by Jake Jacobs
10 November 2008
I don't think Burns Bannion played backgammon. Burns was a P.I. in the mold of Mike Hammer. He starred in a series of mystery thrillers whose titles always began with the words "Kill Me," e.g. Kill Me In Tokyo, Kill Me In Roppongi, etc. Bannion was an ex-GI who started studying karate while serving with the Occupation Forces and stayed on in Japan. His first adventure appeared in 1958, a year before Ian Fleming described his creation, Odd Job, as "one of the only three black belts in karate in the world." So Burns was there first. (Besides, Odd Job was Korean, so he really should have been a master of taekwondo.) I read the series when I was ten, and figured some day I'd be a master of karate, dally with gorgeous Oriental women, and know every secret hideaway in Tokyo's back alleys.
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