Thursday, December 20, 2007

Book Review: The Badge by Jack Webb

The quintessential 1950s icon of law and order made flesh, Jack Webb, at the height of his Dragnet fame authored The Badge, a 310 page wet kiss to LA’s “boys in blue” and their never ending war on crime and immorality. Its ten chapters, each detailing a different police division or department, highlight the dangers, heartaches, and bloodshed an officer must face at the hands of the insane, perverted and/or criminal. Once this volume was a prized collectible, one that many a true crime buff would gladly spend hundreds of dollars to obtain. But thanks to Thunder Mouth Press (a division of Avalon Publishing), anyone with the meager sum of $14.95 can possess this new printing which includes an introduction by that jive-talking, retro-crime writing hipster, Mr. James Elroy. When Mr. Elroy was a young boy, his father bestowed The Badge on him for an 11th Birthday gift. The effect on the boy was similar to the first meeting of Nitro and Glycerin. With his mother the victim of an unsolved sex-slay the prior year, the young James, now wise beyond his years, became obsessed with Webb’s white-hot descriptive narrative of some of the most brutal crimes in LA’s history. One of the chapters he found particular intriguing contained the torso murder of Beth Short, the Black Dahlia – and as the saying goes, “the rest is history.”

The Badge is like a R-rated extended Dragnet episode with out the names changed--- because nobody in this blood-soaked tome of murder, mayhem, and vice is innocent. So be advised to “pick up and detain” your copy today. That is all.

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