Thursday, May 26, 2022

Review: The Greenback Trail

The Greenback Trail The Greenback Trail by Jon Sharpe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A gorgeous young woman and her elderly father are aided by Skye Fargo not knowing that they are counterfeiters with a map to dig up a long buried cache of millions of dollars of counterfeit bills. Of course Pop spilled the beans in prison and a band of outlaws are in hot pursuit looking to get the map and the moola. Fargo ends up in the middle of this mess and has to use his investigative skills to figure out what everyone is after and why. So yeah, like most Adult Westerns its a detective novel set in the Old West with a couple of sex scenes thrown in. The writing, dialog, and plot are all great and, although there is no author name attributed The Trailsman novels were written by some of the most respected work-for-hire authors in the business at the time. I’ve enjoyed all of ‘em so far.

Plenty of The Trailsman reviews at Steve Myall's Western Fiction Review blog.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Review: Slab Happy

Slab Happy

Slab Happy by Richard S. Prather
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I somehow ended up with three copies of this book and figured that I ought to read one of them. A Hollywood movie producer hires Shell Scott to investigate a blackmail scheme involving some of his up and coming young stars. Once again Shell digs himself into deeper and deeper trouble this time with competing mobsters out to kill him, a corrupt desert horse ranch resort, and a hot young starlet to bed. All of the Shell Scott books are a wild ride with Shell getting beat up a few times, some cat-and-mouse set pieces, and some outrageous humor and wisecracking. This one plays it pretty straight. Less goofiness and a solid, albeit somewhat convoluted plot. I liked it a lot. Speaking of Hollywood, I’m surprised that there was never a effort to put Shell Scott on the big screen. His character and his antics would have translated well in my opinion. Four stars.

Wolfpack Publishing has acquired the rights to this series and has reissued them as very affordable ebooks.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Review: Spy Ghost

Spy Ghost Spy Ghost by Norman Daniels
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The current Russian aggression had me seeking out a vintage Cold War espionage book and found this one from 1965. John Keith is The Man from APE (nothing to do with evolution) a secret USA spy agency who is tasked with keeping the KGB from persuading a Soviet scientist to design a rocket, ostensibly to rescue a cosmonaut who is lost in space, in a really bonkers plot to use ESP to convince him that the spaceman is still alive. More lunacy ensues with Keith trying to disprove a clairvoyant and a telepath that the KGB has tricked into duping the scientist to work on the rocket. Not surprisingly Keith beds the attractive females and gets beat up. Super silly plot, bordering on self-parody, but entertaining as hell. A fun and nostalgic read for those who lived through the Cold War and the spy/secret agent media rage of the 1960s. Four stars.

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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Pulpgen Archive Now Online

Something that I accomplished while quarantined with COVID-19 was to bring the Pulpgen documents back online.

Pulpgen was a labor of love of many individuals to reproduce scanned pulp magazine articles digitally - rendering them as clean documents rather than yellowed scans using optical character recognition and various Adobe tools and the PDF format. The website was online from 2002 until 2021 when it unexpectedly went offline - at the time containing over 2200+ documents.

The original Pulgen static HTML files are archived at this link thanks to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

The 2200+ PDF documents have fortunately been archived several places including here. You can navigate the document repository and download or read online these treasured documents using the Browse and Search links.

Sure, I tried to keep the same minimalist aesthetic of the original site (ugly) and maybe I'll modernize it a bit someday, and yeah, I need to cleanup some redundancies and author names still. A work in progress.

Check out the Pulpgen Archive.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Review: Thuvia, Maid of Mars

Thuvia, Maid of Mars Thuvia, Maid of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A beautiful young princess is kidnapped and needs to be rescued by a heroic Earth/Mars adventurer is once again the plot here with the hero being Carthoris, the son of John Carter and Dejah Thoris (who are now perhaps too old or important for this type of thing) and the princess being Thuvia, a character from the previous books in the series. To complicate matters Thuvia’s hand has been promised to another, of course Carthoris is in love with her, and then he is framed for her kidnapping which threatens a global war. Again the meat of the story is discovery and adventure providing Carthoris with exciting travels across Barsoom meeting new creatures and civilizations from ERB’s amazing imagination. I particularly like the ancient imaginary bowmen that could materialize and take substance and the then greatest of them becomes a sentient being and an ally to Carthoris. The stilted dialog and prose, and the predictability of the story took away some of the enjoyment here and I give this entry three stars.

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