Saint Mudd: A Novel of Gangsters and Saints

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The double murder was pretty gruesome, but not unusual for St. Paul wallowing in the Great Depression. Grover Mudd, the city's premier reporter, wanted nothing more than to finger the killers and help put them away forever. But in a district that had the best politicians and police money could buy...and the hometown boys were world-infamous kings of crime like Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson thriving on a booming economy of bootlegging, prostitution and robbery... Mudd knew that ...
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Overview

The double murder was pretty gruesome, but not unusual for St. Paul wallowing in the Great Depression. Grover Mudd, the city's premier reporter, wanted nothing more than to finger the killers and help put them away forever. But in a district that had the best politicians and police money could buy...and the hometown boys were world-infamous kings of crime like Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson thriving on a booming economy of bootlegging, prostitution and robbery... Mudd knew that his efforts would probably lead to a big fatso zero.

But even a hard, seasoned guy like Mudd, who didn't shock easy and certainly was no saint, couldn't get used to dead bodies. With the reluctant help of the F.B.I., the conflicted loyalty of a beautiful blond moll, and the hesitant encouragement of his own gentle mistress, Mudd targeted the sociopathic killers with his own brand of terror. Still the odds kept piling up and up... until Mudd found out what unimaginable deeds human beings were capable of - including himself...

Filled with such historical characters as John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson and strewn with authentic period details, Saint Mudd is a novel of gangsters and saints set in the 1930s. Grover Mudd won't rest until he cleans up all the crooked cops, dirty politicians and criminals in his hometown.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Enriched since `wealth' follows by a wealth of historic detail and some evocative writing, this first novel (Thayer self-published an earlier version in 1986) brings to life the uncommon setting of '30s St. Paul, Minn., a safe haven for pimps, gamblers, bootleggers, dope smugglers and bloodthirsty gangsters of every stripe. In his popular column in the financially crumbling St. Paul Frontier News , protagonist Grover Mudd assails his city's cops, politicians and criminals--all of the forces that have brought on its moral decay. Characterized by cynical honesty and truculent wit, ``Grover's Corner'' alternately elicits anger, respect and amusement from the local citizenry. With the paper on its last legs, Grover and his editor, Walt Howard, mount a front-page campaign against the city's hospitality to criminals and the bloodshed in its streets. Meanwhile, the Feds come to town on the trail of some infamous crooks, among them Baby Face Nelson, Alvin Karpis, John Dillinger, Ma Barker's boys and the principal local villain, Dag Rankin. Lacking the distinctive narrative voice of the best crime fiction and with sex scenes seemingly grafted onto the story, Thayer's novel succeeds best as the story of St. Paul and of Grover Mudd. A contemporary of F. Scott Fitzgerald, in failing health as the result of wartime mustard gas, divorced and in love with a black hotel maid, an occasional opium user working for a dying paper in a decadent town, Mudd holds the reader's interest from start to finish. (June)
Library Journal
This raw, gritty first novel hews fairly closely to the hard-boiled detective tradition, with the twist that protagonist Grover Mudd is a newspaper columnist. The journeyman journalist covers early-Thirties St. Paul, Minnesota, one of the most crime-riddled cities in the country. Against a backdrop of bank robberies, prostitution, drug deals, and money laundering, Mudd uses his columns to alert citizens to the corruption that enfolds St. Paul at all levels. Plenty of violence and some very explicit descriptions of sexual encounters will put off the squeamish, but Saint Mudd tells a realistic tale of how those courageous enough to fight back can ultimately defeat the criminal element dominating a city.--Patricia Altner, Dept. of Defense Lib., Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670845019
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/17/1992
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 1.00 (w) x 1.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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