Monday, November 18, 2019

The Durango Kid - The Fighting Frontiersman (1946)

An okay B-Western that doesn't compare very favorably with the Roy Rogers or Hopalong Cassidy films. Grizzled prospector named Cimmaron stumbles upon the long lost Santa Ana's treasures then blows it by tipping off a saloon girl named Trixie who then tips off a gang of criminals that kidnap Cimmaron and hold him hostage until he spills the beans about where the treasure is hidden. Trixie then inexplicably sends a note to Ranger Steve Reynolds, played by Charles Starrett, and his sidekick Smiley Burnette, oddly played by an actor by the same name, to rescue Cimmaron. Steve has a secret identity of the Durango Kid and during his rescue attempt he changes into a Durango Kid outfit and pretty much continues what he’s been doing. Not sure why he feels he needs an inconvenient secret identity. I could have done with less musical numbers, less wooden acting from Starrett, and less of the stooge-like antics of Smiley.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Harry Whittington Movie Tie-Ins - Ebooks

Harry Whittington wrote a couple of movie tie-ins that I'm aware of - "Charro!" and "Temptations of Valerie". I created ebooks of both of these from scans that I found online. I'm pretty sure that the movie studios that own the rights to these are not interested in them ever being reprinted, so here they are. In the name of preservation. Enjoy!

Charro! by Harry Whittington - EPUB
Charro! by Harry Whittington - MOBI

Temptations of Valerie by Harry Whittington - EPUB
Temptations of Valerie by Harry Whittington - MOBI

Writer Paul Bishop has a terrific post on his blog regarding Charro! and the eye-catching Ron Lesser cover art called Wandering Down The Rabbit Hole that I highly recommend reading.

The movie "Valerie" can be found on YouTube by searching for "ekberg valerie". The description is in Spanish although the movie is English.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Review: Mountain Girl

Mountain Girl Mountain Girl by Cord Wainer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mountain Girl, an inexplicable title, tells the story of hard-boiled Rick Case who arrives in a remote mining town in Colorado to run a friend’s general store and is immediately beaten to a pulp. It turns out that the mine is owned by a cruel and ruthless woman named Crystal who has control of the whole town. Rick quickly falls in love with Jan, the wife of the mine boss, who he accidentally kills. Turn out that Crystal is illegally exporting uranium from the mine and an FBI agent named Wilson is quietly observing while posing as a tourist. Since Rick has the gumption to stand up to Crystal she decides that he would be a fine new mine boss, and Rick takes the job in order to assist the FBI investigation. This sets the stage for a terrific thriller with Crystal becoming increasingly psychotic and Rick playing both sides while keeping his romance with Jan intact. A unique and engaging story from the dependable Thomas B. Dewey writing as Cord Wainer.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Gun Feud by W. C. Tuttle - Ebooks

An out-of-print W. C. Tuttle book that I converted into ebook format from a scan. It's not a Hashknife Hartley and Sleepy Stevens novel. All the cowboy lingo durn near busted my spell checker! My short review is below:

Bookkeeper Orville Woodruff receives an 15 year old letter indicating that he is the heir to a lost gold mine in Arizona. He quits his job and travels to the location where he meets the lovely Norma and crime-solving cowboys Micky and Spook. Tuttle weaves a complex plot with kidnappers, cattle rustlers, Mexican bandits, gold mines, and a wealth of interesting characters. A fun read with a hard-boiled mystery plot and plenty of humorous touches, sort of a cozy cowboy mystery.

Gun Feud by W. C. Tuttle - PDF
Gun Feud by W. C. Tuttle - EPUB
Gun Feud by W. C. Tuttle - MOBI

*** Bonus: Here are two old radio shows with narration by W.C. himself.

Hashknife and Sleepy in The Double Cross and The Range War from 1950.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Review: The Legend of Roxy Doyle

The Legend of Roxy Doyle The Legend of Roxy Doyle by J.R. Roberts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first book in the Gunsmith Adult Western spin-off series tells the origin story of Roxy Doyle, a.k.a Lady Gunsmith, a pistol-packing beauty in search of her estranged bounty hunter father. The author does a nice job of portraying the young Roxy as being a bit rough around the edges, in contrast with the mature Roxy, a polished and confident gunslinger as he navigates the two timelines that make up the novel. The dialog driven narrative will be familiar to readers of the Gunsmith books, although the female perspective only serves to make the three required sex scenes seem even more nonessential and awkward. I really liked the surprise appearances of Belle Starr, and Frank and Jesse James and how they were integrated into the story. The plotting, pacing, and dialog are the author’s strong points and they are on display in this short novel making it hard to put down. An easy and entertaining read.

