Mark Foran

Created by W.T. Ballard (Willis Todhunter Ballard)
Pseudonyms include P. D. Ballard, Harrison Hunt, Neil MacNeil, John Shepherd

“Mark Foran, Newest of the Private Ops–out-Harpers Harper.”
— the front cover blurb for the 1967 edition

Los Angeles gumshoe MARK FORAN, plagued as he is with an “oversize bump of curiousity” appeared in only one recorded case, 1967’s paperback original, Murder Las Vegas Style, but it’s a good one. It follows him as he packs up his toothbrush and revolver and heads to Las Vegas, its mob-run casinos and the sun-baked desert that surrounds it, on behalf of a retired Army colonel.

Seems there’s an inheritance involved, but the out-of-town gumshoe soon finds himself caught up in what at first appears to be a murder/suicide of a beautiful woman.

And then the bodies start to pile up, and there are some serious attempts to wipe Mark off the board. This is no lost classic, and in no way does Mark “out-Harper Harper,” as the blurb promises (it’s not that kind of book), but if you’re looking for fast-moving private eye action and all the juicy goodness of pulp, you could do a lot worse. The author knows what he’s doing.

One of the original Black Mask Boys, author W.T. Ballard also created private eyes Hollywood trouble shooter Bill Lennox, way back in the days of Black Mask, as well as detective duo Tony Costaine and Bert McCall in a string of paperback originals for Fawcett Gold Medal in the late fifties and early sixties.


  • Murder Las Vegas Style is neo-Black Mask; a beautifully written private eye novel that Raymond Chandler would have enjoyed. This one is highly recommended.
    — Stephen Mertz (Winter 1979, The Armchair Detective)



  • One and Done
    Some great private eyes who’ve appeared in only one novel.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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