and thought, “Oh no. This is sooo not my kind of book.” Luckily, I stepped back from that first impression long enough to read the concept, to recognize the author’s name, and to realize the cover was a perfect take on pulp fiction. A lot of people may recognize Max Allan Collins as the person who penned Road to Perdition but he’s also written a long list of bestselling mysteries under his own name, and cozy mysteries as Barbara Allen. Then there is the subject of Seduction of the Innocent, and that’s what really sold me. The 1950’s were a time when the government saw Commies under every flower pot and censorship became an ugly threat to all kinds of creative people. This novel is all about censorship, couched in a fun hardboiled mystery. Read the rest of my review & enter to win a copy at http://popcornreads.com/?p=5491.
    more
  • Dave
    January 1, 1970
    Seduction of the Innocent is a title taken right from Frederic Wertham's book crusading against the evil influence of comic books. Dr. Wertham's book challenged the comic book industry for its depictions of violence, drug use, etc. and argued that it was a cause of juvenile delinquency. Wertham eventually appeared before Senator Kefauver's Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency. Collins' book is a fictionalized account of that time and of Wertham's fight with the comic book industry. It is a cleve Seduction of the Innocent is a title taken right from Frederic Wertham's book crusading against the evil influence of comic books. Dr. Wertham's book challenged the comic book industry for its depictions of violence, drug use, etc. and argued that it was a cause of juvenile delinquency. Wertham eventually appeared before Senator Kefauver's Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency. Collins' book is a fictionalized account of that time and of Wertham's fight with the comic book industry. It is a clever parody of Wertham, who in Collins' book is Dr. Werner Frederick. Collins takes the fictionalized story and expands it into a novel that is not only set in the fifties, but conveys the feel and tone of a hardboiled novel of the time. Jack Starr and his father's widow, Maggie, run a publisher that syndicates comic strips for newspapers across the country. One of the comic writers that they work with has volunteered to testify before the Subcommittee following Dr. Frederick. Jack, who is a private eye with a license to carry, has as part of his functions, getting his writers and artists out of trouble. So he accompanies the witness. The first part of the story is a little slow in getting going as it is concerned with the minutiae of who is who in the comic book industry. The second part really gets going with murder, mobsters, femme fatales, and bare-knuckle brawls. The book is great, although it varies a bit from the usual Collins' work.
    more
  • Johnny
    January 1, 1970
    I believe Max Allan Collins is most effective when he transports the reader to a shadow world between actual history and imaginative fictional mechanizations surrounding that history. And, I believe that publisher Charles Ardai of Hard Case Crime serves readers best when he finds risky ways of presenting worthy material. Both win gold medals (something of a pun, considering the classic pulp book line from which Ardai must have found some inspiration for his successful publishing venture) with Se I believe Max Allan Collins is most effective when he transports the reader to a shadow world between actual history and imaginative fictional mechanizations surrounding that history. And, I believe that publisher Charles Ardai of Hard Case Crime serves readers best when he finds risky ways of presenting worthy material. Both win gold medals (something of a pun, considering the classic pulp book line from which Ardai must have found some inspiration for his successful publishing venture) with Seduction of the Innocent. No, your eyes haven’t deceived you. Collins hasn’t slapped a forward on the spurious scholarship of the famous anti-comics crusader of the ‘50s and convinced Ardai to republish this offensive work. Rather, Collins has taken the actual title of the disgusting psychological perversion (I use examples from the original pop-psychological work and audio from Wertham’s own testimony before a U.S. Congressional committee in my Ethics in Games and Cinema class) and presented a pastiche of the original players in a fresh story. To be sure, Collins uses a literary Photo Shop to smudge the edges of the personalities and events. The famous cover of the head dripping blood from history becomes the actual cover of the Hard Case Crime book, a scantily-clad woman thrown from a tall building to her obvious death and an artist has been retained to etch comic-style introductions to each chapter in the spirit of the era. As a result, Dr. Wertham becomes Dr. Werner Frederick, William “Bill” Gaines (who publishes EC as Entertaining Comics after his father published Educational Comics) becomes Robert “Bob” Price (who publishes EF as Entertaining Funnies after his dad published Educational Funnies), the tragic Bob Wood of real life becomes Pete Pine, Al Feldstein (of Mad magazine fame) becomes Hal Feldman, and more. Part of the fun in this book (for me) was trying to guess the real-life figures before I reached the afterward and Collins separated the fact from the fiction. The infamous Congressional hearing was handled quite realistically, but even Collins’ fiction couldn’t match the sickening reality of the audio recorded for posterity. There is a cautionary tale here of society looking for a scapegoat, whether it’s comic books, rock ‘n roll music, Dungeons & Dragons, or video games. There is always a tendency to demonize the activities of the young as a threat on established society. Indeed, part of the beauty of this novel is that Collins has chosen a victim where few in comic fandom would lament his death, a vile reformer using sloppy and specious methodology to force his preconceived presumptions upon the public. As a result, there isn’t any need to “create” any “red herrings” for this mystery because there are enough legitimate suspects to go around. The villain/victim was reviled by nearly everyone who hadn’t been taken in by his nefarious aspersions. The best part of this mystery was the Collins cleverly wrapped even the murder into a comic book reference from the era. This was appropriate and foreshadowed the eventual revelation of the murderer. This was one of those occasions where I could see the train coming, but I still enjoyed its arrival. I found Seduction of the Innocent to be clever, fascinating, provocative, and easy-to-read. Unlike its namesake and “inspiration,” it is well-written and stimulating (although I suppose the first volume of this name did stimulate me to anger). It may be that my very high rating is tied to my love of comic books and comic book history. Those not disposed to like such might not be as thrilled as I am.
