Guns & Amour

Broad Bait!

By Jack Lynn

160 pp.

© 1960

Publisher:Novel Books Inc.

Series: NB 5014

Special Agent Kevin Kar has a real appetite for the ladies, more than most FBI men and a lot more than J. Edgar Hoover.

Broad Bait opens with a detailed description of the ample bustline of a woman attempting to lure Kevin to his doom. He is on the trail of a ring of gun runners and they would like nothing better than to see him retired from the case permanently.

But Kevin is no fool, not even for love. He doesn’t trust women as far as the nearest bed on which to throw them. So when her gun-toting accomplice sneaks up behind him, the G-man keeps his cool.

Kevin uses the young lovely as a human shield. He spins her around and she take’s the would-be assassin’s bullet between the eyes. He then returns fire, killing his assailant. It’s all in a day’s work. He never got to score with the girl before he died (and I assume he had no desire to afterward), but the story has just begun and he will have plenty of opportunity as the tale unfolds.

After the murder of a key witness in the case and a couple of attempt’s on Kevin’s life (including one by a woman he was successful in bedding. Good for him), he travels to Florida to stop the 600 tommyguns from being sent to Castro’s rebels in Cuba.

The careful reader might notice that the book was published in 1960, more than a year after the Cuban revolution was a done deal. It seems unlikely that Fidel Castro would be in need of guns as much as ammunition replenishment for those firing squads of which he was so fond. For those put off by this seeming anachronism, try to remember that great literature is not beholden to timeliness.

Kevin arrives in Miami and checks in with Melvin Blake at the US Customs office. Blake is…well, he’s some guy named Blake. Kevin is far more interested in Angelica, Blake’s secretary who is employed on the side of the law but whose curves defy gravity.

At first, Angelica rejects Kevin’s advances but he eventually wears her down with lines like, “But honey, you’re in your twenties and have a body that must’ve been used.” Given such a persuasive argument, she relents and our intrepid hero scores again.

That case is cracked but there is still the small matter of keeping the illicit ordnance out of the hands of godless communists. The prime suspect is Paul Jackson, who lives on the Gulf Coast in luxury with no discernible source of income. Since these are the days before RICO, the FBI can’t simply move in and seize everything, leaving Jackson to try to prove his innocence in court. Kevin needs evidence.

His methods are unorthodox to say the least. To solve the case, he beds the owner of the local motel, blows his cover by picking fights with the suspects, and roughs up an innocent kid with leukemia. Jackson, not to be outdone, orders one of his henchmen to open fire on Kevin’s car after a search of his house turns up nothing. The story climaxes (so to speak) with Angelina, who is in league with the gun runners, giving up her chance to escape because Kevin is so hot in the sack.

In this war on crime, the first casualty is plausibility.