Tuesday, November 12, 2019

BLACK STILETTO - Stars & Stripes


THE BLACK STILETTO
Stars & Stripes
By Raymond Benson
Oceanview Publishing
384 pgs.

In this, the third installment of Raymond Benson’s female vigilante saga, Judy Cooper comes to the aid of a Chinese family in New York, gets in involved with the 1960 presidential campaign and ends up saving both John Kennedy and Richard Nixon from being shot by a Russian assassin. All in a day’s work for the vivacious readhead from Texas.

As in the previous entries, all this is revealed via her diaries by her son Martin. Judy today is an elderly soul residing in a senior care facility suffering from Alzeimer’s. Never having revealed her secret crime-fighting career in the past, the truth revealed in those diaries becomes an unbearable burden to Martin. At the same time, his only daughter, Gina, has endured a rape and assault and is now studying martial arts taking her on a path and eerily mirrors that of her grandmother.

The delight of this series is the humanity Benson infuses in all his characters and allows each to tell his or her story. All of them begin to form the picture of a real family, each member in flux doing their best to make through the greatest puzzle of them all, life. This is such a great series and here’s hoping we’ll soon be hearing Gina’s voice.

Friday, November 01, 2019

UNTOUCHABLE


UNTOUCHABLE
By Geoff Habiger & Coy Kissee
Shadow Dragon Press
200 pgs

Last year we had the pleasure of reading the first book in this series called, “Unremarkable.” In it we met Saul Imbierowicz, a boring postal clerk in 1929 Chicago. By the book’s end, poor Saul had been murdered by Mobster Al Capone who, as it turned out, was actually a vampire. Thus, to his own horror, Saul was turned and rose from the dead as a bloodsucker himself.

This new book opens with Saul having been recruited by Elliot Ness to join his anti-crime task force. Ness is aware of the fact that Capone and many of his gang are supernatural monsters. The G-Man decides that having a vampire on his own team would be beneficial in future encounters. He pairs Saul with a federal agent named Christian Wright who is devoutly religious and has a deep aversion to all things unnatural, including Saul. Thus their working together is contentious from the start with Christian insulting Saul constantly while our naïve protagonist stumbles through his new existence desperately trying to understand everything that has happened to him.

Like the first entry, writers Habiger and Kissee have a wonderful talent for mixing both action and humor. That Saul mentally imagines his Jewish family, mother, father and sister, chastising at the most inopportune moments is really very funny. At the same the authors do an excellent job of weaving their imaginative narrative around actual historical accounts that transpired at the time. What we’ve always loved about New Pulp is its ability to offer new twists to old stories. With both “Unremarkable” and now “Untouchable”, Habiger and Kissee have delivered something truly unique and thoroughly enjoyable.

We have to assume there is a third volume in the works and quite frankly we hope it arrives sooner than later.