    more
  • Roger
    January 1, 1970
    Max Allan Collins' Seduction of the Innocent was fun, though not for the noir trappings or whodunnit it featured so much as for the interesting slice of history it concerns itself with. Necessary background: Seduction of the Innocent is also the title of a book that was published in 1954 by a Fredric Wertham. This book was a serious boondoggle of psychiatry-it equated juvenile delinquency with exposure to the questionable contents of some comic books. I use the term boondoggle as Wertham conveni Max Allan Collins' Seduction of the Innocent was fun, though not for the noir trappings or whodunnit it featured so much as for the interesting slice of history it concerns itself with. Necessary background: Seduction of the Innocent is also the title of a book that was published in 1954 by a Fredric Wertham. This book was a serious boondoggle of psychiatry-it equated juvenile delinquency with exposure to the questionable contents of some comic books. I use the term boondoggle as Wertham conveniently ignored that fact that in the fifties probably eight out of ten kids read "funny" books-yet there was no corresponding rise in delinquency. That did not slow Wertham down he managed to hook his star to this idea-Congressional hearings followed and the resultant witch hunt put a lot of people out of work. If this sounds a lot like the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) that persecuted a lot of Americans who may (or may not) have had Communist leanings during the Red Scare, you've hit the nail on the head. (Estes Kefauver participated in both sets of hearings.) Kefauver and his some of his fellow Senators make presumably unauthorized cameos in Collins' novel, as do (in slightly altered form) a lot of early comics greats, such as Wally Wood (here featured as Pete Pine.) Wertham makes an appearance as Werner Frederick. Collins' novel raises the specter of censorship in a way this is not heavy handed but is thought provoking. He also takes a bit of literary revenge on Wertham. If you're a fan of comics or just enjoy a good helping of noir you'll enjoy this book.
    more
  • Greg Trosclair
    January 1, 1970
    I love reading Max Allan Collins crime novels. I will miss the Jack Starr mysteries. All three books were excellent reads. This book was loosely based on the 50's comic book hysteria when Fredic Wertham wrote Suduction of the Innocent, spoke to Congress on the horrors that comic books perpetrated on the youth of America and the near collapse of the industry. Here the Fredic replacement, William Frederick is murdered and Jack Starr is on the case to make sure that none of the Starr Syndicates ass I love reading Max Allan Collins crime novels. I will miss the Jack Starr mysteries. All three books were excellent reads. This book was loosely based on the 50's comic book hysteria when Fredic Wertham wrote Suduction of the Innocent, spoke to Congress on the horrors that comic books perpetrated on the youth of America and the near collapse of the industry. Here the Fredic replacement, William Frederick is murdered and Jack Starr is on the case to make sure that none of the Starr Syndicates associates are involved in the murder. He rapidly runs through the list of suspects all based on creators from the comics scene of the 50's and solves the case. I love the Jack Starr character he is a very real person with foibles, he is an alcholic,enjoys his job and likes his life. His step mother and partner Maggie Starr is also a wonderful character and strong female. The suspects and side characters are all well researched and seem to have some basis in reality.I recommend this series and really anything written by Max Collins. Try his Quarry crime novels as they are some of my favorites in tis genre.
    more
  • Eddie Dobiecki
    January 1, 1970
    I wish I'd known this was a trilogy before starting this book, which is the third in a series (apparently, according to the afterword, the original publisher dropped it after book two). It touches on historical events, while carefully keeping things fictional: we have Wonderguy instead of Superman, Batwing and Songbird instead of Batman and Robin, Amazonia instead of Wonder Woman, and so on. It's written exactly like I have come to expect from Hard Case--hard-pulp that punches. Unfortunately, as I wish I'd known this was a trilogy before starting this book, which is the third in a series (apparently, according to the afterword, the original publisher dropped it after book two). It touches on historical events, while carefully keeping things fictional: we have Wonderguy instead of Superman, Batwing and Songbird instead of Batman and Robin, Amazonia instead of Wonder Woman, and so on. It's written exactly like I have come to expect from Hard Case--hard-pulp that punches. Unfortunately, as I've also come to expect from Hard Case, it could have benefited from the pen of a good editor. Little things for the most part, nitpicks not worth seriously complaining about. Except for one jarring reference to Perry White, which stuck out like a sore thumb amidst all the other not-quite-the-same names. Overall, though, while the ending was obvious from page one (or even the back jacket), it was a fun ride, and I plan to both read more Hard Case titles and find the first two in this particular series.
    more
  • Keith Walters
    January 1, 1970
    Well, this one pretty much has everything I like in one handsome little package:Great pulp Hard Case Crime cover?- CHECK.Great narrative by one of my favourite US authors, Max Allan Collins? - CHECK.A crime fiction meets the world of comic books theme (including some rather nice internal illustrations between chapters)? - CHECK, CHECK, CHECK.With a crafty tale wrought with revenge and the fear of the corruption of America's youth through comic books, Seduction of the Innocent, tells of the worry Well, this one pretty much has everything I like in one handsome little package:Great pulp Hard Case Crime cover?- CHECK.Great narrative by one of my favourite US authors, Max Allan Collins? - CHECK.A crime fiction meets the world of comic books theme (including some rather nice internal illustrations between chapters)? - CHECK, CHECK, CHECK.With a crafty tale wrought with revenge and the fear of the corruption of America's youth through comic books, Seduction of the Innocent, tells of the worry that a book 'Ravage of the Lambs' could stir by declaring the comic book world as one resposible for all of societies ills. Although set and based on the 1950's witch hunt against 'Tales from the Crypt' publisher EC Comics, it's a tale that's ripe for a modern read - whether it's comic books, movies or video games, there has and always will be areas of culture which some will choose to target as accountable for everything that goes wrong with young people in society.If you like your crime with a classic tint, Max Allan Collins is just the man to take you back in time.
