Monday, December 31, 2018

Westerns that I read in 2018

Presented in the order that I read them. Much of my reading this year was clearly influenced by online resources, specifically the Men's Adventure Paperback group on Facebook, and the American Westerns group on Goodreads where I am the group moderator.

52 Weeks, 52 Western Novels: Old Favorites and New Discoveries by Scott Harris and others - It's not really accurate to say that I've finished it. I've read it chunks of it multiple times and continue to refer back to it when I come across a book or author that I know is mentioned in the book, or if I'm in the mood to seek out something new. Anyway, it's a superb reference book with 52 terrific reviews of Western novels from a collection of Western fans and authors. Some of the books are quite popular, others very obscure. Pictures of book covers make up a large portion of the book, and since I love paperback cover artwork this is one of my favorite aspects. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in Westerns, a genre that is sometimes overlooked, but includes some of the best and most exciting fiction of the past century.

Three-Ten to Yuma and Other Stories by Elmore Leonard - Leonard was such a great writer. Every story is captivating and original. I especially liked "The Captives" which was the source of one my favorite Western movies "The Tall T".

The Wild Country (The Wild Country #1) by Bobby Underwood - Essentially a revenge novel that is clearly influenced by Zane Grey, with plenty of elegant descriptive prose and several memorable characters. A well told tale, although not particularly original.

Showdown at War Cloud by Lewis B. Patten - Like many Gold Medal Westerns this novel is essentially a crime story that takes place in the Old West. This setting helps to enhance the typical crime story concept in a couple of ways. First, bigotry against Native Americans and the mob mentality that goes along with it drives the plot, and second, the fear of a retaliatory Sioux attack against the town and the sense of impending doom and escalating tension keep the story moving at a crisp pace. The entire story takes place in a 24 hour period. An intelligent, thought-provoking and somewhat grim novel. I liked it a lot.

Hot Lead #1: The fanzine of vintage western paperbacks - by Justin Marriott and others - Slick production, a slew of paperback cover artwork, and nicely detailed info covering the "Piccadilly Cowboy" books of the 70s and 80s make this an excellent addition to my fanzine collection. The "Piccadilly Cowboy" books were a response the sensibilities of Spaghetti Westerns, ultra-violent and sexually explicit, typically in long-running series, and written by British authors who weren't constrained by the conventions and tropes of the American Western writers of that era. I'll be keeping my eye out for many of the series reviewed here in my frequent used bookstore excursions.

Fargo (Fargo, #1) by John Benteen - The book is a blast featuring over-the-top action, multiple double-crosses, and a sizzling fast moving plot. Neal Fargo is a typical bad-ass pulp action hero, the Doc Savage or Mack Bolan kind, with almost limitless skills when it comes to fighting and seduction. Heavily plot-driven books like this succeed based on the strength of the story and this one is a crackling good one. I'm glad to see that Piccadilly Publishing is releasing the series in ebook format.

Blaze! (Blaze! #1) by Stephen Mertz - There are plenty of mystery-solving married couples in modern fiction with their snappy banter and sexual innuendo, but this is the first time that I've read a book about an Old West gun-slinging married couple. This first book in the Blaze! adult western series is novella sized and packed with plenty of action and some mild sexual content. Take out the sex and gore and this would have been a fine Western pulp magazine story. An entertaining and quick read if you're in the mood for an escapist romp where you don't have to burn much brain power.

Blaze! The Deadly Guns (Blaze! #2) by Robert J. Randisi - Entertaining enough sex and saddlebags oater from veteran Adult Western writer Randisi that continues the story of gunslinging couple J.D. and Kate Blaze who are hired to take care of a gang of cattle rustlers - with a few sex scenes tossed in. The ebook edition that I have ends abruptly as if the final chapter was omitted.

High Fury by Harry Whittington - A terrific Western from Harry Whittington, a prolific writer with remarkable consistency. No surprise, High Fury is a crime novel that takes place in the old West. It tells the story of a youth man on the run after being falsely accused of murder who, while tracking the one man that can prove his innocence, rescues a women who was savagely abused and left for dead by perhaps the same man. Things get more complicated when the son of the Cattle Baron who owns the town is suspected of being an accomplice. He soon must confront a town that has been turned against him, aided only by a sympathetic sheriff named Ox Slaughter and a kindly old doctor. The characters all jump off the page. This would make a fine movie.

Head West! by Ben Bridges (Editor) - Great new magazine with informative articles, interviews, and three Western short stories.

