Private Investigator, Marty Cole is hired by a family lawyer named Hamilton, and newly widowed Helene Mark to track down Helene's wayward step-daughter Alice who had taken to performing in seedy strip joints and night clubs along the USA/Mexico border.
With Alice's estranged father having recently passed away from a heart complication, the young and promiscuous performer stood to inherit a handsome sum - if Cole could find her that was.
Strangely Helene didn't have any photographs of Alice so identifying the young woman would come down to a description and a likeness to the deceased father. Not much for Cole to go on. Yet, the pulp published in 1975 opens with Cole having successfully tracked down Alice only for her to die a violent death in a hotel room on the night prior to her appointment with Hamilton and stepmother Helene.
Murder most macabre leads Cole down the proverbial rabbit hole and into a very real deadly game of cat and mouse as he tries to put the pieces of a shattered puzzle together.
Never shying away from the strengths of pulp, there's plenty of sex, wanton women, and hard men brawling, maiming, and killing each other, along with the obligatory twist which turns the story on its head and leaves everyone reeling - reader included.
My rating: 5/5 stars. Alice Dies Twice is a solid read from start to finish; one I think would sit perfectly in the Hard Case Crime line. Cole is an interesting, albeit stock standard PI while Angela, his secretary, is his sexy sidekick with some smarts and get-up-and-go of her own.
I was unable to find anything more about the author nor if there are any more books floating around featuring Marty Cole - I sure hope there is...