His brain scrambled, Jake tries to clear himself of a murder chargeJake Pace comes to on the floor of a dungeon, where a robot jailer is killing rats. The last twenty-four hours are a blank; he doesn't remember anything since he stepped into his skycar, chasing a tip on the Big Bang murders. For weeks the killings have stumped every officer in the government--costing six of them their lives--but a soprano named Palsy Hatchbacker told Jake she knew something that could break open the case. Before he met Miss Hatchbacker, a carnation-wearing goon spritzed Jake with a memory-wiping spray. When the police found him, he was sleeping peacefully next to Palsy's corpse, a laser pistol in his hand. While he rots in jail, the Big Bang killer continues his rampage. Only Jake can bring him to justice, but first he must break out of an inescapable jail.
A dead woman hires Jake to investigate her murderJake Pace is halfway through mixing a batch of cookies when his lawyer arrives with a corpse. The body in the coffin is an android, built in the shape of recently deceased electronics heiress Sylvie Kirkyard and implanted with a chip that holds Sylvie's memories. Although she was only twenty-seven, Sylvie had for a long time feared for her life, and took the precaution of insuring her consciousness with Kirktronics' patented Brainz, Inc. method. Upon her death, the chip was implanted in this electronic body, and the body was brought to Jake. Luckily, as the planet's smartest private detective, Jake is used to corpses--robotic and otherwise. When the dead girl awakes and asks him to find her killers, Jake doesn't blink an eye. But fulfilling her last request will be perilous, and by the time it's over Jake may wish he had a spare body of his own.
An all-star serial killer terrorizes Earth's smartest detectivesRaffles Tunny, a juggler in the employ of the United States government, is relaxing at his Swiss chalet when a killer comes to call. He's found the next day, electrocuted in the style of serial murderer Shocker Fulson, the man with the electric touch. The trouble is, Shocker's dead--cremated and interred in New Orleans--and Raffles is not the first victim. Six other government-employed entertainers are have been murdered, all of them killed in the style of an executed madman. A case this insane demands an equally insane detective, which means it's time to call Odd Jobs, Inc. Jake and Hildy Pace have made names for themselves solving impossible murders. But nabbing the copycat lunatic will mean facing down the Amateur Mafia, a gang of belly-button ventriloquists, and the strangest doctor the future has ever seen. One false step, and they'll follow Raffles to the great music hall in the sky.
The first few stories are about an elite spy team who can shape change. The rest of the stories are about other shape changers. All are funny and well worth the price of admission.
When the ruling council of the Galactica strips Adama of his powers of supreme command, the mighty ship is thrown into chaos. As if being caught in the middle of an all-out space war wasn't enough, Baltar has escaped and is streaking across the galaxy to his Cylon allies!
This is another of the books about the Chameleon Corps. Its members are both spies and shape-changers.
In the vast emptiness of space, the Galactica at last makes the long-awaited contact a spaceship of fellow humans from Earth! The Council wants to keep them under observation, but Apollo sets out with the Earthlings on a secret and perilous mission toward their destination, the planet Paradeen, that battleground of space giants where he must confront the old enemy the Cylons and the new the awesome Alliance and make it back to the Galactica
In this inventive mystery set in Hollywood's golden era, Ron Goulart revives America's favorite cigar-wielding comic--Groucho Marx. Needing a project to occupy him between movie stints, Groucho agrees to act in a radio serial. But when a beautiful starlet is found dead before production even begins, Groucho is determined to find out who killed her.
Vaudeville trouper, film and musical comedy star, comic quiz-master on radio and TV, Groucho Marx was at one end of the spectrum of the four Marx brothers: his brother Harpo, at least in character, didn't talk at all and Groucho almost never stopped. And just as technology sends his antics along to each new generation, Groucho himself now appears in print in a new and unsuspected career through the medium-the kind of medium that involves table-rapping, that is-of Ron Goulart's imagination. With the full concurrence of Groucho Marx Productions, Goulart casts Groucho in a role that suits him beautifully-he hands him a magnifying glass and sets him up on the hunt for a murderer-in between bouts of verbal war with the sponsor of his new radio show. Although both Groucho and his Watson, a young scriptwriter named Frank Denby, would gladly murder the sponsor, who wants to call the show "Groucho Marx of the Famous Marx Brothers Joins Forces with Deeply Satisfying Orem Brothers Coffee to Bring You Goofy Mysteries Every Week," it's a real murder that the zany actor investigates-the killing of a young actress whom he knew a few years back, and whose death he doesn't believe to be the suicide the police have ruled it. Through the streets of 1937 Golden Age Hollywood the pair go, along with Franks new girlfriend, finding clues, getting death threats, and cracking wise so much in the way of the real Groucho's patter that one wonders whether Goulart isn't really possessed by a very funny, very astute spirit. "Groucho Marx" has always meant laughter and fun. In this hilarious story, it still does.
Groucho Marx made the transition from screen to paper in Ron Goulart's widely acclaimed first novel, Groucho Marx, Master Detective, where he debuted as a radio star-cum-private eye. Groucho and Frank aren't enjoying their latest costar, singing child prodigy Polly Pilgrim, a spoiled ingenue. When a prominent Beverly Hills plastic surgeon is found dead in his palatial home, and Polly's mother, the faded actress Frances London, is accused of his murder, Polly's request for Groucho and Frank to help prove her mother's innocence surprises them. She is convinced that Frances has been framed, and despite the mounting evidence against the washed-up perfromer, the pair takes on the case.
