Book Report: Dick Tracy: The Secret Files edited by Max Allan Collins and Martin H. Greenberg (1990)

This is the second Dick Tracy book report on this site; the first was a collection of the actual comics (The Dick Tracy Casebook in 2005–good Lord, has it been five years?).

This is a collection of original short stories including Dick Tracy written by a number of popular authors of 1990, or at least people Max Collins knew. It was released to ride the success of Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy film (which also starred Madonna–good Lord, has it been twenty years?). As such, it’s a mixed bag. Most of the stories are tolerable, but one of the volume is darn near unreadable as it goes into very heavily cinematic action and the writer can’t capture it well in the text.

Sometimes I get the urge to read short fiction as my primary fiction book because I think how easily I can put it down when it’s time for bed. That’s a double-edged wrist radio (sorry, I should have issued a spoiled metaphor alert). It makes it too easy to put down sometimes, and this book is a good example of that.

I suppose the book is more worthwhile if you’re a big Dick Tracy fan, but what person under the age of fifty is. I mean, really.

On a personal note, someone ran a contest tied into the movie where you could win a yellow trenchcoat and fedora like Dick Tracy. I entered the contest, and that’s when I started thinking of myself in a trenchcoat and hat. A couple years later, I got my first trenchcoat for Christmas and then my first fedora from Donge’s on Third Street in Milwaukee. Twenty years later, I still affect that look.

Books mentioned in this review: