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Monday, 21 March 2011

Nick Carter - The American James Bond

Today I found myself in Cardiff with an hour to kill before an audition, and so I made my way to the best secondhand bookshop in the city - that's Troutmark Books in the Castle Arcade and if you ever visit Cardiff, I urge you to pop in and browse. It's heaven for paperback collectors like myself. Three floors, of wall to wall books - there's also a pretty neat comic and magazine section tucked away upstairs.

Amongst the titles I picked up today was The Vengeance Trail of Josey Wales by Forest Carter which is a sequel to the author's Gone to Texas which was the basis for the Clint Eastwood movie. I've never read this before so I'm quite looking forward to it.

I also picked up one of Robert Jordan's Conan novels - I already own Jordan's anthology titles The Conan Chronicles 1 & 2, each of which contains three of the author's Conan novels, but Conan The Victorious is not included in the collected volumes. Bargain.

To round off I grabbed two Nick Carter paperbacks - I just love these books and am trying to collect the entire set but that's a tall order given that there were over 200 hundred books in the revamped Carter series. The history of Nick Carter is interesting and dates back to the early days of the pulps - The Wiki informs us that Nick Carter first appeared in a dime novel entitled The Old Detective's Pupil; or, The Mysterious Crime of Madison Square on 18 September 1886. This novel was written by John R. Coryell from a story by Ormond G. Smith, the son of one of the founders of Street & Smith.

In 1915, Nick Carter Weekly became Detective Story Magazine. In the 1930s, due to the success of The Shadow and Doc Savage, Street & Smith revised Nick Carter as a hero pulp that ran from 1933 to 1936. Novels featuring Carter continued to appear through the 1950s, by which time there was also a popular radio show, Nick Carter, Master Detective, which aired on the Mutual Broadcasting System network from 1943 to 1955

Following the success of the James Bond series in the 1960s, the character was updated for a long-running series of novels featuring the adventures of secret agent Nick Carter, aka the Killmaster. The first book, Run Spy Run, appeared in 1964 and more than 260 Nick Carter-Killmaster adventures were published up until 1990. The thing with Nick Carter is that the author was never credited and the books were the works of several writers - I believe our own Bill Crider wrote some of the novels. I know Bill scans the Archive from time to time so maybe he can tell us which titles were his in the comments section.

Nick Carter was also dramatised for radio and many of the episodes can be found HERE

The current issue of Paperback Fanatic features a great Nick Carter article written by Andreas Decker. The article goes into great detail on the series and even names some of the authors responsible for the books.

The scan left is taken from Paperback Fanatic - the latest issue is already listed as sold out on the magazine's website, so it's well worth subscribing.


Bill Crider said...

I wrote just one, in collaboration with Jack Davis. Ours is THE COYOTE CONNECTION.

Frank Loose said...

You will probably enjoy this site dedicated to Nick Carter books and Carter Brown books. It shows covers, offers mini reviews, history, and mentions who wrote which book.

Cheers ...

Charles Gramlich said...

Only read a couple Nick Carters. Not really a big fan. I thought "gone to Texas" was godawful, though I love the movie.

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Anonymous said...

Hi, I just came across your site and am a huge Nick Carter fan. I have a complete set of Nick Carter books for myself and almost another complete set that I will break up and sell cheap. Anyone looking fo any titles let me know at . I also have about 20,000 other paperback books of other series's so if you are looking for any books let me know. I have been collecting for 40 yeears and now really need the space.