Collin Wilcox

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(CC) Photo: Hayford Peirce
Collin Wilcox at a party in San Francisco in 1991

Collin Wilcox (September 21, 1924, Detroit, Michigan – July 12, 1996, Berkeley, California) was an American mystery writer who published 30 books in 30 years. His first book, in 1967, was The Black Door, which featured a sleuth possessing extrasensory perception. His major series of novels, however, was about Lieutenant Frank Hastings of the San Francisco Police Department and was set in the Bay Area. Titles in the Hastings series include Hire a Hangman, Dead Aim, Hiding Place, Long Way Down and Stalking Horse. For a number of years the Hastings books were extremely popular in Japan; the last Hastings story was originally written in serial form and published in Japan as chapters in a magazine. It was only several years after its Japanese appearance that it was published in the United States.

Two of Wilcox's last books, Full Circle and Find Her a Grave, featured a new hero-sleuth, Alan Bernhardt, an eccentric theater director also based in San Francisco. Wilcox also published under the pseudonym "Carter Wick".

However, Wilcox's most famous series-detective was created in Hollywood: Sam McCloud, the New Mexico deputy sheriff who solves New York City criminal case. The "urban cowboy" was brought to life on television by Dennis Weaver in the 1970-1977 TV series McCloud. Wilcox also wrote three novelizations based on scripts from the series: McCloud (1973), The New Mexican Connection (1974), and The Park Avenue Executioner (1975).

For many years Wilcox maintained a small one-engined airplane at the Oakland International Airport, which he flew enthusiastically throughout California. He died from cancer at the age of 72.

See also