Jake and his wife grapple with a harebrained Nazi doctorJake Pace is battling a bistro's worth of robotic mafia goons when the government comes to ask him a favor. The Department of Big Business has a particularly sensitive murder on its hands, and Jake, proprietor of Odd Jobs, Inc., is a sensitive detective. A week ago, Statz Kazee announced to a television audience of 140 million that his next scoop would blow the lid off the international business community. Hours later, he was found shot to death, and every federal policemen sent to investigate the murder has wound up dead. Now it's Jake's problem. After battling malfunctioning skycars, sinking houses, and mysterious cowboys, Jake and his wife learn that Statz had information about the fearsome Adolph Hibbler, the nastiest sinner to ever come out of the Nazi scientific community. Seventy years after the end of the war, Hibbler is back, and he'll burn America to the ground if Jake can't handcuff him first.
John Easy searches California for a screenwriter's daughter who's back from the deadIn 1972, Los Angeles is the wacko capital of the world. Gurus, junkies, and wannabe actresses all wind up here, and when one goes missing, John Easy is there to investigate. A hip private eye with a battered VW and a major turtleneck collection, he's pondering an encroaching wildfire when his secretary tells him that Frederic McCleary's daughter has risen from the dead. Five years ago, Jackie McCleary took a dive into the Pacific Ocean, leaving her old man nothing but a suicide note and his Academy Awards to keep him company. Her body was never found, and her father has long nursed a secret hope that she is still alive. Out of the blue, he receives a letter in Jackie's handwriting asking for a meeting. When she doesn't show, he hires John Easy to find his daughter in a city whose citizens all too often resemble the living dead.
As earthquakes shake Los Angeles, John Easy looks for a missing admanJohn Easy never likes to get out of bed, especially when the woman beside him is as beautiful as Jill Jeffers, but no man can argue with an earthquake. The quake subsides after a few moments, but another one is coming. Something fierce is about to rock Los Angeles, and California's hippest private detective is going to be right in the middle of it. Gay Holland, Easy's newest client, is rich, lonely, and missing her brother Gary. The owner of a boutique radio advertising firm, Gary is recently divorced and has a married girlfriend. His apartment has been trashed, and whoever did it was violent, professional, and in search of something to do with Gary's collection of archaeology texts. Finding Gary will mean digging deep under Los Angeles--assuming the next quake doesn't shake the city apart first.
A copywriter's wife has vanished, and only John Easy is slick enough to save herJim Benning makes $25,000 a year writing drivel for the admen at the Arbogast & Joseph Agency, and his wife thinks he's worth a whole lot less. Joanna is a model: nervous, beautiful, and prone to meltdowns. In a last-ditch attempt to save their marriage, she agrees to a few sessions with a psychiatrist in San Ignacio--a quack whose psychobabble is more sinister than it appears. But when Joanna disappears, Jim's only hope is John Easy, the hippest P.I. in Hollywood. Jim gives John a matchbook found in his wife's purse for a club called Maybe--a swinger's hideout where morality is not in style--and John plunges into the seedy side of sunny San Ignacio, where the copywriter's wife led an entirely different sort of existence. To save Joanna from her shadow self, John Easy will have to swing harder than ever before.
"I could change, you see, and take things as all sorts of odd characters. If I was spotted and followed, I'd try to duck in an alley or a doorway and change again. The clothes are extra. Sometimes I could hide clothes in a lot. Most of the time, though, I'd have to change into something new. A bird, a cat. Then I'd carry what I had stolen in my beak or around my neck. Once I copped an umbrella and changed into a big dog and went off with it in my mouth."
A vanished jungle princess forces John Easy to visit the capitol of kook: San FranciscoThe jungle scenery is costing Marco Killespie a cool hundred thousand dollars. A stickler for quality, this king of television advertising doesn't mind writing big checks, but his latest masterpiece--a root beer commercial--is in serious danger of going over budget. Everything was going fine until his leading lady, the up-and-coming Jill Jeffers, disappeared. When a blonde goes missing in 1970s Los Angeles, it's best to call John Easy. A too-cool private eye whose wardrobe is in better shape than his worn-out VW, he knows every hiding spot in California. The first thing he learns is that Jill is a senator's daughter. Next he discovers that she's gone to San Francisco, the weirdest place on Earth. Finding her there will be just as simple as a walk in the jungle.
In a world where all-too-fleshy Man can be bitten by mechanical dogs, pursued by neurotic autos, attacked by berserk washing machines and cuckolded by possessive houses, there had better be a keen eye and clear voice present to ask the right questions and report the goings on. As these ten stories prove, Ron Goulart is well up to the task of tracer of lost and wayward cyborgs. For example, in "Prez," Goulart tells us about a man who learns that it can he dangerous to make an enemy of a family pooch which is not only more than human but able to turn on to become inhuman. "Into the Shop" features a crime-fighting car that can't keep his friends and foes straight, while "The Monte Cristo Complex" portrays a man grasping at revenge against the ultimate bureaucracy. As for Screwloose, an android who can kill and die for love, the reader needs to know what's become of him, because Screwloose is becoming now.
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