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Saturday, October 26, 2019

College Man by John D. MacDonald - PDF

I came across a John D. MacDonald story that I had never seen before in a scan of the February 1958 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. It turns out that it has never been anthologized, so pretty much lost for 60 plus years. A little OCR work, editing, and conversion to PDF resulted in the file linked below. This is a great little story that really shows JDMs skills at creating instantly likable characters, and his uncanny ability to ratchet up the tension.

College Man by John D. MacDonald PDF

Here is the original scanned images in CBZ format

Review: Murder Mistress

Murder Mistress Murder Mistress by Robert Colby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A superb take on the heist theme telling the tale of Scott Daniels, an unemployed TV announcer with an alcohol problem who accidentally finds clues to a bank robbery and decides to investigate in order to claim the reward money. While Scott and his wife Myra start collecting clues to solve the crime, the clever couple who have absconded with all of the hold-up money struggle to keep stiffed partner, the brutish Roy, from getting his share. The set up and caper is told in flashbacks and in nice detail. Well plotted and expertly paced. Another page turner and highly recommended for anyone that enjoys a good heist story.

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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Review: Mourn the Hangman

Mourn the Hangman Mourn the Hangman by Harry Whittington
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Steve Blake, a private eye assigned to investigate a corrupt businessman’s South American operations returns home to find his wife murdered, an assumed frame job. Blake goes vigilante in a relentless one-man pursuit of his wife’s killer which puts him at odds with the police, his detective partner, and the powerful businessman’s entourage. A nice take on the “guy on the run seeking revenge” theme that keeps the pages turning. The dialog and prose is strong, although the plot relies a lot on coincidence, with Blake always showing up just in time to find someone just killed. A very entertaining, albeit somewhat flawed, page burner.

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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Review: Chicago Wipe-Out

Chicago Wipe-Out Chicago Wipe-Out by Don Pendleton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bolan arrives in Chicago, a hotbed of mob activity, and vows destruction of the Mafia families that control the corrupt city. Rather than battle the mob directly, Bolan uses the information provided by a man who had researched the corruption, a man who paid a steep price when his life was devastated by revenge, to identity and manipulate the families into a war with each other. It was interesting that the the book focused more on the Mafia characters than Bolan himself, and that the obligatory love interest, a dancer named Jimi, was merely a minor character. Another very good entry in the long-running series.

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Sunday, October 6, 2019

Review: The Road's End

The Road's End The Road's End by Albert Conroy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Albert Conroy is a pseudonym of Marvin H. Albert, a writer of many fine crime and western novels. For a while in the middle 1900s there were plenty of movies and books with an amnesia storyline, where someone gets bonked on the head and doesn’t remember anything. In this short novel, Dan Ginger, a philandering jackass, wakes up after being left for dead with no recall of what happened to him and soon is accused of the murder of a young woman that he has been fooling around with. Dan has to try to solve the murder, which turns out to be a complex web of people and events that he needs to piece together without the aid of his memory. This is truly an excellent novel with razor sharp plotting and pacing, and many vibrant characters. Best amnesia book I’ve ever read. An easy five stars.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Review: Out of Time's Abyss

Out of Time's Abyss Out of Time's Abyss by Edgar Rice Burroughs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The third entry in Burroughs Caspak trilogy introduces a new heroic main character named Bradley, one of the crewmen from Fort Dinosaur. Bradley, Tom Billings and Tyler Bowen, the main characters from the first two books, are pretty much indistinguishable anyway. The story has been building up to an encounter with the mysterious and predatory flying Weiroo people and when Bradley is captured he becomes a one-man action hero in his battle to escape from his violent captors and rescue a lovely native woman. Burroughs does a terrific job answering the unresolved questions from the first two books, and tying up all the loose ends. Great pulp action/adventure storytelling from a master.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Hopalong Cassidy Ultimate Collector's Edition (66-Film Collection)

