Created by Carter Brown
Pseudonym of Alan Geoffrey Yates; other pseudonyms include Peter Carter Brown, Peter Carter-Brown, Raymond Glenning, Sinclair MacKellar, Dennis Sinclair and Paul Valdez
RICK LARRY HOLMAN was a private eye working in Hollywood in a series of novels written by prolific Australian author Carter Brown back in the sixties and seventies, and boy, does it show! Rick knows everything there is to know about the glitz and glamor of Tinseltown in that era, and the stuff in the shadows that nobody wants to admit to.
And so cool cat Rick prowls the streets of Hollywood, keeping an eye out for any cases that may come his way. Usually he doesn’t have to look very hard — trouble always seems to find him. Even on his worst day, there’s usually someone out there in the movie biz in need of Rick’s services. In desperate need.
Which is why Rick thinks of himself as an “industrial consultant.” Most of the time his clients are Hollywood bigshots of some kind or another: producers, actors, directors, etc. — in other words, people with more money and fame than common sense. Sex and drugs are often involved, and blackmail, extortion and large sums of money are frequently the result.
Eventually they come knocking on Rick’s door. Someone got their head caved in, someone has a photo they weren’t supposed to, or someone or something went missing. Maybe, just maybe, Rick can put it right…
Rick, for his part, doesn’t differ too drastically from the average private eye paperback from the 1960s and 70s, although at times the books do at times suggest a slightly earlier era, recalling more fifties-centric eyes like Shell Scott and Honey West in their smirky sexuality, and the slap dash plots and frenetic pacing recall nothing so much as the detective pulps of the forties.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The series as a whole takes a satisfyingly traditional approach to storytelling, and the pedal-to-the-metal plotting more than makes up for the author’s penchant for glossing over assorted plot holes.
The “saviour of blackmailed film starlets” (as one wag put it) appeared in over thirty books, and he wasn’t even necessarily Carter Brown’s most popular creation — that’s probably Los Angeles county deputy Al Wheeler, Big Apple gumshoe Danny Boyd, or maybe even clothing-challenged private eye Mavis Seiditz. Thing is, the prolific Brown created so many, uh, interesting series characters over the years, it’s not always easy to raise a single character above the rest — they all have a special place in the hearts of their fans, who tend to lean towards the more pulpy side of crime fiction from that era.
Brown’s other pseudonyms include Peter Carter Brown, Peter Carter-Brown, Raymond Glenning, Sinclair MacKellar, Dennis Sinclair and Paul Valdez, and his books flooded the market, particularly in the Commonwealth and France. I certainly saw a ton of them in Canada. Like most of his books, the Holman series hasen’t aged particularly well, and nowadays I think they’re mostly known (and highly prized by collectors) for their Robert McGinnis covers (he did almost 100 Carter Brown covers).
- “Earlier this year I was able to acquire a bunch of Carter Brown paperbacks for a fantastically cheap price. To be honest I was mostly interested in the cover art by Robert McGinnis which have become collectibles all on their own. But I happen to be one of those people who can’t stand to have an unread book in their house… Parts of this novel were exactly what I expected: a good mix of characters, some innocent, some dumb, some downright slimy, lots of titillating tease scenes, and oozing 1960’s culture. At first it seemed to be a straight-forward crime story…But in the end it morphed one more time into a twist ending that I didn’t see coming but endeared the character of Rick Holman to me quite nicely.
Happily, I still have about 20 more of these Carter Brown novels with McGinnis cover art to make my way through and I shall look forward to them for quick reads when the mood strikes me.”
— Benjamin Thomas on Zelda (October 2016, GoodReads)
- Zelda (1961) | Buy this book
- Murder in the Harlem Club (1962, aka “Murder in the Key Club”) | Buy this book
- A Murder Among Us (1962; aka “The Murderer Among Us”)
- Blonde on the Rocks (193)
- The Jade-Eyed Jinx (1963; aka “The Jade-Eyed Jungle”)
- The Ballad of Loving Jenny (1963; aka “The White Bikini”)
- The Wind-Up Doll (1963)
- The Never-Was Girl (1964)
- Murder Is a Package Deal (1964)
- Who Killed Dr. Sex? (1964)
- Nude-With a View (1965)
- The Girl From Outer Space (1965)
- Blonde on a Broomstick (1966)
- Play Now-Kill Later (1966)
- No Tears From the Widow (1966)
- The Deadly Kitten (1967)
- No Time for Leola (1967)
- Die Anytime After Tuesday! (1969)
- The Flagelator (1969)
- The Streaked-Blonde Slave (1969)
- A Good Year for Dwarfs? (1970)
- The Hang-Up Kid (1970)
- Where Did Charity Go? (1970)
- The Coven (1971)
- The Invisible Flamini (1971)
- The Pornbroker (1972)
- The Master (1973)
- Negative in Blue (1974)
- The Star-Crossed Lover (1974)
- Phreak-Out! (1975)
- Ride the Roller Coaster (1975)
- Remember Maybell? (1976)
- See It Again Sam (1979)
- The Phantom Lady (1980)
- The Swingers (1980)