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Crypt 39: Coroner's Case 45426 George Reeves Kindle Edition
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All of Henderson’s writings prior to Crypt 39 have been non-fiction. (Speeding Bullet: The Life and Bizarre Death of George Reeves, The Legendary Lydecker Brothers, Rocky Jones, Space Ranger, Behind the Crimson Cape: The Cinema of George Reeves) This is his first novel.
In his Foreword Jan writes, “Finally, I must stress this volume is a work of fiction for entertainment purposes, not a biography. …It’s told from Reeves point of view while he comes to terms with his own demise, and relives his last decade on planet Earth. …What I hope to convey is what he experienced during the last ten years of his life; the ups, downs, good times, hard times, dreams and aspirations. “
Like his predecessor, screenwriter, Joe Gilles (played by William Holden) in the classic film, Sunset Boulevard (1950) Reeves begins the telling of his life from his death, where we discover he is cooling his heels in the deep freeze in Crypt 39 at the mortuary.
What I liked most about Henderson’s novel is the fact that it was written by an author whose life has been steeped in decades of personal factual research and biographical writings on George Reeves, as Superman. All of that knowledge becomes the background for a fictional retelling of his life, but obviously “based in fact.”
In the end, we are presented with not a superman, not a “Man of Steel” but rather, a man made of softer metal. A Man of Copper. Henderson through his use of metafiction, introduces us to something much more akin to the real George Reeves, the man behind the myth. The real man, possessed of vice and virtue, strength and weakness.
Crypt 39, is a quick and enjoyable read and an honest tug on Superman’s cape. Check it out.
Steve Hodel, Retired LAPD Homicide Detective and NYT Bestselling author.
While no one really knows what happened that often studied day, Mr. Henderson - probably the foremost authority on the mystery of George Reeves - spins a plausible and intriguing tale. Is it the truth? No one can say, but in Mr. Henderson's skillful hands, it seems amazingly authentic.