Created by William Fuller
“The name’s Dolan…I like to eat to live, drink to relax and sleep because I’m a sackhound. Somehow, though, something always seems to go wrong.”
Hard-boiled adventurer, smuggler and wanderer BRAD DOLAN is a sort of pre-Travis McGee Travis McGee and certainly no stranger to trouble.
He finds them in the Caribbean, Cuba and in the Sunshine State of Florida, while sailing from port to port in his slightly sea-worthy craft “The Jessie,” or just passing through. The WWII and Korean war vet has been around, running guns, doing a little human trafficking and even serving time as… an advertising executive. So it’s clear his ethics are a little, uh, flexible. He appeared in six popular paperback mysteries from Dell back in the fifties by the equally colourful merchant seaman, hobo, movie bit player and ex-infantryman William Fuller.
Dolan may not actually be a P.I., but he sure acts like one. When he has to…
He is a shit magnet, of course, and he can’t seem to keep out of it, even when he’s trying his best to avoid it. Like, in Goat Island (1954), he’s on the trail of the men who “put a hole in his best friend,” in Brad Dolan’s Blond Cargo (1957) he’s offered a thousand dollars to take a tawny haired blonde to Miami but promptly gets thrown off his own boat and in Brad Dolan’s Miami Manhunt (1958) he’s back in Miami with “some loose change and an urge for a short fling” when a stripper persuades him to pick up the trail of her cold dead husband’s slightly hot legacy. She wants to cut him in for half in, a move right out of a McGee novel. Surprise, surprise, it’s a slightly rigged con game and Dolan winds up having to escape from a deserted Caribbean island.
- “I was in Florida trying to find some of the hot sun and blue water they peddle in those ads. The first night I met a jet action brunette named Dinah , the next day they told me her father was dead. They even had the killer. They even told me the guy’s name. Brad Dolan.”
— The Girl in the Frame
- “Brad Dolan is believably tough, mentally as well as physically … literate hard-paced violence remindful of James M. Cain.”
— Brett Halliday
- “Fuller, like John D. MacDonald, Harry Whittington, Charles Williams, Day Keene, and many others from that era, can flat-out write. Brad Dolan is a very engaging narrator/protagonist, smart, well-read, almost poetic at times, and plenty tough when he needs to be. The pace is actually fairly leisurely and the book doesn’t completely kick in right away, but getting there is still a nice ride before an even better build-up of genuine suspense.”
— James M. Reasoner in Rough Edges
- “William Fuller’s talent for creating vividly believable characters, his fine sense of place, his well-integrated anecdotal material (much of it no doubt autobiographical), and liberal doses of action and sex make Back Country a compelling read.”
— Bill Pronzini from his introduction to the 2022 reprint of Back Country
- Back Country (1954) | Buy this book
- Goat Island (Dell, 1954; aka “Local Talent”) | Buy this book
- The Girl in the Frame (1957) | Buy this book
- Brad Dolan’s Blonde Cargo (1957) | Buy this book
- Brad Dolan’s Miami Manhunt (1958) | Buy this book
- Tight Squeeze (1959) | Buy this book
Respectfully submitted by David Pekasky, with some additional info by Kevin Burton Smith.