gordon_chet_bk_tfm gordon_chet_bk_tdt
Full Name: Chet Gordon
Nationality: American
Organization: FBI
Occupation Agent

Creator: Ross MacDonald
Time Span: 1944 - 1946


Chester 'Chet' Gordon is an agent with the FBI.

As an agent with the Bureau, his duty could take him anywhere in the country going up against all sorts of criminals and crimes but we learn early on that his specialty seems to be counter-espionage, or the catching of spies operating inside the U.S. borders.

Exactly how long he has been doing this type of investigation is not stated but we are told that "8 or 9 years" before we first meet him he had been in college so it is safe to guess that he has been with the FBI for around 4-6 years. This would put his entry into federal work somewhere between 1937 and 1939 since the activities we first learn of his happen in 1943.

Gordon is a very self-assured man, entering each conversation with neither nervousness nor cockiness. There is one time, though when he is said to have quietly entered a room "with a contemptuously calm look in his black eyes".

Gordon is described as having an athletic physique, having been once an intercollegiate swimmer and having the "short-distance swimmer's broad shoulders and thin flanks" to show for it. He is further said to have a soft base voice which was often "diffident, and the long dark face from which it issued had an inward-looking, almost sullen look. Gordon had sleepy black eyes set deep in a burnished outdoor face. Black horse-tail hair receded from his narrow temples. His face was like an Indian's who distrusted all palefaces".

Interesting Line:

Said by Gordon while he pointed a gun at a man, "This gun is attuned to your aura, Mr. Drake. If you approach it it will go off".


Number of Books:2
First Appearance:1944
Last Appearance:1946

1 The Dark Tunnel The Dark Tunnel
aka I Die Slowly
Written by Ross MacDonald
Copyright: 1944

"In 1937 Munich, an American must be careful when he smokes his pipe. Robert Branch, a careless academic, makes the mistake of lighting up when the Führer is about to begin a procession, and nearly gets pummeled for his mistake. Only the timely intervention of Ruth Esch, a flame-haired actress, saves him. So begins a month-long romance between East and West—a torrid affair that ends when the lovers make the mistake of defending a Jew, earning Branch a beating and Esch a trip to a concentration camp."
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2 Trouble Follows Me Trouble Follows Me
aka Night Train
Written by Ross MacDonald
Copyright: 1946

"It is February 1945, and the war in the Pacific is nearing its climax. In Hawaii on his way to a new post, US Navy ensign Sam Drake stumbles across the girl of his dreams. Mary is a disc jockey, with a voice that’s famous across the islands for playing late-night jazz that no young lover can resist. Before he can follow this modern siren home, they go to check on Mary’s coworker Sue—but that lovely young lady will never spin another record. They find her strung up and dangling outside the window of a bathroom, her face twisted into an ugly mask. The police call it suicide, but Sam is not so sure. Few beautiful women, even suicidal ones, are willing to be so hideous in death. Looking into Sue’s past, he finds another corpse—and a dangerous conspiracy that stretches all the way back to his Motor City home."
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The Lew Archer series of private eye adventures are routinely ranked as classics and I, for one, agree with that assessment. I was a huge fan of them back in the day and read them all. He also wrote several other books like the two mentioned here, stories that came out before he first penned Archer. My personal opinion of them is nowhere as favorable.

In fact, I found both of these books here very boring and dull. The counter-espionage FBI agent, Chet Gordon, is not the main protagonist and when he does show up, he comes across as somewhat unpleasant.

Your opinion may be different.


My Grade: C+


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