My recent Hopalong Cassidy movie reviews have been fueled by this collection which I purchased online recently. All 66 of the Hoppy films are represented here in restored condition and I've been impressed with the quality of the picture and sound. I'm sure that I'll tire of watching these before I see them all, however I've really enjoyed the ones that I've watched so far. I picked up this DVD set on sale at Here's a link Hopalong Cassidy Ultimate Collector's Edition (66-Film Collection)

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Western Pulp: 10 Story Western - May 1940

I picked this one up at PulpFest primarily for the Harry Olmsted story, which I'm reading today. I can't say that I know much about the other writers that include Bart Cassidy, John G. Pearsol, Tom W. Blackburn, Moran Tudury, William Benton Johnson, Ruel McDaniel, Costa Carousso, Gunnison Steele, and H. M. S. Kemp, nor who painted this exciting cover.

Review: The Land That Time Forgot

The Land That Time Forgot The Land That Time Forgot by Edgar Rice Burroughs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The first book in Burroughs Caspak trilogy is one of the most famous of the “Lost World” type adventures and rightly so with high pulpy action that includes submarines, sabotage, prehistoric beasts, and romance. The linear narrative is provided by Tyler Bowen’s journal which he seals in a thermos and tosses into the ocean and the end, a nice setup for the next book. The inventive biology where tribes of men are at different stages of evolution is hinted at here which helps link the succeeding stories in this classic pulp adventure trilogy.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Movie Review: Hopalong Cassidy Returns (1936)

One-legged miner, aptly named Peg Leg, finds gold but before he can stake a claim he is is killed by the criminals that run the lawless town. Windy is working for the town newspaper for some reason and he and the publisher call Hoppy in as the new sheriff to tame the lawless town. Hotheaded Johnny has left the series and seems to be replaced by Buddy, Hoppy's goofy tenderfoot nephew. Another fine entry in the series with a truly terrifying gunslinger outlaw named Blackie, and an unexpected budding romance between Hoppy and the villainous woman Lily that owns the saloon. I liked this one a lot.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Review: Deadman's Lament

Deadman's Lament Deadman's Lament by Linell Jeppsen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Young Matthew Wilcox, orphaned and in the care of a shopkeepers family is orphaned again and captured by a group of violent outlaws. One of the outlaws named “Top Hat” is exceedingly psychotic and kills and sodomizes without conscience. Matthew manages to escape and vows vengeance on Top Hat. Many years later Matthew is now sheriff and word of Top Hat’s location sets the stage for a showdown. The book is a well written revenge tale. I can’t say that it breaks any new ground, although the Top Hat character is one of the most vile antagonists that I’ve read in a Western. Plenty of violence and gore, so not recommended for the faint of heart. Overall an enjoyable book.

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Friday, August 23, 2019

Review: Mac Detective Series 05: The Brave, Bad Girls

Mac Detective Series 05: The Brave, Bad Girls Mac Detective Series 05: The Brave, Bad Girls by Thomas B. Dewey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The sixth book in the “Mac” series of detective books is an ambitious one, telling the stories of several women, a young debutante charged with murder, a teacher accused of being a communist sympathizer, her principal (and a love interest for Mac), and Mac’s friend (another love interest!) who are all involved in a complex web of relationships that include a slew of other characters. This makes the book somewhat difficult to follow without paying strict attention. This is not necessarily a weakness. The plot, although complex, holds together beautifully and the journey is well worth it. Definitely one of my favorites of the series and recommended for readers that have an affinity for books with multiple plot lines and very many characters. There is a lot of depth here and I am adding this to my list of books that I intend to reread someday.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Review: The People That Time Forgot

The People That Time Forgot The People That Time Forgot by Edgar Rice Burroughs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second book in Burrough’s Caspak trilogy finds young Tom Billings mounting a expedition to find missing friend Tyler Bowen, who was lost in the previous novella. High adventure ensues with Billings partnering with a native girl to survive the various creatures and murderous tribes of the inhabitants of Caspak, where each tribe makes up a subset of human biological evolution. The book was written over 100 years ago has the stale prose of that time, although once I got past *that* annoyance the story sucked me in and I couldn’t put it down. The world-building and inventive biology were very impressive, and the story was teeming with adventure and action. The story requires dedicated reading due to the complexity and the odd names. If I had been reading another book concurrently I would surely gotten lost and stalled out.

