Sunday, July 20, 2014

Further Adventures of Jim Rockford

In honor of Oklahoma-born actor James Garner, who passed away last night at the tender age of 86, I am posting the covers from The Green Bottle (1996) and Devil on My Doorstep (1998), two novels by Stuart M. Kaminsky that were based on Garner’s popular 1974-1980 NBC-TV private-eye series, The Rockford Files. (These came out, by the way, during the same period when Garner was appearing in a short series of Rockford reunion movies on television.)

During an interview I did with Kaminsky in 2002, I brought up the subject of these two books:
JKP: [L]let me ask how you came to write to write your two Rockford novels, The Green Bottle and Devil on My Doorstep. Was this your idea?

SMK: I was and am a big
Rockford Files fan. Tor Books and the series' producers came to me to ask if I might be interested in writing original Rockford novels. They knew of my love for the series. We negotiated, I eagerly agreed and that was it.

JKP: What did you hope to do with Jim Rockford that hadn't already been done in the course of the original series or the spin-off movies that followed it?

SMK: I wanted simply to be true to the
Rockford characters and work within the same vein, so that readers would welcome them back. The one contribution I made--besides, I hope, my creativity and originality--was to depict an older, more resigned Jim Rockford in keeping with James Garner's age.

JKP: You told me not long ago that you don't think you'll be doing any more Rockford novels. Why is that? Did the books not sell well enough?

SMK: The books sold well. I'm not sure why they didn't want me to do more. I would have been happy to do so.
Garner’s sad demise makes me want to go back and re-read both of these novels. Maybe I’ll do that after I have finished marathon-watching episodes of The Rockford Files, to remind myself of just what a fine and magnetic performer Garner could be.

The cover illustrations for the Forge paperback editions of The Green Bottle and Devil on My Doorstep displayed above are credited to versatile artist Steve Chorney.


Ben Boulden said...

These are both excellent novels. I especially enjoyed THE GREEN BOTTLE.


Marty McKee said...

I wish there had been more. Unlike many tie-in novels, you absolutely can hear Garner's/Margolin's/Santos'/etc. voices in the characters, which remain true to their television counterparts (as did the TV-movies). Neither book is groundbreaking, nor should they have been.