    more
  • Mark Birchall
    January 1, 1970
    I love old American pulp and comic books so this was right up my street. Max Allan Collins is a prolific writer I have since discovered and almost a throwback to the pulp guys of the 30's only the two books I've read by him are much higher quality than some of the old stuff I have read. I am looking forward to more of max Collins books as it's exciting to discover a new (to me) author with a huge back catalogue you can get your teeth stuck into.
    more
  • Ed
    January 1, 1970
    Enjoyable, often funny hardboiled novel about the tumultuous 1950s comics books industry in America. Jack Starr is a private eye-troubleshooter for a large comics publisher. I'll try to get to the other titles in the series.
  • Rich Harvey
    January 1, 1970
    "Seduction of the Innocent" is based upon true-life events, and many of the characters are based on real people -- but the names, personalities, and events have been changed, amalgamated, extrapolated, and exaggerated to protect the innocent and overall fun. The author warns not to consider this a history lesson, but a novel of mystery and adventure.A quack psychologist blames comic books for juvenile delinquency, building a national brand-name for himself among people seeking a simple target to "Seduction of the Innocent" is based upon true-life events, and many of the characters are based on real people -- but the names, personalities, and events have been changed, amalgamated, extrapolated, and exaggerated to protect the innocent and overall fun. The author warns not to consider this a history lesson, but a novel of mystery and adventure.A quack psychologist blames comic books for juvenile delinquency, building a national brand-name for himself among people seeking a simple target to solve complex social problems. This engenders resentment among a cast of characters with self-interest in comic books' well-being -- artists, writers, publishers, editors, newspaper syndicates, distributors. When somebody decides to reenact a horror comic with the doctor's corpse, accusations fly in all directions.Collins' novel is fast-paced, with several colorful characters, and adding to the fun are Terry Beatty's chapter illustrations, inspired by panels from E.C. Comics (the real-life publishing house which published "Tales from the Crypt").I didn't try to guess the identity of the murderer. I decided to take the opposite approach and determine which character would LEAST likely have committed the crime. I am proud to say I was DEAD WRONG. The one character who (in my humble opinion) could not have dunnit was the killer! Looking back, the author's explanation (or, the lead detective's explanation) makes sense, and the clues were there and the culprit's alibi held up under scrutiny (unless you were REALLY paying attention). As a bonus, I've been a life-long comics fan, but never paid much attention to the E.C. Comics line-up ... now that I've read this novel, I'm curious to read a few.
    more
  • James Murphy
    January 1, 1970
    The comic books controversy of the 1950s is the backdrop for the Max Allan Collins mystery "Seduction of the Innocent." Jack Starr, troubleshooter for a comics syndicate and a licensed private investigator, is peripherally involved in the controversy because the syndicate he works for has dealings with two of the comic book publishers who have come under scrutiny for their supposedly lurid and violent products. Things get complicated when Dr. Werner Frederick, noted psychologist and anti-comic b The comic books controversy of the 1950s is the backdrop for the Max Allan Collins mystery "Seduction of the Innocent." Jack Starr, troubleshooter for a comics syndicate and a licensed private investigator, is peripherally involved in the controversy because the syndicate he works for has dealings with two of the comic book publishers who have come under scrutiny for their supposedly lurid and violent products. Things get complicated when Dr. Werner Frederick, noted psychologist and anti-comic book crusader, is found dead in his hotel room, an apparent suicide. Or, as Jack suspects, a murder victim. I found "Seduction of the Innocent" an enjoyable read, especially with the thinly-veiled references to actual comic books and their creators. If you enjoy a fast-paced mystery with an historical bent, check it out.
    more
  • Donald
    January 1, 1970
    My biggest beef with this book is that it was published under the Hard Case Crime label, and no crime takes place in the first half of the story! How is that "hard-boiled crime fiction"? What this book is is a fictionalized account of comic book trials in the 1950's. And reading the "Tip of the Fedora" after the story made me think that an actual non-fiction book about the same topic might actually be interesting! But this book just seemed like an author taking a subject of interest to him, and My biggest beef with this book is that it was published under the Hard Case Crime label, and no crime takes place in the first half of the story! How is that "hard-boiled crime fiction"? What this book is is a fictionalized account of comic book trials in the 1950's. And reading the "Tip of the Fedora" after the story made me think that an actual non-fiction book about the same topic might actually be interesting! But this book just seemed like an author taking a subject of interest to him, and trying to make a "crime" story out of it. Unsuccessfully, in my opinion.
    more
  • Daniel McTaggart
    January 1, 1970
    Collins writes the best historical mysteries. Check out his Heller series! Being a comic collector, and a student of the hobby, I really enjoyed the backdrop of the infamous Kefauver Committee and the anti-comics crusade of Frederic Wertham. That true story was full of fantastic characters who could have been in their own comic. Now wrap a fictional murder around it and you have a solid knucklethumper of a read.
    more
  • Brandon Montgomery
    January 1, 1970
    It's a fun mystery that really doesn't become a mystery until the last half of the book. It has the hallmarks you'd look for in an old-timey hard boiled novel, and the backdrop is certainly novel, but you've got to deduct a star for the eye-rollingly bad jokes ("That's ghoulish" "That's goulash") and the underlying sexism that, unfortunately, plagues most HCC releases.
    more
  • Mark Kosobucki
    January 1, 1970
    Fun crime story that spins true elements from the 1950s paranoia about horror and crime comic books being a poison on America's youth. Doesn't flow as well as Collins' "Quarry" stories, (IMO) but still entertaining. Definitely worth reading if you enjoy classic horror comics and pulp crime stories.
    more
  • Vicente Viejo Malo
    January 1, 1970
    Entre otras cosas, este libro está muy bien porque con él he aprendido fue Tarpe Mills.
