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Doctor Coffin: The Living Dead Man (Thrilling Detective Stories) Paperback – March 14, 2007
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
About the Author
John Wooley has written novels, nonfiction, screenplays, journalism, and documentaries. His other books include the seminal horror classics "Old Fears" and "Death's Door", written with Ron Wolfe, and "How to Make It in the Music Business", written with music impresario Jim Halsey. Wooley lives in Oklahoma, where he is working on his next novel.
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So, who is Doctor Coffin? We learn more about him in the first story, which serves as a sort-of origin story. We learn he is really well known character actor Del Manning, known as the "Man of 500 Faces", as all his roles he is in make-up. While he is Del Manning, he is ALSO Doctor Coffin, the owner of a successful chain of funeral homes in the Hollywood area, who has been assembling a group of assistants. Why, is not too clear.
In the first story, we learn that Del Manning is yet another alias. He is really Jimmy Delman, who got in trouble with the law at a young age, and was jailed, but later escaped. Now, after a criminal has killed his brother, he is bringing that criminal to justice. It was surprising to me that he gave out this info to a police officer who should want to arrest him, rather then work with him to bring in other criminals.
The first several stories are set in Hollywood, around the movie industry. Seeing as how Sheehan had worked for years as a scriptwriter in Hollywood, this is natural. Later stories seem more set in New York and that area, with Doctor Coffin now called "Skullface" by the underworld. Wish the other stories were included to see if this was a shift in the stories over time.
In the first couple of stories, Doctor Coffin is assisted by a strange group who sadly are pretty much dropped after the 2nd story. Only a couple would re-appear in very minor roles in any of the other stories, they mainly focusing on Doctor Coffin alone. Perhaps it was found to be hard to work in these additional characters in the other stories.
Overall, a good collection of well-written stories.