No Wings on a CopBy: Adams, Cleve F. (male)
Publisher: Harlequin Books Ltd. (256)
Place of Publication: Toronto, Canada
Catalog #: Kelley Box 192: PS3501 .D21733 N6 1953
Contributor: K. Quinlivan
GeneralEra: 1950s Author as on Cover: Cleve F. Adams Geographic Locale: southern California (presumably Los Angeles) Date of Publication: 1953 | Original Date: 1950 Setting: urban; downtown office buildings, hotels and apartments Motives: greed,corruption
When Detective John J. Shannon's superior officer and good friend, Captain Grady, is murdered and Shannon's own car sabotaged with a bomb, the tough-talking detective suspects that a frame-up has been organized by some powerful behind-the-scenes force involving both the police department and the mayor's office. Shannon suspects corruption everywhere: in politics, in his fellow police officers and in the press, and he vows to clear his former mentor's reputation: "I want the real killer of the Old Man and I'm going to tear this town apart to get him." After turning in his badge in disgust, Shannon plunges headlong into his own investigation, confronting both the cops and the mobsters in an attempt to uncover the truth.
John J. Shannon adult male, tall, tough, cynical, police detective lieutenant, angry and frustrated by the corruption he sees all around him
George O'Meara middle aged male, ruthless, ambitious, acting chief of police
Vern Regan adult male, large, florid, chief of police
Gus Vogel adult male, short, chubby, blue eyes, plodding, police lieutenant
Ward Duffield middle aged male, gray hair, club foot, emotionless, noted criminal lawyer and brother of Floyd Duquesne
Captain Grady adult male, captain of detectives, admired and respected by Lt. Shannon
Tex Boyer adult male, tall, long jaw, runs a betting operation
Frank Little adult male, late 20s, bank clerk
Floyd Duquesne adult male, tall, slender, gambler, framed for Captain Grady's murder
Nick Lombardi adult male, fat-face, tough, greasy complexion, mob boss and head of a gambling ring
Sticky adult male, tall, lanky, thin mouth, gunman and bodyguard for Lombardi
Sourpuss adult male, "little guy with an ugly face", bodyguard for Lombardi
Frances MacGowan adult female, beautiful model, Shannon's girlfriend
Paul Shacklewood Argyle adult male, sandy hair and mustache, pince-nez, weak, inoffensive mayor under pressure from city mobsters
Osterwicz adult male, taxi driver with a violent streak, grudging admirer of Shannon
Karen Kane adult female, red hair, statuesque stripper and girlfriend of Nick Lombardi
Maria Lombardi adolescent female, dark hair and eyes, daughter of Nick Lombardi
guns,fists, car bomb, saps
Level of Violence
violence erupts often; three hoods are shot to death, two kidnappings; threats of violence color the action throughout the novel.
there is a strong sexual attraction between Shannon and Frances MacGowan. She is completely devoted to him and worries about his safety despite his refusal to take time out from his investigation to indulge in any sexual activity. One woman openly suggests that Shannon make love to her, but he resists, explaining that he has too many other things worrying him.
female characters are either prostitutes, models, or schoolgirls, but they are tough and strong, and Shannon respects their intelligence. He views himself as stronger, smarter, and more determined than everyone else he encounters.
characters seem to fall into well-defined stereotypical categories: Irish-American cops are quick-tempered, loud and tough. Shannon is referred to several times as a "shanty-Irish bastard", but he is portrayed in a more positive light, with a sentimental soft spot and a conscience that compels him to do the right thing. The mobsters are described as sleazy Italian-Americans whose business interests center on vice, bribery and corruption. There is one reference to "Jap gardeners" who take care of landscaping for wealthy customers, and a Russian pawnbroker who speaks broken English.
Shannon has an enormous capacity for alcohol, preferably rye, but he remains clear-thinking despite the amount of alcohol he consumes. He uses alcohol to alleviate both physical and emotional pain. He smokes cigarettes frequently; several other characters smoke cigars.
Shannon's cynicism stems from the fact that he has no real hope of ever overcoming the corruption that he sees everywhere on the police force. Most of the cops are tough, violent and thoroughly despicable characters; they enjoy beating a confession out of someone. Shannon comments that a police badge is no guarantee of honesty, and just as in every other profession, there is a mixture of good and bad.
there is a brief reference to Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective, a famous character who appeared in hundreds of pulp stories written by Robert Leslie Bellem; Turner is described as being "almost as bad" as Shannon. No Wings On a Cop was originally published by Cleve Adams and later expanded by Robert Leslie Bellem. The numerous references to smog and pollution lend an oppressive, choking atmosphere to the events described in the novel.
California - Los Angeles/ Police/ Detectives/ Murder/ Corruption (In Politics)/ Gambling/ Greed
Shannon constantly berates himself, acknowledging inwardly that he is a heel, is a sucker, is naturally stupid, etc. and his tough outer veneer seems to mask a troubled conscience.