Stands up extremely well, in spite of (or maybe because of) its age ... Each of his Cool & Lam novels contained the holy trinity of the crime fiction of the era --- titillation, violence and a twisty, puzzling mystery --- and The Count of 9 is no exception ...This reissue of The Count of 9 serves as a reminder of both what we had and what we lost in the golden era of paperbacks, right down to the new and eye-riveting cover by the incomparable Robert McGinnis. It is required reading for any fan of hard-boiled detective fiction who is interested in where the wellspring of his or her favorite novels came from, at least in part.
Exudes mid-century American cool, with loads of snappy dialogue. The action is heavy in this pulp novel, and indeed action and dialogue more than make up for a rather pedestrian plot. There is no locked room mystery here nor labyrinthine blackmail scheme in the mold of Raymond Chandler. The Count of 9 deals with a prosaic crime with a predictable conclusion, but that does not matter ... serves as a reminder (or an introduction) to Gardner’s seminal talents.