Hot Lead #2: The fanzine of vintage western paperbacks by Justin Marriott (Editor) - Several interesting articles in this issue. Paul Bishop's take on Harry Whittington's novelization of the movie "Charro" is spot on. Whittington manages to translate the treatment for what would become a mediocre movie into a really superb novel. The interview with artist Tony Masero, and articles about British Western comics artist Frank Bellamy, and the German Western pulp and paperbacks of the '60s are insightful. I never realized that Westerns were so popular in Germany. Excellent production standards for this fanzine. The formatting and graphics are impressive. I'm looking forward to issue three.

The Shot Rang Out: 52 Western Short Stories by Scott Harris and 51 friends - A fun and remarkable collection of 52 flash/micro fiction short stories, most of them very good, each one different and revealing the unique voice of each writer. I love the concept for this collection and am thankful to Scott Harris for putting this together. I would like to see more of this type of work. Short stories, and especially Western short stories, have been lacking a visible stage for a long time.

Monte Walsh by Jack Schaefer - This a wonderful novel telling the story of likable cowboy Monte Walsh and his faithful friend Chet Rollins in a series of vignettes that can be humorous, exciting, or touching. Shaefer provides a truly vivid and likely accurate portrayal of cowboy life in the latter half of the 19th century from the simpler times when ranch and cowboy activity was at it’s prime to when the influx of technology such as automobiles began to signal their coming decline and the end of a way of life. This is a special book that made me laugh and made me cry. It transcends the Western genre, much like Lonesome Dove, or The Time it Never Rained. Highest recommendation.

Slocum and the Family Business (Slocum #365) by Jake Logan - Written by the late Ellen Recknor, a talented writer and storyteller of the Old West. This short novel is light on the action, and heavy on the eating for an Adult Western, not necessarily a bad thing. Slocum attacked by a fella named Goose who accuses him of killing his brother, then meets up with a young kid who thinks that Slocum is his father. The three of them end up working together to track down cattle rustlers at the ranch of Hiram, who feeds them well and in great detail. The sex scenes are less awkward than found in most AWS, perhaps because it was written by a woman. Nicely character driven with authentic prose and dialogue I think that this is a fine entry in the series. Book 366 in the series Slocum and the Rustler on the Run is also written by Recknor and continues the storyline. I've added it to the list of books that I'm looking for.

Slaughter At Buzzard's Gulch (Caz: Vigilante Hunter #1) by Scott Harris - This fast paced and compelling short novel tells the story of Caz, a compassionate bounty hunter, who finds himself in a violent battle with an saloon owner and his team of outlaws when he uncovers forced prostitution in the establishment. Caz is an interesting character and is complemented by a strong supporting cast that included Bess, a young reluctant prostitute, and Etta, a feisty boarding house owner. I liked this novel at lot and am looking forward to reading the further adventures of Caz.

Blaze! Bitter Valley (Blaze! #3) by Wayne D. Dundee - I really like Dundee’s take on this series, adding some humor and playful banter between the gunslinging couple, and sex scenes that seem less gratuitous. The Blaze’s are recruited by a former prostitute who has recently married a rich ranch owner and has been “acquainted” with J.D. in the past, sparking some jealousy from Kate. It seems that the heirs to the ranch are not happy with the new wife and soon an elaborate murder mystery becomes the focus of the book. Solid entertainment and probably my favorite in the series thus far.

52 Weeks * 52 Western Movies by Scott Harris and others - A collection of 52 well researched reviews of Western movies written by those that love the genre. The reviews include many that I've seen and many that I am determined to seek out and watch. This is an exceptional resource for movie lovers who enjoy Westerns.

The First Mountain Man by William W. Johnstone - The first entry in the Preacher series, this one tells the story of how the mountain man called Preacher, a self-sufficient loner, goes against his druthers and helps a wagon train of Eastern greenhorns across the untamed West while being pursued by a violent band of outlaws and getting involved with various skirmishes with Indians. Johnstone knows the time period and places exceedingly well giving the novel a sense of authenticity. Preacher is a fascinating character and I loved the banter between the mountain men and the pilgrims. Johnstone's take on this fairly standard plot is a very good one.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Review: The First Mountain Man

The First Mountain Man The First Mountain Man by William W. Johnstone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first entry in the Preacher series, this one tells the story of how the mountain man called Preacher, a self-sufficient loner, goes against his druthers and helps a wagon train of Eastern greenhorns across the untamed West while being pursued by a violent band of outlaws and getting involved with various skirmishes with Indians. Johnstone knows the time period and places exceedingly well giving the novel a sense of authenticity. Preacher is a fascinating character and I loved the banter between the mountain men and the pilgrims. Johnstone's take on this fairly standard plot is a very good one.