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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Review: The House on the Cliff

The House on the Cliff The House on the Cliff by Franklin W. Dixon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I remember this one being one of my favorites when I read it long ago and I can see why. It's all there - the adventure, the cliffhangers, the corny dialogue - just as I remember it. A very enjoyable short novel.

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Monday, July 29, 2019

Review: The Mean Streets

The Mean Streets The Mean Streets by Thomas B. Dewey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The fifth book in the acclaimed “Mac” series of detective books starts off by setting low expectations with a clunky beginning that has Mac posing as a High School baseball coach hired to work a juvenile delinquency problem in a unnamed urban area near Chicago. Fortunately the book picks up steam in a hurry with a few murders, organized crime, and jailbait named Stella. Mac partners up with a mysterious and alluring woman that he calls “The Duchess”, a grieving mother and alcoholic who is somehow tied up in this whole mess. The book works well as a period piece from the 1950s hype of juvenile delinquency and as a top-notch detective story. Recommended.

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Movie Review: Call of the Prairie (1936)

During Hoppy's absence hotheaded Johnny creates a another fine mess when he falls in with a group of outlaws led by a guy named Porter who proceed to frame Johnny for a shooting and a robbery. Gabby Hayes plays one of the outlaws called "Shanghai", which seemed really weird since he was introduced as Windy in the previous movie, who has a daughter that doesn't realize that her father is an outlaw and she of course falls for handsome Johnny. The outlaws then rob the town bank and Hoppy has to solve the crime, apprehend the outlaws, and try to clear Johnny's name. Enjoyable enough Cassidy flick. Seems like Hopalong should be getting pretty weary of Johnny's penchant for causing catastrophes by now.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

PulpFest 2019

Well I made my arrangements to attend PulpFest this year and am looking forward to it. This is the first time that I've attended in Pittsburgh as opposed to Columbus, so I'll be flying instead of driving. This may limit my haul since I'm not really interested in shipping stuff back. I've got too much stuff that I need to read now anyway, right? The only thing I'm missing is now transportation from the the airport to the hotel and back. I guess that a taxi or Uber will work unless anyone knows something more cost effective.

Here a link to the event page with lots of terrific articles about the event and Pulp magazines and their influences in general -

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Movie Review: Bar 20 Rides Again (1935)

An outlaw boss they call "Nevada", a.k.a. Mr. Perdue, has not only been hitting on Johnny's girl Margaret, but also rustling her father's cattle. Cassidy receives a message to help, but before him and Red can leave, the hotheaded Johnny heads alone out to win Margaret back. Hoppy poses as a gambler to infiltrate the outlaws and runs into a grizzled old windbag that he nicknames Windy. The four of them team up to battle the outlaws in an exciting climax. Another fine Hopalong Cassidy film, and an important one since it introduces George (Gabby) Hayes as Windy.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Movie Review: The Eagle's Brood (1935)

The second film in the long running Hopalong Cassidy series is a really good one. It tells the story of little Pablo, the grandson of the notorious bandit El Toro. Pablo is being hunted by the outlaws that killed his parents in a robbery and is being hidden from them by a saloon dancer. El Toro conveniently saves Cassidy's life and in return Hoppy vows to find and return Pablo to him. Nicely plotted with a surprising number of disturbing deaths, a fair amount of gunplay, and an exciting fistfight, this entry is less juvenile than some of the latter films and is highly recommended for fans of old B-movie westerns.