  • Gerwin Wallace
    January 1, 1970
    It was a good book, but nothing too spectacular. A pulp novel that was fun to read, but nothing that really stands out to me. Collins has a mega-hit on his hands with his Quarry series, and I make sure to read all of those as soon as they are released. This one deals with comic book censorship in the 1950's and a convoluted murder plot that gets solved by our intrepid heroes. Like I said, fun read.
    more
  • Brian
    January 1, 1970
    It was in the author's afterword and acknowledgements that I learned that the heroes of Seduction of the Innocent, Max Allan Collins' roman à clef about the comic book controversy started by Dr. Fredric Wertham with his 1954 book of the same name, had been featured in two previous novels. With this third book, Collins says, his originally envisioned trilogy was complete. Not that he wouldn't mind writing more books about Jack and Maggie Starr, if readers asked for them. How many readers that wou It was in the author's afterword and acknowledgements that I learned that the heroes of Seduction of the Innocent, Max Allan Collins' roman à clef about the comic book controversy started by Dr. Fredric Wertham with his 1954 book of the same name, had been featured in two previous novels. With this third book, Collins says, his originally envisioned trilogy was complete. Not that he wouldn't mind writing more books about Jack and Maggie Starr, if readers asked for them. How many readers that would take is anyone's guess. He admits, however, that the publisher of the first two decided against the third, so I'm guessing it wouldn't be many.Seduction comes to us thanks not to readers but to Hard Case Crime. Hard Case Crime seeks to bring back the pulp excitement of the paperback original, both by reprinting older works and by publishing newer ones. Without HCC I may never have discovered Michael Crichton's John Lange books. I like HCC and I like their lurid covers. And I say good for them that they allowed Collins a venue for Seduction. Even if his original publisher probably wasn't crazy.Fortunately this trilogy is thematic rather than narrative; I don't think I missed much not having read the previous two. All are centered on various controversies in the comics world: who really owned Superman, the Al Capp/Hal Fisher fued, and now Dr. Wertham's crusade against comic books that ultimately resulted in the creation of the self-censoring Comics Code Authority.Fredric Wertham is here named Werner Frederick, and fans of comic book history will have fun matching real people and titles to those in this book. Mad, for instance, is Craze, and Bill Gaines is Bob Price; Batman becomes Batwing; and so on. Collins tells us that his caricatures are ultimately fictional, but at least in Wertham's case, the representation is clearly wish-fulfillment as well, as Collins takes one pot-shot after another at the good doctor."Good" doctor? Within the last couple of years, a study was made of Wertham's research and scientific rigor as it related to comic books. Let's just say that Wertham, it seems, took a few shortcuts on his way to his conclusion that comic books should be removed from the hands of children under 15. But let's also "remember" that Wertham established the Lafargue Clinic in Harlem, where he specialized in helping black teenagers. Collins reluctantly cops to this fact of Wertham's good nature, but he can't resist undermining it: at one point in the book, in a scene set in the clinic, he has Werner look about "dismissively." In his afterwod, he admits that Wertham "made important contributions to the Civil Rights Movement." These, however, he says, are "understandably" overshadowed by what he had to say...about comic books. But he's right: the naked quest for money will always trump a social conscience. Especially when writers like Collins fixate on the one and "dismiss" the other.I'll be honest and say that I don't view Wertham as a villain even regarding the comics controversy. In fact, I think many (including Collins) who have read Wertham's book have missed the point entirely. I think maybe Wertham did. The point isn't that comics are (or were) so awful, but that society needs to take a hard look at itself and its values and how it promotes those values. This, to take an example ripped, as they say, from today's headlines, is exactly what cartoonist Joe Sacco has done in this strip (http://goo.gl/DXHYdw) about the Charlie Hebdo killings. I applaud Sacco and I applaud Wertham, both of whom are telling us that real freedom comes with a price, that of responsibility. And that things are never quite so simple as the knee-jerk crowd would have us believe.One of the funny things about Collins' book -- which is certainly sometimes intentionally funny, but this isn't one of those times -- is the way Collins takes Wertham to task for trying to manipulate people into seeing things a certain way while all the while doing exactly the same thing to his readers. The action is set in the 50s, but the heroes are plucked straight from our own 20-teens, being just as liberal and open-minded and tolerant (even of the Mob, though not, of course, of domestic abuse) as they can be. Jack Starr is Mike Hammer, but decidedly soft-boiled. And yet it's all part of that funny brand of liberalism that tells us women are men's equals, so long as they're beautiful, stacked, and sex-crazed.Anyway, the story is about what happens when one of the players in the comic imbroglio gets murdered. It's lightly written, a fast read, and kind of fun if you're into comic books. But it IS a crime novel: don't let it mug you.
