Dan J. Marlowe (1914-1986), a master of the gun-and-fist suspense novel, has been called “hardest of the hard-boiled” by no less a figure than bestselling horror writer Stephen King. King dedicated his 2005 novel, The Colorado Kid, to Marlowe. In 1967, The New York Times' Anthony Boucher called Marlowe one of the country's top writers of original softcover suspense, numbering him with such authors as John D. MacDonald, Brett Halliday, Donald Hamilton, Richard Stark (a pseudonym for Donald Westlake), and Edward Aarons. Alone and in collaboration, Marlowe wrote more than 25 thrillers. Some of his best work featured an amoral bank robber, Earl Drake, who later morphed into a rebellious but effective secret agent.