Here is a link to the IMDb page

Friday, July 12, 2019

Review: The Buff Runners

The Buff Runners The Buff Runners by Jory Sherman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Gunn, the protagonist of this series, and his pal Jed Randall ride into San Antonio and sign up to crew for a buffalo hunt with John Masters, a long-time hunter who happens to have a beautiful wife and a couple of hot and horny daughters. A rival crew that is consumed by hated towards Masters intends to use any means necessary to sabotage the hunt in their favor. They are also infuriated by Gunn and vow vengeance. The author Jory Sherman writes wonderful prose and the first half of the book is terrific, however it meanders into a lengthy exposition of the buffalo hunt with a few sex scenes and a couple of sniper attacks tossed in that don’t add much value - effectively turning the second half into a real slog. The brutal buffalo killing is described in great detail with excessive gore that I found especially distasteful. An exciting climax pulls it out of the mire, but unfortunately too late for redemption.

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Friday, June 28, 2019

Review: Dead Man Running

Dead Man Running Dead Man Running by Stephen Mertz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The final entry in the significant, albeit unnamed, Executioner trilogy finds Mack Bolan, using his alias John Phoenix, back in the USA after being framed for a political murder by the KGB and still seeking vengeance from those responsible for the brutal assault on Stony Man Farm. He quickly discovers a conspiracy between the KGB and the Mafia, who are both after him, and Bolan racks up an impressive body count while uncovering clues that lead him to the very heights of the US government. The novel delivers the goods for the riveting spy/espionage action and the relentless violence. Mertz ties up the loose ends to a satisfying and surprising conclusion, and sets in motion a major transformation in the Mack Bolan mythology.

My reviews of the other two books in the trilogy:
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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Review: Hostage for a Hood

Hostage for a Hood Hostage for a Hood by Lionel White
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Young newlywed Joyce has the misfortune of wrecking the get-away car of a quarter-million dollar armored car robbery and is taken hostage along with her poodle. This messes up the carefully planned heist and White expertly plots the criminal’s responses to the unexpected twists that keep popping up. There are no living witnesses to the crash and there is no obvious connection between her disappearance and the robbery, both events under investigation by the police, with a bias towards solving the big heist. The interjection of her loving and relentless husband Bart into the investigation helps to connect the dots leading to an explosive climax. This book works well as a crime caper story, hostage story, and a police procedural. White is a master of crime capers and adding the other elements raise this novel to more than a just a typical heist story. Another superior Gold Medal crime paperback.

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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Review: Texas Vigilante

Texas Vigilante Texas Vigilante by Bill Crider
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The sequel to the outstanding revenge classic Outrage at Blanco is just as captivating, telling the story of Ellie Taine, the avenger in the first book, now threatened by a psychotic escaped prisoner named Angel Ware who is looking for revenge against those that Ellie loves the most. Ellie now knows what achieving revenge can do to a person, and the shift in perspective is a nice touch. The late Bill Crider was a marvelous author, a master craftsman of writing, and the short novel is perfectly paced with many memorable characters and dialogue. The last third of the book is relentless and impossible to put down. It saddens me that there will never be another Ellie Taine book. This book, and well as OUTRAGE AT BLANCO, are both highly recommended.

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Saturday, June 15, 2019

Review: Bullet Bridge

Bullet Bridge Bullet Bridge by Gordon Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Sergeant in this series is named Mahoney - brutish, crude, horny, and most importantly a skilled warrior in this seventh entry in the historical WWII fiction book by Len Levinson writing as Gordon Davis. The book takes place after the allied victory in Metz, during the assault on the Nazi occupied city of Saarlautern. Although Mahoney is kind of an asshole he is charismatic and noble enough to be likable, which keeps the reader engaged in the fast military action that includes plenty of colorful and lewd dialogue. A couple of unfortunate sex scenes could have been left out as they bordered uncomfortably on assault. Levinson does a great job of not glorifying war with his portrayals of inept leadership, untimely deaths, cowardice, and loss. A fine book for those that enjoy military action books and don’t mind lots of gore and profanity.

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Saturday, June 1, 2019

Review: Terminal Velocity

Terminal Velocity Terminal Velocity by Alan Bomack
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Terminal Velocity is the middle book of an important transitional trilogy in the “Bolanverse” and is the first of the “Super Bolan” books, a whopping 380 pages, more the twice the size of a traditional Mack Bolan book. I was dubious that any author, Alan Bomack - a pseudo for Davide Wade in this work, could pull off an action/adventure book of this length but he handles it with aplomb, weaving three stories into a seamless tale of international espionage. The major plot arc tells the story of Bolan stealing a prototype Soviet helicopter in Afghanistan and the KGB effort to successfully frame the big guy for a high-profile assassination, stranding him overseas, on the run from the law, alone in his effort to clear himself, and still reeling from the devastating attack on his home base in the first book of the trilogy. A fine successor to the excellent Day of Mourning.

Here are my reviews of the other two books in the trilogy:
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Sunday, May 19, 2019


TWENTIETH CENTURY WESTERN WRITERS published in 1991 by editor Geoff Sadler manages to insult both Adult Western readers and writers in the preface to the second edition.

"The final transformation-perversion might be a better word-of the Western was the birth of the adult Western, known to the publishing industry as the "wicked" or "porno" Western. Time magazine had noted the existence of the type and called it by name in 1959 ("The American Morality Play," 30 March), but it really began to flourish in the 1970's. Its elements were brutality for its own sake and explicit sex in large quantities. The paperback editors discovered that there was a tremendous appetite for these commodities and began producing them for the mass market. Most of the books came in series named for the central character, and a house name was used for the author. Since titles in a given series appeared as often as once a month, a battery of writers was needed to tum them out. For money, established craftsmen toiled anonymously to give bloodthirsty or sex-starved readers what they wanted."

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Review: Coyote Courage

Coyote Courage Coyote Courage by Scott Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very solid and well written traditional western introducing Brock Clemons, a young man traveling the West by himself, in search of something that is explained much later in the book. Brock is not a typical gunslinger, more altruistic and sympathetic than violent. Supporting characters are well drawn, especially the love interest Sophie, the valiant boy Huck, and the main villain Kurt. A story told with enough tension to keep my interest, and a satisfying ending that neatly wrapped up the loose ends. My only qualm is that it runs a bit long after the climax and it can be a bit wordy at times.

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Saturday, May 4, 2019

Review: Boot Heel Range

Boot Heel Range Boot Heel Range by Edwin Booth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Edwin Booth was another respected author of pulp westerns who turned to paperback originals when the pulp market died. This early novel tells the story of a young rancher trying to fill his dead older brothers shoes in the eyes of his crippled father who fears losing the ranch, since he has little respect for his younger son’s ability to manage the ranch and lead a cattle drive. I like that the young man uses smarts instead of guns to dig himself out several perilous situations as a deadly range war brews and then bursts, throwing the cattle drive into turmoil. This book is really good. Too bad that Booth is virtually unknown these days. He's a fine writer.

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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Review: Native Girl

Native Girl Native Girl by Harry Whittington
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Coles can’t help falling for his best friend’s wife in this steamy tale of sexual obsession. The action takes place in pre-statehood Hawaii, a mysterious place filled with passion and sensuality that practically sweats off the pages, especially during the drunken luau where the fires burning between Coles and the seductive Lani reach their peak. As expected, everything goes horribly wrong in a hurry and Coles find himself trapped by the manipulative Lani as things continue to spiral out of control. Another fine page-turner from Harry Whittington. Recommended.

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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Review: The Hostaged Island

The Hostaged Island The Hostaged Island by L.R. Payne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second book in the series is conceptually strong, telling the story of a group of violent outlaw bikers working in cahoots with a rogue Soviet agent to capture and hold for hostage Catalina Island off the coast of southern California. The narrative shifts from the incursion of Able Team and their efforts to rescue the 1500 local residents of the island that are being held captive, the captives themselves plotting a rebellion against the bikers guarding them, and a small band of locals that have evaded the outlaws and are planning their own attack. Tightly plotted and fast moving, this a wild ride of a book, although some may be turned off by the copious amounts of violence and gore inherent in these types of books.

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Review: Hell In Heaven

Hell In Heaven Hell In Heaven by Lee Goldberg
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Dead Man: Hell in Heaven finds Matt Cahill on the road where he finds himself trapped in a mysterious village where he is hailed as a hero, a role that Matt is unwilling to accept - he only wants to get the hell out of there. A linear, albeit wacky plot keeps the book moving at a nice pace. It bothered me that Matt was oblivious to the strategy of playing along with the hero role until he found a means of escaping, but that would have trashed the plot which already has its share of holes. These books have faults, however they have all been quick and entertaining reads. I’ll continue to read them when I’m in the mood for bite-sized horror novellas.

