Book Report: Adam-12: The Runaway by Chris Stratton (1972)

I bought this book for my sainted mother because I think she liked books tied into television shows she liked. Maybe I just made that up. But I got her a pair of Adam-12 books for a buck or something. Little did I realize that these listed on the Internet at $50.00 each. A lot of times, you can find old paperbacks, particularly series, listed on the Internet at bonzo bucks that you can find at book fairs cheap. I’d recommend you buy them if you like them; otherwise, you will buy them and list them on the Internet for bonzo bucks and have them listed there for a long, long time.

At any rate, this book is a hundred and fifty pages of lightweight crime drama. There’s a central case, the Runaway thing in the title, and a series of other incidents that occur to the patrolmen in the course of their rounds. I haven’t seen the show in 20+ years, so I can only assume that the book follows the pattern of the episodes.

It’s a good light quick read, not Ed McBain or John D. MacDonald by any means, but the writing is more pleasant and higher quality than bad pulp.

A couple salient facts:

  • It takes until page 47 for the word “groovy” to appear earnestly and unironically.
  • The climax of the book focuses on a dark mass, with upside down crosses! and dogs dressed as ghosts to keep those meddling kids away. I was going to mock that harder than I am because I realized that, 2 years later, Robert B. Parker’s The Godwulf Manuscript also featured a rescue of a runaway in a dark mass. And if Parker did it before 1990, I cannot mock it.

The cops are upstanding and good. Adam-12 was a Jack Webb program, after all.

Books mentioned in this review:

1 thought on “Book Report: Adam-12: The Runaway by Chris Stratton (1972)

Comments are closed.