    more
  • Soho_Black
    January 1, 1970
    I've been a fan of Hard Case Crime almost since their inception in 2005. It helped that one of their early books was a novella from one of my favourite authors, namely Stephen King's "The Colorado Kid", but I also love the hard-boiled style of thriller they specialise in. After just 8 years in existence, Max Allan Collins' "Seduction of the Innocent" already marks their 110th release and with stories like this, it's no wonder they're thriving.Loosely based on real life events from the 1950s, "Se I've been a fan of Hard Case Crime almost since their inception in 2005. It helped that one of their early books was a novella from one of my favourite authors, namely Stephen King's "The Colorado Kid", but I also love the hard-boiled style of thriller they specialise in. After just 8 years in existence, Max Allan Collins' "Seduction of the Innocent" already marks their 110th release and with stories like this, it's no wonder they're thriving.Loosely based on real life events from the 1950s, "Seduction of the Innocent" tells a story around a group of comic book publishers, who are being attacked for their product being inappropriate. Here, the "innocent" are a generation of young people being corrupted by that material and the "seduction" is that practised by the comic books themselves. In both a book he has written and in a Congressional hearing, noted psychiatrist Dr. Werner Frederick claims that comic books are leading their audience into the world of violence, crime and sex depicted in their chosen reading material, which can only be having a negative effect on the individuals and on society as a whole.This attack threatens to result in a ban on comic books, which would affect the entire industry. Publishers, artists and distributors with Mob connections would lose out, as well as the audience themselves. This means that when Dr. Frederick is found murdered, there is a long list of potential subjects. Jack Starr, part owner of the Starr publishing house, happens to have a Private Investigator's license, so he is asked by his stepmother and boss, former showgirl Maggie Starr, to look into the murder, as she is aware of the repercussions should someone in the industry be involved.I've always loved the laid back writing style of the hard boiled crime thrillers and Max Allan Collins, on this evidence, is one of the finest proponents of the art. No matter what is happening, be it a fist fight on a staircase or a business meeting in the Starr offices, the style remains consistent. Although it's a laid back writing style that never gets caught up in the excitement itself, this consistency helps keep the book flowing and even when the action might drop off, the style means the pages turn as quickly as when there is plenty happening.The descriptive work is excellent here as well. As befitting a story based around the comic book industry, the writing is very visual. When Jack is taken in by a hood with a hat "on the snazzy side, a light green porkpie with a darker green-and-red feather", you can almost picture the hat and the bulge of his gun, which is also nicely described. Facial features tend to be a little less loosely described, but are vivid enough to give you a decent picture of the characters, especially on a couple of occasions when there is a naked female standing in front of Jack.The humour prevalent in such novels is also present here and works wonderfully well, again in keeping with the basic plot. It's not hard to picture Jack, our narrator, turning to the reader with an eyebrow raised as he comes out with comments like "Can you boil a battle?" or "I said I did some of my best work on couches." The style always reminds me of the voiceovers in TV shows like "The Wonder Years" and, whilst they're not always played for laughs, there is a dry humour ever present.Unusually for a crime thriller, the artwork is worth a mention. There are some excellent comic book style drawings illustrating the chapter pages and one section which drops briefly into comic book style for a couple of pages. It's an extra touch that wouldn't have harmed the book had it been missing, but one which helps remind the reader what the story is based on. It's often the tiny details that can turn a very good book into a great one and here it rounds out the whole package very nicely indeed.If you've ever enjoyed the hard boiled crime thrillers of the likes of Raymond Chandler, even just a little, you're likely to love "Seduction of the Innocent". It's perfectly written, hitting all the right notes in terms of atmosphere, characterisation and plot and I loved it. So well is it written that, even when you know who was guilty, there's still plenty here to make it worthy of a second reading, which makes it pretty reasonable value.This review may also appear, in whole or in part, under my name at any or all of www.ciao.co.uk, www.thebookbag.co.uk, www.goodreads.com, www.amazon.co.uk and www.dooyoo.co.uk
    more
  • Erik Carl son
    January 1, 1970
    I was working for a rare book dealer when I came across a volume of the 1955 U.S. Congress Committee on the Judiciary Volume of Juvenile Delinquency: Comic Books, Motion Pictures, Obscene and Pornographic Materials, and Television Programs. It was a volume (some 1,000 pages) of committee transcriptions dealing with how these monstrosities will infect American youth like some horrible drug. It sought to curb the temptation set up by the comic industry by making crime and evil so damn seductive. F I was working for a rare book dealer when I came across a volume of the 1955 U.S. Congress Committee on the Judiciary Volume of Juvenile Delinquency: Comic Books, Motion Pictures, Obscene and Pornographic Materials, and Television Programs. It was a volume (some 1,000 pages) of committee transcriptions dealing with how these monstrosities will infect American youth like some horrible drug. It sought to curb the temptation set up by the comic industry by making crime and evil so damn seductive. For impact, there are transcripts from purveyors, priests, parents, and victims.My favorite bit comes from the Code of Comics Magazine Association of America (adopted 26 Oct. 1954):“The comic-book medium, having come of age on the American cultural scene, must measure up to its responsibilities…To make a positive contribution to contemporary life , the industry must seek new areas for developing sound, wholesome entertainment.”Of course transcipts continue to allude to an American tradition of decency and fairness. Since most of these Senators are from Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas, and this is pre-60′s Civil Rights, I was never sure whose vision of American tradition they wanted preserved. I can make good solid guesses though.Anyway, when I saw that Max Allan Collins was releasing his third Jack and Maggie Starr novel through Hard Case Crime I was pretty damned thrilled. When it was revealed that it would be a fictional attack on Dr. Frederick Wertham (the McCarthy of Comic Books) I was down-right ecstatic. Wertham firmly believed that he could save the world from the savagery of comic-books and did his best to see the industry crippled. He would save The Children by waging a war on a magazine stands of filth threatening to destroy a generation of adolescents. So, an imaginary comeuppence at the hands of master story teller Max Allan Collins seemed like the best possible way to spend a few hours.And it was.Collins’ original fiction is a blast and I cannot speak enough about my love of his work. Quarry and Ms Tree are two of my all time favorite characters. His CSI tie-in novels are better than the shows. Hell, I even read the novelization of Waterworld because his name was on it. But his historical fiction rises above ‘em all. I find them so in-depth, well researched, and well-crafted, that I wish history teachers took such care and love for the eras they talk about. Sure, I know that this is fiction. I’m not pretending much of this is real, but I know that he creates such a gorgeous overview of the time that it drips with realism.The most shocking part though, is the care that Collins takes to create Dr. Werner Frederick (the fictionalized Wertham) as a victim. Collins recognizes that in order to have a true crime the reader must give at least one care about the victim’s untimely death: Otherwise, most of the comic community would probably cheer, applaud, and stop reading midway through. Collins’ job, to make a victim of an industry’s greatest nemesis (until Tipper Gore of course) is nigh impossible. Especially considering that whenever the Starrs are on the page all attention turns to them (I’m convinced he could write a Russian play with just these two bantering and I’d read it). Not only does Frederick’s death need to mean something, but it should also seem more important than the charisma of the protagonists. It is the moment when Dr. Frederick is in his inner-city office confronting a boy with a knife that Collins wields his power as an author. It is a moment which highlights the fact that as misguided and destructive as Wertham was, he was still human.Seduction of the Innocent is an absolute must-read for a fan of comic history, wise-cracking investigators, and fans of historical fiction.
    more
  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    "Comic Books are corrupting Americas youth! Or so the esteemed Dr. Werner Frederick would have people believe - people like the Congressman holding hearings on banning violent crime and horror "funny books". And when the crusade provokes a most un-funny murder, Jack Starr - comics syndicate troubleshooter - has no shortage of suspects. Was it the knife-wielding juvenile delinquent or the naked seductress? Perhaps a frustrated publisher or an outraged cartoonist. Or was it a comic book reader...? "Comic Books are corrupting America´s youth! Or so the esteemed Dr. Werner Frederick would have people believe - people like the Congressman holding hearings on banning violent crime and horror "funny books". And when the crusade provokes a most un-funny murder, Jack Starr - comics syndicate troubleshooter - has no shortage of suspects. Was it the knife-wielding juvenile delinquent or the naked seductress? Perhaps a frustrated publisher or an outraged cartoonist. Or was it a comic book reader...?Inspired by the real-life 1950s witch-hunt against "Tales from the Crypt" publisher EC Comics, SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT pulls back the curtain for an insider´s view of the history of comics and features more than a dozen brand new illustrations in the classic EC style be comic book legend Terry Beatty."Soweit der Klappentext. An diesem Buch klingt einfach alles richtig: ein neo-Pulp Noir-Krimi, angesiedelt räumlich in Manhattan und zeitgeschichtlich vor dem Hintergrund der Hetze Dr. Werthams gegen die Comics in den 50igern, die angeblich die Jugend verderben durch die "freizügige" Darstellung von Sex & Gewalt; Das ganze aus der Feder Max Allan Collins, der von einigen als Mickey Spillane des 21. Jahrhunderts gefeiert wird. Entsprechend groß waren meine Erwartungen an diesen Hard Case Crime. Und um das Maß voll zu machen: Jedes Kapitel hat eine Illustration der Comic-Legende Terry Beatty vorangestellt bekommen, die dieser eigens für dieses Buch im Stile der alten EC-Comics gefertigt hat! (Zwei der Zeichnungen habe ich als "additional Images" eingestellt, um die Lust zu steigern)Scharfzüngig und witzig erzählt Max Allan Collins, wie den Comics der Prozess gemacht wird, mit viel Liebe zu und Detailwissen über die Geschichte der funny books, die unter EC eher bloody waren. Wer allerdings - und nicht zu Unrecht - einen Krimi erwartet, dürfte nach den ersten 100 leichenlosen Seiten langsam entnervt sein. Schließlich kommt es dann doch zu dem Mord, der das Buch zu einem Krimi macht. Aber was für ein Elend, alles weitere trägt dann zur Aufklärung der Tat kaum bei, und schließlich kommt es zu einem absurden Showdown - Achtung, Spoiler !!!! - bei dem der Täter vor laufenden Fernsehkameras von unserem "Helden" gnadenlos und ohne mit der Wimper zu zucken exekutiert wird - und das, obwohl die Polizei in Person des leitenden Ermittlers anwesend ist.- Spoiler Ende -Nein, als Krimi hat mich SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT überhaupt nicht überzeugt. Die Handlung ist vergleichsweise doch eher fad, und den Charme, den das Buch hat, gewinnt es einzig vor dem Hintergrund der popkulturellen Geschichte der Comics.Collins hat seine Hausaufgaben gemacht und Dr. Werthams SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT und einige weitere comicgeschichtlich Quellen studiert. Aber seine Lesefrüchte bestimmen den Gang der Handlung, und auch wenn er im Nachwort darauf hinweist, dass nicht alles im Krimi auf Fakten beruht, so hat er sich für meinen Geschmack trotzdem zu sehr auf den zeit- und kulturgeschichtlichen Hintergrund fixiert und dabei das Genre Krimi sträflich vernachlässigt. Vor allem das flaue Ende sorgt für eine Enttäuschung und mithin zu Punktabzug.2 1/2 Sterne für SEDUCTION als Krimi, den 3 Stern gibt es, weil ich Comics und ihre Geschichte liebe.
