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Kill Now, Pay Later


Kill Now, Pay Later

seems like yesterday that Mike Shayne, a private investigator in
the Mike Hammer mold, was all over the place. Created by Brett
Halliday, he was in a series of paperbacks, appeared on a
television show and even had a mystery magazine. Halliday, however,
was a pseudonym for Robert Terrall, who wrote under a number of
different names. One of his better-known series, written as
“Robert Kyle,” featured a PI named Ben Gates, a
softer-boiled version of Shayne. Gates did insurance and guard
work, occasionally got in trouble and always wound up with a lady
or two. And the stories? Well, they were excellent.


Now, Hard Case Crime blesses readers with KILL NOW, PAY LATER, a
Ben Gates mystery that has been out of print for well over 40 years
but stands up amazingly well in spite of --- or maybe because of
--- the passage of time. The novel begins with Gates on an
insurance company job with what is supposed to be a very easy
assignment: guarding the presents at a very high-class wedding.
It’s one of those tasks where no one really expects any
trouble, and all Gates has to do is maintain a presence, if you
will, to discourage anyone whose thoughts stray toward walking off
with something.


Problems begin, however, when someone slips sleeping pills into
Gates’s coffee. When he comes to the office the next morning,
Gates is in huge trouble. Money is missing, two people are dead and
Gates is being solemnly assured that he will never get insurance
company work again. Suspects abound --- all are female, beautiful
and uncontrollably attracted to him. Before he is through, Gates is
involved in a caper involving pornography, blackmail and murder.
While all the trademarks of the genre are here --- fisticuffs,
double-crosses and a good deal of tawdry temptation --- there is
also a first-rate, tantalizing mystery in KILL NOW, PAY LATER that
clamors for the reader’s attention from first page to


Terrall is still with us, a solid 93 and counting. It is fitting
that in his salad years a new generation of readers should become
acquainted with him, while several older generations should
re-familiarize themselves with him.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 22, 2011

Kill Now, Pay Later
by Robert Terrall

  • Publication Date: August 28, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Mass Market Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Hard Case Crime
  • ISBN-10: 0843957751
  • ISBN-13: 9780843957754