Created by Brad Lang
“There are times when I think that being a private detective has nothing to do with brains or talent or skill.”
— Crockett muses on his profession in The Perdition Express
Imagine a hipper, younger Rockford. Less political and definitely more hard-boiled than Moses Wine; less Hefneresque than Goulart’s John Easy.
FRED CROCKETT is the young hip, swinging, long-haired and very 70s-era dick in this short-lived (three paperback) series by Leisure that was obviously trying to cash in on the Men’s Adventure boom of the time.
When we first meet him, he’s 28, 6’2″ and clocking in at 180, and has been in the P.I. racket for six years, working in a thinly disguised college town based on Ann Arbor, Michigan, which allows him plenty of contact with the troubled kids that populate the books.
Fred had a few rough spots in his youth himself, referring to being a runaway at one point, but somehow he hung in there and scored an undergraduate degree in Political Science, and was, for a while, a police officer, before eventually earning a master’s degree in Criminal Science.
Never really a team player, he soon left the police department to hang out his own shingle in an old musty building. His tiny office sports some battered furniture, a poster of the Rolling Stones and an answering machine.
He’s no hippie, although he does smoke pot on occasion. But he does plenty of more typical things for a private eye of that era: he carries a .38 in a shoulder holster, drives the obligatory muscle car (in his case, a 1971 Pontiac GTO), hangs out at a local bar with plenty of colourful characters, and lives alone.
An interesting series that aimed for something a little more nuanced than most Men’s Adventure books, and Crockett makes for a sardonic and entertaining narrator of his own escapades, but perhaps too nuanced–the series only lasted three books.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
“I came up with the idea of a tough detective who was a former hippie AND an ex-cop,” says the author. “Yes, it was a stretch, but I wanted a character who was a liberal and a tough guy, too. After two years of writing and then searching for a publisher, Crockett was finally born in 1976.”
“My books pretty much came and went without much of a ripple,” admits Lang. “Leisure Books was known for Male Action Adventure, but because there was an editor there who liked my stuff, they published it even though the books weren’t their usual cup of tea. No Mafia hit men or international spies or blood and gore. More a kind of poor man’s Raymond Chandler. Maybe that’s why they dropped the series after three books!”
For years, Lang maintained a web site called Classic Movies.org, and worked as a freelance writer and web designer, and was also the man behind Hardboiled Heaven.
- “It’s a fine series of books… I liked every one of them.”
— Bill Crider in Bill Crider’s Pop Culture Magazine
- Crockett On The Loose (1975) | Buy this book
- The Perdition Express (1976) | Buy this book
- Brand Of Fear (1976) | Buy this book
- Hardboiled Heaven
Brad Lang’s small but colourful site for the hardcore fan of hardboiled crime, mystery, and detective fiction, with some great paperback cover scans, and a little info on the Fred Crockett series.
- Brad Lang’s Ten Favourite Detective, Hard-boiled and Noir Films
A Little Slice of Hardboiled Heaven. Exclusive to this site.
- Private Eyes by the Number
P.I.s in Men’s Adventure Books