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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Review: Blaze! Bitter Valley

Blaze! Bitter Valley Blaze! Bitter Valley by Wayne D. Dundee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really like Dundee’s take on this series, adding some humor and playful banter between the gunslinging couple, and sex scenes that seem less gratuitous. The Blaze’s are recruited by a former prostitute who has recently married a rich ranch owner and has been “acquainted” with J.D. in the past, sparking some jealousy from Kate. It seems that the heirs to the ranch are not happy with the new wife and soon an elaborate murder mystery becomes the focus of the book. Solid entertainment and probably my favorite in the series thus far.

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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Review: Slaughter At Buzzard's Gulch: Caz: Vigilante Hunter: A Western Adventure From The Author of "Mojave Massacre"

Slaughter At Buzzard's Gulch: Caz: Vigilante Hunter: A Western Adventure From The Author of Slaughter At Buzzard's Gulch: Caz: Vigilante Hunter: A Western Adventure From The Author of "Mojave Massacre" by Scott Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This fast paced and compelling short novel tells the story of Caz, a compassionate bounty hunter, who finds himself in a violent battle with an saloon owner and his team of outlaws when he uncovers forced prostitution in the establishment. Caz is an interesting character and is complemented by a strong supporting cast that included Bess, a young reluctant prostitute, and Etta, a feisty boarding house owner. I liked this novel at lot and am looking forward to reading the further adventures of Caz.

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Friday, October 19, 2018

Review: The Hand of Dracula!

The Hand of Dracula! The Hand of Dracula! by Robert Lory
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sure, it's silly, but it's a blast to read. An oddball team consisting of a wheelchair bound professor, who's quite an ass, an enormous Puerto Rican ex-cop, a shape-shifting, mind reading woman enslaved by Dracula, and of course the extremely violent Count who is always on the verge of being out of control, and who hates the professor and subverts his efforts when he can. The oddball team works loosely together to try solve a murder mystery with a wager between the Count and professor on the line. There's a lot of weirdness going on, a Manson-like cult, Mafia hit men, a nefarious funeral director and his brutish hunchback assistant, all of which make for a fun and crazy ride.

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Friday, October 12, 2018

Review: Assault on Soho

Assault on Soho Assault on Soho by Don Pendleton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bolan is ambushed at the airpot by mobsters in London on his way back from his adventure in Paris and is rescued by a beautiful kinky sex club owner. The Mafia raises the price on Bolan's head and recruits an army of assassins and mobsters, including Bolan's friend and mob infiltrator Leo Turrin. Bolan fights for survival with the aid of the sex club owner all while solving a murder mystery and taking more vengeance on the mob. A fun read, albeit a bit wacky, and definitely incentive to keep reading the Executioner series.

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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Review: Kiss and Kill

Kiss and Kill Kiss and Kill by Richard Deming
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Crisp plotting and a nice twist drive this short noir that tells the story of a sociopathic grifter and his wife/accomplice whose scams escalate to murder as they travel across the country bilking single women out of their money. The dollar was clearly worth a lot more when this was published. This era of paperback originals spawned several novels where the narrator was unreliable or a jerk. This is certainly one of the better ones. Recommended.

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Review: Slocum and the Family Business

Slocum and the Family Business Slocum and the Family Business by Jake Logan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Written by the late Ellen Recknor, a talented writer and storyteller of the Old West. This short novel is light on the action, and heavy on the eating for an Adult Western, not necessarily a bad thing. Slocum attacked by a fella named Goose who accuses him of killing his bother, then meets up with a young kid who thinks that Slocum is his father. The three of them end up working together to track down cattle rustlers at the ranch of Hiram, who feeds them well and in great detail. The sex scenes are less awkward than found in most AWS, perhaps because it was written by a woman. Nicely character driven with authentic prose and dialogue I think that this is a fine entry in the series. Book 366 in the series Slocum and the Rustler on the Run is also written by Recknor and continues the storyline. I've added it to the list of books that I'm looking for.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Review: Monte Walsh

Monte Walsh Monte Walsh by Jack Schaefer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This a wonderful novel telling the story of likable cowboy Monte Walsh and his faithful friend Chet Rollins in a series of vignettes that can be humorous, exciting, or touching. Shaefer provides a truly vivid and likely accurate portrayal of cowboy life in the latter half of the 19th century from the simpler times when ranch and cowboy activity was at it’s prime to when the influx of technology such as automobiles began to signal their coming decline and the end of a way of life. This is a special book that made me laugh and made me cry. It transcends the Western genre, much like Lonesome Dove, or The Time it Never Rained. Highest recommendation.

