Although dying at the early age of 37, William Ard (1922-1960) penned over 30 novels under his own name as well as pseudonyms like Mike Moran, Jonas Ward, Ken Hamlin and Ben Kerr. As Thomas Wills, Ard wrote two novels starring private investigator Barney Glines, “You'll Get Yours” (1952) and “Mine to Avenge” (1955). Stark House Press imprint Black Gat has re-printed “You'll Get Yours” at an affordable price to attract new generations to this talented writer.
Press agent Archie St. George has summoned Glines to his office to meet aspiring actress Kyle Shannon. St. George has encouraged Shannon to explain her dire situation to Glines in hopes she will hire him to investigate. Shannon has her debut film on the cusp of theatrical release after years of modeling leggings. Shannon doesn't want the public to realize she has inherited a fortune from her dead father. Apparently women in the 1950s can't become legitimate film stars if they come from wealthy stock. So, the secret of her fortune, as well as the $100,000 in diamonds she carries in a suitcase, is being suppressed from the public until she reaches widespread appeal. Then her personal fortune will simply blend into her robust box-office earnings with none the wiser.
Glines becomes involved because someone has stolen her diamonds. Shannon, hoping the thief won't reveal the diamond's owner to the public, wants Glines to recover the jewelry. This is an elementary plot and Wiliam Ard thankfully knows it. That's why he throws a box of wrenches in the gears to surprise the characters and reader. This isn't just an average jewel heist.
The thief contacts Glines and advises he will ransom back the jewels for a meager $20K. Suspicious of the offer, Glines accepts the deal and offers Shannon's money for the box of diamonds. After looking through the box, Shannon wants to know where the real fortune is. Puzzled, Glines points out that the diamonds are indeed there. However, Shannon's real treasure were a series of nude photos that she kept secure with the diamonds...in her missing suitcase. Suspending belief, I'm buying it I suppose. Now, Glines next job is to locate the stolen pictures before the thief can ransom them to the press.
Glines’ role as investigator inevitably leads to him falling in love with Shannon. But she's in love with St. George, who alone seems to have more interest in Shannon's wealth and potential than her sultry red hair. As Glines digs deeper into the heist, he finds himself tangled in a heroin ring that leads to his own false arrest. Attempting to prove his innocence, he teams with a homicide detective to track Shannon's extortionist through New York.
For a 1952 paperback, Ard pulls no punches. There's a number of deaths, detailed drug abuse and a somewhat critical inspection of police procedure. In terms of violence...let's say 1970s and 80s men's action-adventure might be a close comparison. In one shocking scene, thugs hold Glines down while absolutely obliterating a drugged out hooker in a hail of bullets. That's bold. But what's really interesting about Ard's position is his candid look at the price of popularity. Even in today's modern times, we still see this same situation: celebrities' privacy auctioned off to the highest bidder. Then it was calendars and magazines, today it's social networks, leaked sex tapes and TMZ.
With “You'll Get Yours,” Ard proves to be a cunning architect of plotting as he scripts the perfect storm of bribery, jealousy, extortion and intrigue. The book's fiery finale asks if there is more for Barney Glines. Let's hope Stark House has the affordable answer. This novel's sequel, “Mine to Avenge,” demands a hefty price tag as an out of print used paperback online.
This book was discussed on the fourth episode of the Paperback Warrior Podcast: Link
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