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Friday, April 19, 2019

My Baseball Simulation Dice Game

When I was a kid and crazy about baseball I used to spend a lot of time playing statistically accurate baseball dice games that were based on actual baseball stats, both current players and players in the past. Bear in mind that this was well before this type of thing was available with computer or video games. Anyway, I found last year's MLB stats online and wrote a program to create a game with statistically accurate player cards for every 2018 MLB team. Three six-sided dice are required to play. Pitching is boring and messes up the player stats so no pitching is involved. Here's a link to the 2018 player cards.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Review: Ring of Knives

Ring of Knives Ring of Knives by James Daniels
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second book in the series chucks most of the backstory and characters from the first book and sends Matt Cahill on a road trip to try to determine why he was resurrected, why people around him are prone to looking rotten to him then inexplicably turning evil, and the haunting of a spectre that he calls Mr. Dark. Cahill ends up at an horror infested mental hospital where the story turns into a sort of an action book with Cahill fighting evil orderlies and rescuing a pretty girl. The story is more focused that the first book and I actually liked it a bit better.

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Saturday, April 13, 2019

Review: Face of Evil

Face of Evil Face of Evil by Lee Goldberg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The first novella in this multi-book series can be somewhat excused for all the necessary backstory that introduces Matt Cahill, his love interest, and his best friend who is a complete jackass. This encompasses the first two thirds of the book and is entertaining enough. The final third of the book sets up the horror element and it runs off the rails with some hasty plotting and gratuitous gore. I liked it well enough to look forward to the next book in the series, which was probably the intention of the author anyway.

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Review: Day of Mourning

Day of Mourning Day of Mourning by Stephen Mertz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great opening with Bolan fighting terrorists and sharks underwater, ala Thunderball, while retrieving a sunken nuclear warhead. Author Mertz continues to pull out all the stops as Bolan investigates a major plot to attack his base of operation, Stony Man Farm, taking him to Washington D.C. and violent encounters with hired assassins, more terrorists, and for old times sake, the Mafia. Meanwhile Able Team is is heading into a deadly trap in Asia with no way to communicate the danger. Bolan hopes to finish up his detective work, get revenge for the killing of one of his men in an earlier raid that also took out communications, and prevent the looming assault on Stony Man in a race against time. The book is a complete knockout. An outstanding entry in the Executioner series.

My reviews of the other two books in the trilogy:
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Review: Massacre at San Pablo

Massacre at San Pablo Massacre at San Pablo by Lewis B. Patten
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This short novel covers a lot of bases. It’s a coming-of-age tale with Apache attacks, humble Mexicans, gunfights, bounty hunting scalpers, and a forbidden romance. Young Mark Atkins is consumed by revenge after the brutal slayings of his parents and then his adopted parents. The violence in his heart sends his budding romance with the perceptive Susan askew and now Mark has to deal with unrequited love on top of his quest for revenge. A fast-moving and interesting plot with solid characterizations make this a real page-turner.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Review: Tower of Terror

Tower of Terror Tower of Terror by Don Pendleton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The series starts off with a bang as gonzo writer L.R. Payne (G.H. Frost) spins a wild tale with Puerto Rican terrorists, shady businessmen, Vietnamese agents, and ex-commies involved in a “Die Hard” type attack on a NYC skyscraper. Non-stop action with an exciting and exceedingly gory climax are highlights. Lack of character depth and a hurried ending are weaknesses. The mysterious Frost wrote most the the early Able Teams books and I like his out-of-control style. I have some of his other works in my TBR queue. Looking forward to reading them.

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Sunday, March 17, 2019

Review: Frozen Hell

Frozen Hell Frozen Hell by John W. Campbell Jr.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Who Goes There?”, the sci-fi classic short and the source of “The Thing” movies was once the unpublished and lost novella “Frozen Hell”. Now available, this version of the story adds opening chapters that expands on the discovery of the monster frozen in the ice while keeping most of the later version narrative intact. It’s hard to say if this version is any better than the short story. The both tell a terrific story, just differently.

