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The Man With The Iron-On Badge Hardcover – October 3, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Five Star; 1st edition (October 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594143722
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594143724
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,618,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Approaching the level of Lawrence Block is no mean feat, but Goldberg (the Diagnosis Murder series) succeeds with this engaging PI novel, the first of a new series. Harvey Mapes, an overeducated security guard for a Southern California gated community, is pulled out of his rut when a wealthy resident hires him to tail his wife. Genre readers won't be surprised that this simple assignment turns more complicated, but those who like their mean streets settings to be coupled with a twisty solution will enjoy the surprise ending. While Mapes's rampant sexual appetite may not be for everyone's taste, readers who devoured Block's brilliant Chip Harrison mystery picaresques (which doubled as affectionate pastiches of Nero Wolfe) will find Mapes a worthy (if slightly more mature) successor to Harrison and clamor for more.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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A top notch crime novel by a top notch crime writer.
Wombat1999
One morning he is offered a "detective" job by Cyril Parkus a resident of the gated community.
George Petts
The story was so good that it was very hard for me to put the book down.
Buddy Gott

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Andrew M. Capelli on November 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because it was recommended by Amazon when I purchased an Andrew Vachss novel. The cover looked kind of cheesy, like an old Mickey Spillane paperback, but once I started into it, this book was unlike any other mystery I've ever read. The main character was incredibly refreshing. He is not a "hard boiled" detective- He's just a regular guy. In fact, I felt like I could identify with him in many ways. That was the appeal. Unlike Batman, whom I like because he represents what a human in peak form could accomplish to solve crimes, the main character of this novel is able to proceed through the mystery without any advanced training or skills of any kind. As a bonus, though, he's incredibly humorous and self-deprecating as he makes his way through the plot. If you enjoy Elmore Leonard, Lawrence Bloch or would just like to read a mystery that's a great variation on the standard genre, I highly recommend this book!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Mike Barer on March 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book has suspense, intrigue and more twists than Lombard Street in San Francisco. Harvey Mapes is a security guard at a wealthy apartment complex,low man on a low totem pole. His only excitement is watching Cop shows and reading detective novels. He fantasizes the exciting life of a PI. In almost Wizard Of Oz fashion, a tennant decides to have Harvey trail his wife to which he finds out that their is an added dimension to the trade--pain.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I came across this book while I was searching for ebook downloads of John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee Series (I'm still searching.) Lee Goldberg has an interesting resume, and he offered the opportunity to download and read this book for free--the only catch was that the reader is expected to publish an online review. I took him up on his offer. BTW, he threw in a second book, The Walk, which I am currently enjoying.
Because of the implied connection to Travis McGee, I guess I expected a hero with the same characteristics but in a different setting. Travis is a big, muscular man with a brilliant economist sidekick. Travis has incredible reflexes that allow him to dodge bullets. He knows about weapons, martial arts and all the tricks of the bad guys. For Travis, sex is something noble and therapeutic. He always considers the woman's emotional state and the traumas that have occupied the tale. He offers and accepts a sexual relationship only when it means something deep and cosmically relevant to the moment.
Goldberg's Harvey Mapes dreams of being Travis McGee, but there is little noble about him. He has the world's least interesting and least relevant career. He works the midnight shift manning the security booth at an upscale gated community. He thinks (often) of sex in Anglo-Saxon simplicity.
Then, out of the blue, Harvey is given the opportunity to fulfill a dream born of thousands of hours spent with book and tv detectives. As the case unfolds, he finds that physical attacks really hurt, imminent danger really scares, and bad guys are really bad.
Most importantly, he discovers reserves within himself that rise to the realities--not just the fantasies--of being a private eye.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By George Petts on March 16, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Harvey Mapes, a humorous fellow, is a 29 year old college dropout with a job as a night security guard at a gated community. His boss is obnoxious but he says that there are worse jobs. Not your typical protagonist he lives, without ambition, the life of a loser in a crummy apartment. His love life is almost nonexistent though he has one friend, with occasional benefits, Carol a young woman who lives in a nearby apartment. Harvey reads detective stories. He day dreams of the life of Travis McGee, a fictional detective created by John D. McDonald. One morning he is offered a "detective" job by Cyril Parkus a resident of the gated community. Cyril explains that his wife Lauren is acting strangely and he wants Harvey to follow her during the day to determine what is going on. Harvey sees this job as a chance to live the life, however briefly and incompletely, of his fictional heroes
Harvey follows Lauren for a few days and photographs her as she engages in nothing but innocent pastimes which he reports to Cyril. He also observes that she is a very beautiful woman and develops protective or romantic feelings about her. One day he sees her passing money to a strange man. He suspects that Lauren is a victim of blackmail. He follows the blackmailer and is beaten for his trouble. Harvey allows that he is not one of the tough guys like Travis McGee or Joe Mannix. The last time he had a fight, which he lost, was in the fourth grade. He responds to the beating by wetting himself and crying. When he returns home he is comforted by Carol, they have sex and the relationship appears to be evolving into something more serious.

Shortly, with the help of Carol, he discovers the name of the blackmailer, Arlo and reports it to Cyril. Cyril claims not to know Arlo but Harvey suspects that he does.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Paul D Brazill on January 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
The Man with the Iron-On Badge (2005) is the story of Harvey Mapes, a boring man with a boring life. Mapes loves private eye novels and tv shows and, of course, dreams of being a real life PI. Don't we all? When a neighbour hires him to watch his wife, who is behaving strangely, Harvey watches episodes of Mannix to prepare for his investigation.
The Man with the Iron-On Badge by Lee Goldberg is a classic PI novel full of great lines and twists and turns with a touch of the Rockford Files and The Big Lebowski about it. There are loads of references to PI novels that I've never read but it didn't stop me enjoying it very much.
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