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Kill Now Pay Later [Mass Market Paperback]

Robert Terrall

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Book Description

July 30 2007
When Ben Gates took the job guarding the presents at a ritzy upper-class wedding, he thought it would be a simple assignment: stand around, look tough, and make sure none of the bridesmaids walk off with the jewelry.
 
But that was before someone slipped sleeping pills into Ben’s coffee and a bizarre robbery attempt left two people dead. Now Ben’s reputation is on the line – and if he doesn’t figure out which of three beautiful women is hiding a murderous secret, his life may be as well…
--This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Dorchester Leisure (July 30 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0843957751
  • ISBN-13: 978-0843957754
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 10.9 x 1.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 68 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #524,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Robert Terrall wrote many popular and well-reviewed crime novels, including the prescient 1948 classic A Killer Is Loose Among Us, about a biological weapons lab developing weaponized anthrax for use in a terrorist attack. He is best known, however, for his comic work, including the Ben Gates series that began with Blackmail, Inc. in 1958 and included Kill Now, Pay Later.  --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A change of pace for Crime, Hard Case Jan. 26 2008
By Craig Clarke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The name Robert Terrall may not mean much to you. But how about Robert Kyle (the name under which Kill Now, Pay Later was originally published)? Or Jose Gonzalez? If those names don't ring a bell, another one might. Terrall was also one of two men who wrote Mike Shayne novels under the pseudonym Brett Halliday (the other was Davis Dresser, Shayne's creator).

Shayne's name will undoubtedly be familiar to most crime fans, being a character who was not only featured in those novels and a popular radio series (later TV), but who also loaned his name to a magazine (Mike Shayne's Mystery Magazine) that published stories by many of crime fiction's biggest names. "Halliday" (presumably Dresser) was also the host (after John Dickson Carr) of Murder by Experts, one of the best crime anthology radio shows of its day.

As Kyle, this prolific writer's claim to fame was a series of novels featuring P.I. Ben Gates. Kill Now, Pay Later is the third in that series of five, and Hard Case Crime has released it under Terrall's own name for the first time.

Hired by an insurance company to guard wedding presents, Gates is subsequently drugged and wakes up to a missing diamond bracelet and two dead bodies. Passing out on the job is not likely to bring new referrals, so Gates takes it upon himself to solve the mystery (against the wishes of Lieutenant Minturn of the state police, who is pretty much satisfied that Gates had something to do with the crime) before he becomes corpse number three.

Unlike most of the other books put out by Hard Case Crime, this one is a pretty straightforward private eye tale. Gates has an eye for the ladies (and, more importantly, they for him), which makes question and answer sessions interesting, but the actual solution -- thought it takes place in the midst of a conflagration -- is rather anticlimactic. And the tidy, tie-up-all-the-loose-ends conclusion, while satisfying in its own way, is certainly not what Hard Case Crime readers will be expecting.

Still, Ben Gates and his friend/colleague are charming characters I would follow to another book, and Terrall's style is smooth enough to make Kill Now, Pay Later a light, easygoing read that would probably appeal to fans of Erle Stanley Gardner's novels under the name A.A. Fair (Top of the Heap, for example).
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best from this publishing house Jan. 28 2008
By Jeff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the first Robert Terrall novel I've read. Assuming Hard Case reprises his other titles, it certainly won't be the last. I really liked this book.

What's to like? First, some very sharp turns of phrase. There must be at least a couple dozen in the book you just want to read to whomever is within listening distance. Sardonic for sure, but Terrall has a great ear for incisive social observation in a few sentences.

Two, a well thought out plot that twists throughout the book, in not implausible but unexpected ways. A book in which all the clues are dangled and still surprises is rare. Kill Now is such a book.

Finally, the protagonist seems like a real character. He makes mistakes, gets sucked into things which not are as they seem, but comes out ahead in the end. He is a flesh and blood character who earns the readers respect, even though in his introduction, he thoroughly blows his assignment.