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Friday, March 15, 2019

Review: Beyond the Outposts

Beyond the Outposts Beyond the Outposts by Max Brand
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An exceptional coming-of-age story telling the tale of Lew Dorsett, a boy who grows into manhood influenced by the quest to find his outlaw father, his high adventures living with Sioux Indians, and his relationship with his best friend Chuck Morris. I would have to say that this is now my favorite Max Brand book.

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

New Orleans Gumbo

My first visit to New Orleans recently gave me the opportunity to taste some authentic Creole Gumbo. Wow! It is super tasty. I had a bowl every day that I was there. The picture below is from Daisy Duke's in the French Quarter.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Review: Detroit Combat

Detroit Combat Detroit Combat by Carl Ramm
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This early effort from “Doc Ford” writer Randy Wayne White transcends the action/adventure genre with solid prose and a crisp, interesting plot. Hawker, a former cop and now vigilante, is discreetly engaged by the Detroit Police to investigate a kidnapping ring that has been plaguing the city. Hawker teams up with an beautiful and apprehensive female police detective to set a trap for a the ring using a fake pornography studio sting, and predictably a relationship sparks between them. The exciting climax takes place in a replica of H. H. Holmes’ “Murder Castle” which I thought was an imaginative touch. I bought the complete 11 book series at a rummage sale and was thinking of selling them. Now I think I’ll read them first.

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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Review: 13 French Street

13 French Street 13 French Street by Gil Brewer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brewer clearly had higher designs for his career in this early novel. The prose is tight and literary, brimming with impressive descriptions and similes. Brewer was no hack. Sexual obsession drives the plot, a topic that Brewer does as well, or better than most. What’s missing here is the insane plot twists that Brewer employed so well in his later novels. For example, I was expecting the narrators fiancĂ© to show up at the worst possible time, but she never did. I’ve read better plotted Brewer, but never better written Brewer.

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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Review: Passion Flayed

Passion Flayed Passion Flayed by J.X. Williams
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

High literature it ain’t, but for a ‘60s sleaze book it’s pretty good. Sharp tongued Rita finds that she is only sexually attracted to men that she isn’t married to - not a good thing for her husband Brad, who struggles to save their marriage as Rita piles up the extramarital affairs. Rita’s lovers include a gruff construction boss, a sleazy psychiatrist, and a door-to-door salesman who all find her charms completely captivating, and who Rita fights off, but ultimately finds impossible to resist. The books strengths are the well written dialogue, and it’s weakness the lack of plot, and it’s forehead-slapping conclusion. This is one of Harry Whittington’s “missing 38” sleaze books that he wrote monthly in the mid 1960s.

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Saturday, February 9, 2019

Review: Nightmare in New York

Nightmare in New York Nightmare in New York by Don Pendleton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mack Bolan is immediately wounded in a gunfight with Mafia assassins upon arrival in NYC and is rescued by three hippie-type chicks who nurse him back to health, unfortunately putting themselves into deep danger. Typical action book heroics ensue with Bolan making a series of assaults on the five mob families of NYC. The scene with Sam the Bomber and his wife was a nice touch, showing some of Bolan’s humanity and compassion. The final assault with Bolan infiltrating then destroying the mob compound on Long Island was a satisfying climax. In general a good entry in the series.

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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Review: The Fist of Fatima

The Fist of Fatima The Fist of Fatima by Paul Edwards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This Robert Lory installment is an improvement over his previous effort The Laughing Death, this time John Eagle is engaged early in the book and his mission is personal. There were several interesting historical or geographic references that I was inclined to look up, including the 1973 attack on the Saudi Embassy in Khartoum, and the nomadic Tuareg people of the Sahara dessert. Eagle’s college roommate is killed by terrorists in an attack much like one one in Khartoum and Eagle vows vengeance. He travels to Libya and becomes allied with a band of Tuareg nomads that include the chief’s horny daughters, who find Eagle irresistible, and their jealous suitor. In true adventure book fashion Eagle must endure various challenges and fights to prove himself worthy during the trek across the Sahara to the mountain lair of the terrorists, the setting for the action-packed climax. This fourth book in this obscure series is more of an adventure novel rather than the previous action/espionage and is my favorite thus far.

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