As anyone reading this blog will know I have a love (some may say obsession) with all things Si-Fi, but one of my other loves growing up was old gangster films and story’s. As a youngster I would sit and watch films staring the likes of Bogart, Cagney and Borgnine, In those days of the late 60’s early 70’s there always seemed to be a film of this type on a least once a week. Add to that Elliot Ness and the Untouchables’ in their weekly show, and gangsters, cops and private detectives seemed to fill my TV viewing.
Now I will admit it’s a long time since I read any detective comics or books, and the Untouchables’ was probably the last gangster film I watched if you don’t count re-runs of The Godfather. Where is this all going I can hear you asking, well its heading to my reconnection with the gangster filled world of my childhood via a book called The Ruby Files. I first became aware of the Ruby Files when I heard one of the co-creators of Rick Ruby talking on a podcast; Bobby Nash is a regular on Earth Station One and was talking about his work. My interest was peaked and as a result I bought a copy of The Ruby Files, below are my thoughts and interpretations of the book. I do not go into too much depth as I don’t wish to spoil it for anyone, what I will say is that I absolutely loved the book and I could not recommend it any higher.
The Ruby Files
Rick Ruby is a private detective plying his trade in 1930’s New York, Rick’s an ex-cop who left the force due to his disillusionment with all the corruption around him. He still has ties to and connections within the police force which can be an advantage to him in his new line of work, Ricks world is full of the things you associate with 1930’s America. The Speak Easy's, fem fatales, crooked cops, mobsters and of course murder and danger.
Rick has all the usual glamorous trappings you would expect for a private detective of that era, a small slightly rundown office over a bar, an old friend on the force and a secretary who acts like she doesn’t give a dam but we all know has a heart of gold.
As for Rick back story well that's slowly unfolded to you as his story progresses, and you are fed tit bits about his past none of which take you away from the main theme of the story. So you never get bogged down in events from his past, this was one of the things I particularly enjoyed as I read the book.
Rick is what you would describe as a man’s man; he is a hard drinking, smoking, punch first ask questions later type of guy, with more than an eye for the ladies. He is also exactly the type of man you would want in your corner if your back was against the wall, provided you had the money to pay him for his services of course.
I could see aspects of Marlow, Spade, and Hammer in Rick, and I could easily see him up on the big screen been played by Bogart, Robert Mitchum or Dick Powell which is no bad thing. But for me I see Rick as Bogart even though he's described as having red hair, when Rick speaks I hear good old Bogie's voice in my head.
The book consists of 4 stories all written by different writers, each of whom have put their own slant on Rick and the world he inhabits, while still sticking to the core of the character. It is also a testament to all four writers skills that I can honestly say I don’t prefer one story over another, each has its own unique merits but all had me utterly engrossed as I read them.
I have listed the stories and their writers below and the synopsis given for each story, as it is given in the book.
WOUNDS: by Andrew Salmon
While trying to clear a murdered police officer, Ruby becomes entangled in police corruption and a connection to his father's death.
THE CASE OF THE WAYWARD BROTHER: by Bobby Nash
A beautiful, mysterious blond wants her brother found. It's a deadly setup, and Ruby walks into a case of cold blooded murder.
TULSA BLACKIE'S LAST DIVE: by William Patrick Maynard
Rick heads out to Hollywood to solve the death of cowboy superstar Tulsa Blackie.
DIE GIFTIGE LILIE: by Sean Taylor
Rick is hired to help a German scientist defect, but uncovers more to his job than his leggy client let on.
Rick is the creation of Shaun Taylor and Bobby Nash who along with Andrew Salmon and William Patrick Maynard, have all created story’s that word by word pull you deep into Rick’s world. It’s a world I would never want to live in, but its one that I enjoyed visiting and hope to do so again soon.
Click the link to be taken directly to The Ruby Files website, all the information on where to buy the book, bios on the characters, news on appearance's by the writers and so much more.