Author Max Allan Collins (Road to Perdition) has a new book, Seduction of the Innocent, out through Hard Case Crime; a series of mystery novels published by Titan Books! Here’s the Synopsis:

It’s 1954, and a rabble-rousing social critic has declared war on comic books – especially the scary, gory, bloody sort published by the bad boys of the industry, EF Comics. But on the way to a Senate hearing on whether these depraved publications should be banned, the would-be censor meets a violent end of his own – leaving his opponents in hot water.
Can Jack Starr, private eye to the funny-book industry, and his beautiful boss Maggie unravel the secret of Dr. Frederick’s gruesome demise? Or will the crackdown come, falling like an executioner’s axe…?
An illustrated whodunit inspired by America’s real-life “war on comic books” in the 1950s, from the award-winning master of the historical detective novel, MAX ALLAN COLLINS.

Seduction of the Innocent is largely inspired by the real life comic book witch hunt led by Dr. Fredric Werthamtumblr_mii56xIVQX1qa64bjo1_500 in the 1950’s and does a great job of using a little history and lot of imagination to create an engaging mystery. I very much enjoyed this fictional “whodunit” with a comic book twist. The book’s main character, Jack Starr is fairly stereotypical (assuming Comic Book Detectives are stereotypical) but he fits the story being told, and Collins writing of Star’s narration makes the 1950’s world believable and fun. Actually, I’m kind of pissed at my high school guidance councilor. If I had thought “Comic Book Detective” might have actually been a choice… eh, but why look back. You can find a copy of Seduction of the Innocent at any book retailer or at Titan Books online store.

Just a side note here: I really did enjoy this book, but the real life story behind the golden days of comic books and their near death in the 1950’s is also fascinating. A few years ago I read a book, Men of Tomorrow by Gerard Jones, men_of_tomorrow_largewhich mostly followed the lives of Superman creators (Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel) but also had a few chapters on the 1950’s comic book hearings and the creation of the self imposed Comic Code Authority. Approved_by_the_Comics_Code_AuthorityMany of the real life counterparts to the characters of Seduction of the Innocent are also featured in the book and their histories and contributions to the comic book industry are just as fascinating.

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