Highly recommended!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clamors for the reader's attention from first page to last Nov. 29 2007
By Bookreporter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It seems like yesterday that Mike Shayne, a private investigator in the Mike Hammer mold, was all over the place. Created by Brett Halliday, he was in a series of paperbacks, appeared on a television show and even had a mystery magazine. Halliday, however, was a pseudonym for Robert Terrall, who wrote under a number of different names. One of his better-known series, written as "Robert Kyle," featured a PI named Ben Gates, a softer-boiled version of Shayne. Gates did insurance and guard work, occasionally got in trouble and always wound up with a lady or two. And the stories? Well, they were excellent.

Now, Hard Case Crime blesses readers with KILL NOW, PAY LATER, a Ben Gates mystery that has been out of print for well over 40 years but stands up amazingly well in spite of --- or maybe because of --- the passage of time. The novel begins with Gates on an insurance company job with what is supposed to be a very easy assignment: guarding the presents at a very high-class wedding. It's one of those tasks where no one really expects any trouble, and all Gates has to do is maintain a presence, if you will, to discourage anyone whose thoughts stray toward walking off with something.

Problems begin, however, when someone slips sleeping pills into Gates's coffee. When he comes to the office the next morning, Gates is in huge trouble. Money is missing, two people are dead and Gates is being solemnly assured that he will never get insurance company work again. Suspects abound --- all are female, beautiful and uncontrollably attracted to him. Before he is through, Gates is involved in a caper involving pornography, blackmail and murder. While all the trademarks of the genre are here --- fisticuffs, double-crosses and a good deal of tawdry temptation --- there is also a first-rate, tantalizing mystery in KILL NOW, PAY LATER that clamors for the reader's attention from first page to last.

Terrall is still with us, a solid 93 and counting. It is fitting that in his salad years a new generation of readers should become acquainted with him, while several older generations should re-familiarize themselves with him.

--- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great bad day! Oct. 9 2007
By Michael J. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I would like to have a bad day like Ben Gates. It starts off very bad for Ben as he guards some wedding gifts for a wealthy family. The morning after he is recovering from the "mickey" someone slips him and finding out all heck broke loose. He runs into one devious babe after another as he puts the pieces of this complicated puzzle together. I own every book in the Hard Case series and this was one of the best. One of the best covers too.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Book Has More Femme Fatales Jan. 2 2014
By Dave Wilde - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Robert Terrall is not well known under his real name, but he has been an extremely prolific writer under a number of pen names including Robert Kyle and Brett Halliday ( continuing the Mike Shayne series) and John Gonzales. In all, Terrall wrote five Ben Gates PI novels. This novel was originally published in 1960 and has been republished in 2007 by Hard Case Crime. Notably, both the 1960 version and the 2007 reissue feature terrific Robert McGinnis covers, but different ones!

Ben Gates is a NYC PI who has a number of associates. Here, he is hired to watch wedding presents and ends up drinking coffee with knockout drops. When he comes to, a bracelet, and a substantial sum of money are missing and two people have lost their lives.

This all takes place in a small country town and the local authorities don't want Gates poking his nose into it.

What proceeds then is a typical PI novel of the era with Gates determined to clear his name and solve the mystery. There are a lot of twists and turns in the plot and the action slows at times. Gates uncovers blackmail, bigamy, pornography, and other sleazy matters.

Terrall's work is at its best when Gates encounters the numerous femme fatales in this book. His wry sense of humor well serves the story in counting the buttons coming undone on one woman's dress and his interest being piqued as another tries to gain his attention. First, there's Shelley who approaches Gates with a glass in one hand and a bottle of champagne in the other. Second, there's Hilda who is up on a ladder wearing a shirt with most of the buttons missing. When the crucial button came off, Gates' suspicions were confirmed. She is indeed a girl. Third, there's Lorraine who isn't embarrassed to be seen wearing nothing more than mascara. Fourth, there's Anna who meets a man in a tavern wearing little more than Gates' raincoat and some heels.

All in all, a worthy book in the Hard Case Crime series, although It is not as fast paced as most.

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