View all my reviews

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Kickitty Stone

I was just reading a book called "Monte Walsh" by Jack Shaefer and the main character comes across a stone that someone has kicked onto a plaza and he gives it a good kick. Brought back a memory from elementary school when I started kicking a stone that I found somewhere on the way walking to school and I kicked it the rest of the way. When I got out of school the stone was still there so I kicked it all the way home. I continued this for several days, leaving it someplace inconspicuous at the school, and even named it - Kickitty Stone. One day after school it wasn't where I left it, a janitor or groundskeeper must have moved it, and I pretty much forgot about it. Funny how things sometimes trigger long forgotten memories. Now back to the book.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Review: The Man Who Chose the Devil: Manville Moon, Detective #2

The Man Who Chose the Devil: Manville Moon, Detective #2 The Man Who Chose the Devil: Manville Moon, Detective #2 by Richard Deming
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Deming ramps up the violence in this PI Manny Moon novella, originally published in Black Mask magazine 1948, while maintaining the solid puzzle plotting that kept me guessing the murderer and motive. More information about this series can be found here - http://www.thrillingdetective.com/moo...

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Review: The Doomsday Affair

The Doomsday Affair The Doomsday Affair by Harry Whittington
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A relentless series of the UNCLE protagonists, Solo and Kuryakin, getting beat up, captured, drugged and chased page after page drive the narrative of this weakly plotted TV tie-in. The extremely sudden ending that left many unanswered questions didn't help either. Maybe my expectations were too high considering that I like both the TV series and the author.

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Saturday, July 7, 2018

Review: The Shot Rang Out: 52 Western Short Stories: Scott Harris: Author of the Brock Clemons Western Series and 51 Friends

The Shot Rang Out: 52 Western Short Stories: Scott Harris: Author of the Brock Clemons Western Series and 51 Friends The Shot Rang Out: 52 Western Short Stories: Scott Harris: Author of the Brock Clemons Western Series and 51 Friends by Scott Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun and remarkable collection of 52 flash/micro fiction short stories, most of them very good, each one different and revealing the unique voice of each writer. I love the concept for this collection and am thankful to Scott Harris for putting this together. I would like to see more of this type of work. Short stories, and especially Western short stories, have been lacking a visible stage for a long time.

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Review: The Juarez Knife: Manville Moon, Detective #1

The Juarez Knife: Manville Moon, Detective #1 The Juarez Knife: Manville Moon, Detective #1 by Richard Deming
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The first entry in the largely forgotten Manville Moon series of private eye stories, this one a novella from the January 1948 issue of Popular Detective pulp magazine. Moon finds himself engaged in a well plotted locked room type of mystery with a first-rate cast of characters and a few surprising twists. Moon is from the hard-boiled school of detectives, although he's not particularly violent, and he's clearly more compassionate than others from this era. I liked that it's long enough to tell an elaborate story in an hour or two of reading without getting bogged down in details or bloat. Excellent pulp fiction and recommended to fans of post-war private eye stories.

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Here's the cover of the January 1948 issue of Popular Detective:

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Quickly tiling book cover images on my Mac for this new background

I wanted to tile a bunch of book images into an image that I could use for this blogs background with the least amount of work possible. I suppose that this background would have come out a lot better if I had taken the time to make the images all the same size. Oh well.

On my MacBook, where I have already installed ImageMagick for ebook conversations, I downloaded 12 covers from my recent Goodreads books. Using "append +" I combined sets of 4 images into 3 horizontal rows, then using "append -" I combined the 3 rows vertically into the single tiled image seen below. When I get inspired I'll do this with images that are all the same size.

