Key Witness-Frank Kane (1956)

Kane steps away from his Johnny Liddell series for this stand alone about gangs in Harlem. It’s a good, fast paced read. Defintely worth picking up.

Fred Morrow is in Harlem on business for a real estate client when he witnesses a murder. The victim is Julio Rigas. the war councilor of the Puerto Rican gang the Black Aces. The one who stabbed him while two others held him was Big Step, head of the black gang the Royal Knights.

Morrow goes over to Rigas and just before he expires he gives him the name of Big Step. A cop writes down his name and address and has him taken to the D.A.’s office to give his information. Morrow meets with ambitious Deputy D.A. Sol Robbins.

Big Step got to be head of the gang after their leader Samson got hurt in a rumble with the Black Aces. It was Julio who injured him with a chain. Big Step killed Julio to show what he’s made of to the Royal Knights.

Robbins tells Morrow the papers won’t publish his address. Fanny Lewis. a reporter for the Standard gives him a hard time about his client and the crumbling houses he owns. The paper is misnamed since it doesn’t have any standards.

Big Step sees a story in the paper about a witness named Morrow. He and and another gang member assault the cop who took Morrow’s statement and steal his notebook and gun. Big Step knows he can’t kill him but he wants to intimidate him into keeping quiet.

Cozy Jacks is a fighter who lost his edge and became a heroin addict. He operates a billiard parlor as a front for a shooting gallery. The cops bust in and he tells them where to find Big Step. They grab him and arrest him. Now some gang members and Big Step’s girlfriend are after him Jacks and pay him a visit.

They continue to threaten Morrow and his family. Kane really comes up with an excellent account of gangs, cops and a man who just wants to do the right thing.

About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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