    more
  • Craig Childs
    January 1, 1970
    Part historical novel. Part alternate history. All noir.This is an odd duck, for sure. The first half of the book is an historical novel, set against a backdrop of real characters and real events, even if some of the names have been changed. Midway through, however, a murder of a significant historical person is committed (which did not happen in real life) and from that point on, the book becomes a sort of alternate history where we get to imagine how these real-life characters would have react Part historical novel. Part alternate history. All noir.This is an odd duck, for sure. The first half of the book is an historical novel, set against a backdrop of real characters and real events, even if some of the names have been changed. Midway through, however, a murder of a significant historical person is committed (which did not happen in real life) and from that point on, the book becomes a sort of alternate history where we get to imagine how these real-life characters would have reacted. Hard Case Crime has a penchant for unearthing off-beat pulp novels with interesting back stories. With Seduction of the Innocent, author Max Allan Collins wanted to complete his trilogy of roman a clef mystery novels set in the Golden Age of Comics. The first novel (A Killing in Comics) dealt with the artists who created Superman and how they were cheated of their profits. The second novel (Strip for Murder) was set against the backdrop of a famous feud between two popular comic artists. Since the previous publisher dropped the series after two installments, HCC stepped in and published this final volume about the government's crusade against violent and erotic comics in the 1950's. I suspect the roman a clef aspects would be very fun to any reader familiar with comics and comic writers of the era. Collins both skewers the industry for its excesses but also idealizes the artists as pioneers of a misunderstood art. It's obvious he wanted to play up the more colorful behind-the-scenes anecdotes. Unfortunately, since I wasn't in on the joke, I found it difficult to care about some of the minor characters or understand their relevance to the story at large. I was saavy enough at least to figure out some of the code: Americana=DC Comics. Wonder Guy=Superman. Batwing=Batman. Amazonia=Wonder Woman. Craze=Mad Magazine. Collins is nice enough to provide an afterword that separates the fact from the fiction, but be warned--Don't read it before you finish the book! I made this mistake, and it ruined the identity of the murderer.As a noir thriller, this book falls a little flat. The characters became caricatures, by necessity. I didn't buy the motive of the murderer, and I didn't like the villain-conveniently-confesses climax. It was a fast read--and I learned more about comics than I ever thought I'd know--but this is not one of Hard Case Crime's best offerings.
    more
  • Mike
    January 1, 1970
    "Seduction of the Innocent" by Max Allan Collins (he who gave us "Road to Perdition") is a "ripped from the (old) headlines" style of pulp fiction noir about the persecution and prosecution of the comic book industry in the McCarthy era.What I didn't know until I was nearly finished with the book is that this is the third book in a series with the same main characters--Jack and Maggie Starr (comic exec/detective and hot stepmom/boss). "Hard Case Crime" only published this last book of the trilog "Seduction of the Innocent" by Max Allan Collins (he who gave us "Road to Perdition") is a "ripped from the (old) headlines" style of pulp fiction noir about the persecution and prosecution of the comic book industry in the McCarthy era.What I didn't know until I was nearly finished with the book is that this is the third book in a series with the same main characters--Jack and Maggie Starr (comic exec/detective and hot stepmom/boss). "Hard Case Crime" only published this last book of the trilogy, however. And there's no real overarching story arc, so I didn't come in on the final act of a story that was building for three books.The first two books are..."A Killing in Comics" from 2007 and "Strip for Murder" in 2008.I'm a fan of "old school" detective novels, and this one definitely qualifies. I've read several of the author's other works. I like them, but find his style hard to get excited about. The author never really "grabs" me with his work. It's well-written, for the most part, and the plots are competently executed. Yet they lack a certain gravitas overall. And I suppose that I would have liked to see a bit more than a dollop here and there of sex and violence. I'm guessing the problem in this book is that while I did read comics many years ago (mostly in the 1980's), I was never a interested in comics and comic strips from the 1950's and 1960's. The historical details of the comic book industry might entice hardcore fans, but I'm not one of them. So playing the "who is this character based on" game didn't thrill me like I think it was supposed to. Jack and Maggie Starr make for an interesting detective "team." The fact the Maggie is pretty much the TV show "Mad Men's" Christina Hendricks helped with me imagining the story. But the whole "detective works for hot stepmom" thing wasn't explored enough for me. There's a lot of subtext there that went largely unexplored.I spent most of "Seduction of the Innocent" waiting for something "more" to happen, but it didn't. Sure, there was a murder and some sex and a few gangsters and a couple of action sequences. But I didn't feel like that was enough to make me want to devour the rest of the novel. I gave "Seduction of the Innocent" three stars for being a competent, if not terribly deep, "old school" detective novel. But I didn't enjoy it enough to pursue the other two books in the series.
    more
  • MB Taylor
    January 1, 1970
    I bought this book for two reasons: it was published by Hard Case Crime and the title. I've bought many Hard Case Crime books; sometimes due to the to covers, sometimes due to the author, and sometimes for the back cover blurb. (I've even read a few of them.) This may the first I bought for the title.Seduction of the Innocent is, of course, the title of Fredric Wertham's book that spearheaded the attack on comics in the mid-50s.Collins' book is a murder mystery set in New York in the 50s, popula I bought this book for two reasons: it was published by Hard Case Crime and the title. I've bought many Hard Case Crime books; sometimes due to the to covers, sometimes due to the author, and sometimes for the back cover blurb. (I've even read a few of them.) This may the first I bought for the title.Seduction of the Innocent is, of course, the title of Fredric Wertham's book that spearheaded the attack on comics in the mid-50s.Collins' book is a murder mystery set in New York in the 50s, populated with both fictionalized and invented characters involved in the comic book industry of the times.It's also the third of three books starring Jack and Maggie Starr, something I didn't discover until I read the author's note at the end of the book. Unfortunately I read this before finishing the book. Don't do this, it contains a huge spoiler.The book is a fun read, but I didn't get the feeling that what I was reading was much like what was really happened. Even so, I've added the two previous books about Jack and Maggie, A Killing in Comics and Strip for Murder, to my "to buy" list.
    more
  • Nina (Death, Books, and Tea)
    January 1, 1970
    Review: It’s 1950 America, and renowned psychologist Doctor Werner Frederick is trying to get the country to realise how comic books are corrupting America’s youth. Then, somebody gets murdered. Jack Starr, thr trouble shooter for Starr Syndicate, and this murder is most definitely trouble for the comic business.It’s really interesting that the murder doesn’t happen until halfway through the whole thing. I like this-it gives you time to meet everyone who might be a suspect, and it means that whe Review: It’s 1950 America, and renowned psychologist Doctor Werner Frederick is trying to get the country to realise how comic books are corrupting America’s youth. Then, somebody gets murdered. Jack Starr, thr trouble shooter for Starr Syndicate, and this murder is most definitely trouble for the comic business.It’s really interesting that the murder doesn’t happen until halfway through the whole thing. I like this-it gives you time to meet everyone who might be a suspect, and it means that when the murder does happen, we’re in the same position as Jack and it’s more fun to guess with him.The murder is clever in that as well as being a general clever method, it also comes from a comic book.I liked hte characters. All their possible motives were clear, and there were always new things coming to light about them. The authors notes tell you that they are blends of real people and their attitudes (as in, actual, real, specific people) and they fit the tone of Seduction of the Innocent well.The author’s notes also tell you that these events are based on real life ones too. So much research must have gone into this, and it definitely paid off. The mood and tone are perfect.Overall: Sorry about there not being much to this review. Strength 3 tea to a mystery that wasn’t really complex, but a good read, especially for those who are into the time period.
    more
  • Gloria Feit
    January 1, 1970
    The last volume in this trilogy on the comic book industry is set in the 1950’s, when the furor over the rising amount of crime, violence and sex rose to a roaring peak, highlighted by a Senate committee’s hearing and ending with the establishment of a “Decency Code.” It brings back the dynamic duo, Jack and Maggie Starr, owners of a distribution company of comic strips to newspapers. The story is a loosely disguised history of the leaders and events surrounding the industry at the time, and is The last volume in this trilogy on the comic book industry is set in the 1950’s, when the furor over the rising amount of crime, violence and sex rose to a roaring peak, highlighted by a Senate committee’s hearing and ending with the establishment of a “Decency Code.” It brings back the dynamic duo, Jack and Maggie Starr, owners of a distribution company of comic strips to newspapers. The story is a loosely disguised history of the leaders and events surrounding the industry at the time, and is based, to a great extent, on the crusade led by Dr. Frederic Wertham, portrayed by Dr. Werner Frederick in the novel.The author, a long-time scripter of the Dick Tracy newspaper comic strip, certainly knows his subject and the players, and gives an excellent rendition of the real-life story, while writing a murder mystery as only he can, or his mentor, Mickey Spillane did. Adding spice are illustrations heading each chapter, created by Terry Beatty (Batman, The Phantom).Max Alan Collins, among his many specialties, latches on to an historical event or subject, and then creates a fictionalized story that grasps the reader’s attention throughout. “Seduction” is no exception, and is recommended.
    more
  • Solitairerose
    January 1, 1970
    Seduction of the Innocent is a murder mystery set in the world of comic books during the mid 50’s when Congress actually got into the business of finding out if funny books caused juvenile delinquency. Max Allen Collins was the first author I read in that genre, and I have been a long-time fan, so I was excited when I heard he would be writing about a subject I knew a lot about. Collin’s is a great storyteller, with a crisp style and is able to put together solid books in the genre. Seduction of Seduction of the Innocent is a murder mystery set in the world of comic books during the mid 50’s when Congress actually got into the business of finding out if funny books caused juvenile delinquency. Max Allen Collins was the first author I read in that genre, and I have been a long-time fan, so I was excited when I heard he would be writing about a subject I knew a lot about. Collin’s is a great storyteller, with a crisp style and is able to put together solid books in the genre. Seduction of the innocent uses ALMOST real historical people into the story, and as a comic book fan, it’s fun to piece together who each character is supposed to represent. The characters are interesting, so much so that the actual murder doesn’t happen until halfway through the novel, but as a reader, I was fine with that since the characters are interesting.Plot-wise, there’s nothing new here, which is fine. The players are introduced, their motives are explained and our main character sorts through to find out what happened. The solution was clever, but in a lot of ways, the plot simply served to give us the cast of characters and play around with the events in comic book publishing in 1954-55. A good afternoon read that felt like a very good episode of a detective TV series.
    more
Write a review