Here are the commands:

$ ls
10377600.jpg 14114017.jpg 25018779.jpg 40507810.jpg
10772831-2.jpg 173984.jpg 25792353.jpg 7134155.jpg
12754117.jpg 2466753.jpg 37847394.jpg 9280898.jpg


$ convert +append 10377600.jpg 14114017.jpg 25018779.jpg 40507810.jpg row1.jpg

$ convert +append 10772831-2.jpg 173984.jpg 25792353.jpg 7134155.jpg row2.jpg

$ convert +append 12754117.jpg 2466753.jpg 37847394.jpg 9280898.jpg row3.jpg

$ convert -append row1.jpg row2.jpg row3.jpg tiled.jpg

and the results:


Sunday, July 1, 2018

Review: Hot Lead issue two: The fanzine of vintage western paperbacks

Hot Lead issue two: The fanzine of vintage western paperbacks Hot Lead issue two: The fanzine of vintage western paperbacks by Justin Marriott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Several interesting articles in this issue. Paul Bishop's take on Harry Whittington's novelization of the movie "Charro" is spot on. Whittington manages to translate the treatment for what would become a mediocre movie into a really superb novel. Amazing novelist. The interview with artist Tony Masero, and articles about British Western comics artist Frank Bellamy, and the German Western pulp and paperbacks of the '60s are insightful. I never realized that Westerns were so popular in Germany. Excellent production standards for this fanzine. The formatting and graphics are impressive. I'm looking forward to issue three.

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Review: The Laughing Death

The Laughing Death The Laughing Death by Paul Edwards
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Author Robert Lory penned this installment of the series and sticks to the formula with John Eagle assigned to quash a plot by a mysterious and powerful Chinese master who intends release a deadly nerve toxin designed to kill millions in an attempt to destabilize Asia and take it over. Eagle is equipped with his usual high tech equipment and a couple of disposable assistants in a dangerous trek though Indonesian jungles to the hidden lair of the ruthless master. A fun and entertaining book if you don't mind the violence and misogyny inherent in these type of books, a couple of grimace inducing sex scenes could have been left out.

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Review: Brute

Brute Brute by Con Sellers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Con Sellers manages to mix action, espionage, and romance into a compelling novel that tells the story of Brad Saxon, an immense brute of a man, inclined to bursting through walls, mirrors, and doors - or just ripping them off their hinges, and frequently beating the crap out of guys. Former GI and pro football player Saxon’s unrequited love for a Japanese prostitute that he hasn’t talked to in nine years takes him back to Japan to try to marry her - a bad idea as he stumbles into a complex plot by communists and the Japanese underworld to use hookers to record private conversations of US military officers in a effort to undermine US security. Plenty of hard-boiled violence, and some surprisingly touching and elegant sex scene narrative make this an interesting and fun read.

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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Review: Head West!

Head West! Head West! by Ben Bridges
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great new magazine with informative articles, interviews, and three Western short stories.

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Friday, June 8, 2018

Books that I Have Read Recently

Edwin's bookshelf: read

High Fury
Continental Contract
Kim
Army of Devils
Meanwhile Back at the Morgue
Battle Mask
The Deadly Guns
Blaze!
Death Squad
Hot Lead issue one: The fanzine of vintage western paperbacks
War Against the Mafia
The Brain Scavengers
Fargo
Black Cat Mystery Magazine #2
Showdown at War Cloud
Miami Massacre
Connolly's Woman
Hit: 1955
The Case of the Murdered Model
Malice in Wonderland: The Complete Adventures of Chief Bill Duggan


Edwin's favorite books »

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Review: High Fury

High Fury High Fury by Harry Whittington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another terrific Western from Harry Whittington, a prolific writer with remarkable consistency. No surprise, High Fury is a crime novel that takes place in the old West. It tells the story of a youth man on the run after being falsely accused of murder who, while tracking the one man that can prove his innocence, rescues a women who was savagely abused and left for dead by perhaps the same man. Things get more complicated when the son of the Cattle Baron who owns the town is suspected of being an accomplice. He soon must confront a town that has been turned against him, aided only by a sympathetic sheriff named Ox Slaughter and a kindly old doctor. The characters all jump off the page. This would make a fine movie.

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Saturday, June 2, 2018

Books I'm looking for

John Eagle Expeditor 8,9,10,12,13
Longarm 28,32,44,48
Man from U.N.C.L.E greater than 8
Carter Brown - the Al Wheeler novels
Penetrator novels 1, 3-7
Able Team 28-31 and greater than 41
Dracula books 1, 3-9 by Robert Lory
Ace Double Westerns
Western and Crime novels from the 1950s-60s


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Review: Kim

Kim Kim by Robert Colby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another fine private eye novel from the golden age of paperback P.I.s featuring the first person narrative of former cop Rod Striker, more lecherous than the typical P.I. and his assistant Myra Bailey, who narrates an excellent and thrilling chapter herself, which I thought was a nice touch. The short novel is well plotted and provides a few nice surprises. Striker and Myra are interesting characters and I would like to read more about them, although I can't find any mentions of them being part of a series. It's unfortunate that non-series detective novels seem bound for obscurity. This is a good one.

