Mike Faraday

Created by Basil Copper
(1924-2013)

“It was hot in Jinty’s Bar, a damned sight too hot for comfort.”
— the opening of The Dark Mirror

“A damned sight too hot for comfort”?

Starting with his first appearance in The Dark Mirror in 1966, hard-boiled Los Angeles private eye MIKE FARADAY was around for years, dazzling ’em in the U.K., without attracting any attention at all on this side of the Atlantic. Over there, however, the books kept right on coming, so English author Cooper must have been doing something right.

Sure, it may be a little difficult to swallow an American eye created by a Brit spouting alleged “American” slang, while occasionally lapsing into BritTalk, muttering about “getting a tyre out of the boot”, but this is pure retro-pulp, and any linguistic rough spots were, theoretically, overshadowed by the fast-paced action.

Even in the Swinging Sixties, though, when this series kicked off, Faraday must have come off as retro. Still, if he’s a throwback, he’s clearly a deliberate one — there’s absolutely no sense of sixties grooviness here. According to one publisher, they were clearly intended as an “open homage” to the hard-boiled wisecracking school of the thirties and forties: Faraday was hard as nails, snappy with the patter, quick with the fisticuffs and, of course, always up for the ladies, and if he dropped a liguistic or geographical clunker now and then, I guess we should cut him some slack — the dude never made it to California, but recreated it based on old American films and pulp mags.

LIke I said, he never caught on over here, but the Brits found him rather convincing and always enjoyable, as British mystery critic T.J. Binyon pointed out in Murder Will Out (1989). And Faraday was well enough remembered that as recently as 2014, a British publisher was planning an ambitious series of reprints planned that would see all 52 books in the series released digitally

Basil Copper (shockingly, his real name) was a British journalist and editor. He was born in 1924, and took part in the D-Day landings, returning to edit a Kent newspaper, and to try his hand at fiction.  His first story, “The Spider”, was published in the Fifth Pan Book of Horror Stories for £10, and took him half an hour to write. His first novel was The Dark Mirror, which introduced Faraday, but despite the longevity of that series, Copper  may be best known for his horror fiction, very much in the vein in the vein of M.R. James and H.P. Lovecraft, and for his continuation of the Holmesian Solar Pons series after the death of Pons’ creator, August Derleth, starting in 1979.

NOVELS

  • The Dark Mirror (1966) Buy this book Kindle it!
  • Night Frost (1966) Buy this book Kindle it!
  • No Flowers For the General (1967) Buy this book Kindle it!
  • Scratch on the Dark (1967) Buy this book Kindle it!
  • Die Now, Live Later (1968) Buy this book Kindle it!
  • Don’t Bleed On Me (1968)
  • The Marble Orchid (1969)
  • Dead File (1970)
  • No Letters From the Grave (1971)
  • The Big Chill (1972)
  • Strong-Arm (1972)
  • The Breaking Point (1973)
  • A Great Year For Dying (1973)
  • Shock-Wave (1973)
  • A Voice from the Dead (1974)
  • Feedback (1974)
  • Ricochet (1974)
  • The High Wall (1975)
  • Impact (1975)
  • A Good Place to Die (1975)
  • The Lonely Place (1976)
  • Crack in the Sidewalk (1976)
  • Tight Corner (1976)
  • The Year of the Dragon (1977)
  • Death Squad (1977)
  • Murder One (1978)
  • The Big Rip-Off (1979)
  • A Quiet Room in Hell (1979)
  • The Caligari Complex (1980)
  • Flip-Side (1980)
  • The Long Rest (1981)
  • The Empty Silence 1981)
  • Dark Entry (1981)
  • Hang Loose (1982)
  • Shoot Out (1982)
  • The Far Horizon (1982)
  • Trigger-Man (1983)
  • Pressure Point (1983)
  • Hard Contract (1983)
  • The Hook (1984)
  • You Only Die Once (1984)
  • Tuxedo Park (1985)
  • The Far Side of Fear (1985)
  • Snow-Job (1986)
  • Jet-Lag (1986)
  • Blood on the Moon (1986)
  • Bad Scene (1987)
  • Heavy Iron (1987)
  • Turn Down an Empty Glass (1987)
  • House-Dick (1988)
  • Print-Out (1988)
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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