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Elliott Lewis Books In Order

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Publication Order of Bennett Books

Two Heads Are Better (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dirty Linen (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
People in Glass Houses (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
Double Trouble (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bennett's World (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
Here Today, Dead Tomorrow (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death and the Single Girl (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon

Elliott Lewis was a renowned American novelist, producer, director, and actor. He was well known for his involvement in the radio and TV industry during the 20th century. Elliott was popular for having the ability to work in different capacities across multiple genres during radio’s golden age. He had earned the nickname of Mr. Radio for his wide range of work. It was during the later stages of his career that he had shifted his focus towards writing detective novels. As a writer, Elliott was efficient in writing stories in the mystery, suspense, and crime fiction genres. Author Elliott was born as Elliott Bruce Lewis in New York City, New York on November 28, 1917. His parents, Rabinowitz and Julius Lewis, had a second son named Raymond Lewis. Elliott had started staying in Mount Vernon, New York along with his family by 1930.

When he reached his twenties, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in law, but got attracted to acting instead. Elliott studied at Los Angeles City College and obtained a degree in drama and music. Throughout his life, Elliott maintained the habit of reading avidly. He even loved cooking and playing the piano. During his spare time, he used to collect stamps. His collection included some stamps from the collection of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Elliott had married three times, with the first two marriages ending in a divorce. His first wife, Ann Wigton, remained with him for just five days before taking annulment saying that he had tricked her into marrying him with the false claim of starting a family. Elliott’s second marriage lasted for 14 years. His second wife, Cathy Lewis, was an actress and singer. She took a divorce from him on their 14th anniversary with the claim that Elliott was mentally cruel to her.

Finally, Elliott married for the third time with an actress named Mary Jane Croft. They lived together until Elliott’s death in 1990. Elliott had a stepson named Eric Zoller, who was Mary J. Croft’s son from her previous marriage. He was killed in the Vietnam war in January 1967. Elliott’s death had occurred on May 23, 1990, in Gleneden Beach, Portland, Oregon, due to cardiac arrest. When Elliott was with Cathy Lewis, they worked on several radio classics such as Suspense and Voyage of the Scarlet Queen. They used to earn around $90,000 every year together for their work. The debut of author Elliott on radio happened in 1936 when he was just 18 years old. He was noticed by True Boardman in a play in college and was invited to read several lines of Simon Bolivar that was being produced by Boardman.

This role kicked off his radio career and he went on to host several popular shows. As a radio actor, Elliott was in high demand because of his versatility in playing melodramatic to comic roles. In between, Elliott also served in the military during the Second World War. He held the post of a master sergeant and was involved in hosting shows for the Armed Forces. During his tenure, he produced around 120 shows altogether. For his dedicated service in the military, he was awarded the Legion of Merit. After serving for 3.5 years, Elliott finally said goodbye to the Army in 1946. For a short duration, Elliott also acted in movies. Although he maintained that he became nervous very often in facing cameras.

Elliott was critical of TV in the beginning, but went on to work in a few TV shows in the later years. His writing career is comprised of 7 detective novels. All of them are based on a police officer named Fred Bennett, who turns into a private investigator. The Pinnacle Books published all the Fred Bennett novels between 1980 and 1983. Elliott’s last book as an author, Death and the Single Girl, received a Shamus Award nomination in 1984 from the PEWA. For his service in radio, Elliott was nominated for a National Radio Hall of Fame induction in 1999, however, he was never inducted.

The Fred Bennett series written by author Elliott Lewis is comprised of 7 books in total, released from 1980 to 1983. All the seven books of this mystery/thriller series feature the lead protagonist in the role of a crusty cop named Fred Bennett. Other important characters created by Lewis for this series include Christine Walker, Sammy Lee Rogers, Polly, and several others. Lewis has done the settings of the novels in California. The debut books of this series is entitled ‘Two Heads Are Better’. It was released in 1980 by the Pinnacle publication. Initially, it is mentioned that Fred Bennett has himself immersed in hot water up to the neck with his ex-partner, his sexy former wife, and the police force. They do not treat him well thinking that he has brought nothing but a disgrace to the force and the uniform.

Things become so worse that Fred Bennett sets out to prove to each one of them that he is innocent. He begins by using his rotten reputation to his benefit and make sure that his cover is not blown. If that happens, he will be a dead man in no time. Bennett does not consider himself to be a big hero. He just doesn’t want to die in the line of duty and would go to any lengths to keep himself alive. With this intention, Fred Bennett becomes a part of the crime that he was supposed to solve. There is no other choice left with him and he believes it is the only way he can save his skin and catch the culprits.

Another intriguing book written in this series is known as ‘Here Today, Dead Tomorrow’. It was also published by Pinnacle in 1983. This novel opens by mentioning that Sammy Lee Rogers is charged with murder. When Fred Bennett comes to know about his arrest, it baffles him because he had met him a short while ago and he seemed to be a nice guy to him. Upon looking into the details of the victim, Fred realizes that there are other victims murdered in a similar manner. It shocks him to learn that all of them are innocent young girls. Fred Bennett goes on to unravel a weird clan that performs wild orgies on innocent victims and murders them. This clan is known to be involved in the sex trade as well. Fred gathers enough evidence to prove that Sammy Lee Rogers was framed and the real murderer is someone else. After ensuring Sammy’s freedom, he sets out to catch the main culprit and bring down the evil clan.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Elliott Lewis

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