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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Review: Continental Contract

Continental Contract Continental Contract by Don Pendleton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kind of a James Bond vibe to this one as Bolan goes international with an unexpected visit to Paris and the French Riviera, including the casino in Monte Carlo. All this doesn't lend itself well to the established Executioner premise and there are a few times that Bolan acts out of character, some credibility straining coincidences, and more than a few plot holes. I still found it to be an entertaining read although it doesn't quite match up to the previous entries in the series.

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Review: Meanwhile Back at the Morgue

Meanwhile Back at the Morgue Meanwhile Back at the Morgue by Michael Avallone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A terrific entry in the Ed Noon Private Eye series with a well drawn cast of interesting characters and Avallone's knack for wise-cracking and hard-boiled prose. The book follow classic mystery/whodunit conventions with Noon tracking down clues and then calling the characters together at the end to announce his hard earned conclusion. Loved all the Old Hollywood references. Highly entertaining from start to finish.

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Review: Army of Devils

Army of Devils Army of Devils by G.H. Frost
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book has a reputation as one of the most over-the-top Action novels ever written so I knew what I was getting into when I started it, and although I found the blatant reactionary politics and the stupendous amount of gore distasteful, the book is in general an engaging and entertaining read. The violence and carnage are so extreme that it reaches the point of self-parody for the genre. The romance between alpha-male Lyons and his DEA agent girlfriend Flor is a strongpoint and it elevates the story above most typical Action fare. Much like sleaze and noir books it manages to be both offensive and entertaining which is a combination that I seem to be drawn to.

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Review: Battle Mask

Battle Mask Battle Mask by Don Pendleton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fine entry in the series as Pendleton really fleshes out his Mack Bolan character and the the plot focuses more on intrigue and espionage than on pure action, which can become a bit monotonous and predictable. My favorite of the initial Executioner trilogy.

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Monday, April 9, 2018

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Review: The Sleazy Reader Issue 5

The Sleazy Reader Issue 5 The Sleazy Reader Issue 5 by Justin Marriott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Intersting articles about the sleaze offerings from Wenzell Brown and Harry Whittington, the biker mag "Easy Riders", and the Falconhurst series of plantation sleaze, and others. Loaded with pictures of paperback artwork which I have never seen before.

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Review: Death Squad

Death Squad Death Squad by Don Pendleton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mack Bolan rounds up a team of his former Viet Nam colleagues for a "Death Squad" in his continued war with the Mafia in this action-packed second entry in the series. Much of the action takes place while driving the streets of Los Angeles which reminded me of the Fast and Furious movies. The ten members recruited for the Death Squad seemed a bit excessive and it was hard to keep them straight. A couple of them end up being members of the spin-off series "Able Team" along with a rogue cop who is also introduced in this novel, so this book is probably one of the more essential reads in the Executioner extended universe.

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Friday, April 6, 2018

My Favorite Noir Novels

For sake of clarity about what a noir novel actually is I'll defer to the Otto Penzler definition that he posted several years back - Noir Fiction Is About Losers, Not Private Eyes.








So using the strict "Penzler" definition of noir, here are 10 of my favorites:
  • So Young, So Wicked - Jonathan Craig 
  • The Vengeful Virgin - Gil Brewer 
  • .44 - H.A. DeRosso 
  • Pick-Up - Charles Willeford 
  • Pop. 1280 - Jim Thompson 
  • Black Wings Has My Angel - Elliot Chaze 
  • Brute in Brass - Harry Whittington 
  • Sleep with the Devil - Day Keene 
  • The Name of the Game is Death - Dan J. Marlowe 
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice - James M. Cain 

Any thoughts?

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Review: Blaze!

Blaze! Blaze! by Stephen Mertz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are plenty of mystery-solving married couples in modern fiction with their snappy banter and sexual innuendo, but this is the first that I've read a book about an Old West gun-slinging married couple. This first book in the Blaze! adult western series is novella sized and packed with plenty of action and some mild sexual content. Take out the sex and gore and this would have been a fine Western pulp magazine story. An entertaining and quick read if you're in the mood for an escapist romp where you don't have to burn much brain power.

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