Wednesday, September 13, 2023




An Isaac Bell Adventure

By Jack Du Brul


462 pgs

Having become so damn popular with his modern pulp thrillers featuring Dirk Pitt, the late author Clive Cussler went on to create three other series that would be handed off to other writers but bear his name. These included Kurt Austin Adventures, the Sam & Remi Fargo Adventures and finally the Isaac Bell Adventures. Bell, a turn of the century detective for the Van Dorn Detective Agency first appeared in Cussler’s novel, “The Chase.” After this auspicious debut, his next nine books were penned by Justin Scott. All of these were terrific and we enjoyed them thoroughly. Then most recently, Scott was replaced on book ten by Jack Du Brul, another veteran scribe of Cussler’s posse.

“Saboteur” is the eleventh in the series and Du Brul’s second. It is a wonderful, beautifully researched gem that has Bell chasing a secret band of Panamanian revolutionaries set on disrupting the building of the Panama Canal. Starting with the attempted assignation of a U.S. Senator in San Diego, the clues indicate the assassins were part of this South American group known as the Red Vipers. Arriving in Panama, Bell witnesses a horrific act of terrorism that leads to the death twenty-eight men. Enraged by the savagery of the attack, Bell is determined to find the rebels and stop them. Along the way he begins to suspect the Red Vipers may only be a subterfuge to hide the real villains. He deduces the may be agents of a foreign power intent on stopping America’s economic growth and influence on the world’s stage.

As he gets closer to unmasking the spies, Bell soon becomes a target. These fanatics will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. “Saboteur” is another great entry into this well received series and Du Brul does Cussler’s legacy proud. Not to be missed.

Thursday, August 31, 2023




A Walker/Tamiko L.A.P.D. Novel

By Paul Bishop

Wolfpack Publishing

313 pgs


Even since getting hooked on the late Ed McBain’s cop/mystery series, the 87th Precinct, we’ve enjoyed reading cop novels. Familiar with the fact that writer Paul Bishop is a veteran, highly decorated, former L.A. P.D. detective; our expectations for this book were high.

 The year is 1977 and police officer Calico Jack Walker is going to retire after thirty years on the force. It is a bitter-sweet time in Calico’s life as he’s not at all certain his plans to start a boat chartering business with his son Ren will fill his future with the same thrills and satisfaction he experienced on the city streets. He’s also become ambivalent of turning loose his rookie partner, Tina Tamiko, to spread her own wings. Under his mentorship she’s become a really good cop with all the right skills and survival instincts. What’s confusing things is they are becoming romantically involved. Ouch. 

As if all this wasn’t enough to occupy Calico’s few remaining days, he, and Tamiko, are challenged by two fellow officers, Stack and Thurman, to a race to be run during one single duty shift from Los Angeles to Los Vegas and back again. It is an old unauthorized escapade most believe a myth and realistically impossible. Be that as it may, Stack, having been publicly embarrassed by Tamiko on several occasions, won’t rescind his challenge and the race is on.

Meanwhile, in the state penitentiary, a murderous inmate puts out a contract on Calico’s life so that he won’t be around to screw up the killer’s upcoming parole hearing. Then there’s the British gangster planning a million dollar heist at the very casino that is the race drivers’ destination and turn around point. “Hot Pursuit” is just that and from page to page, Bishop keeps the metal to pedal, delivering a high octane, action packed thriller at the same time introducing us to a fascinating cast of characters you won’t soon forget. This one’s a winner, friends, all the way to the finish line.

Monday, August 14, 2023




A Nero Wolfe Mystery

By Robert Goldsborough

211 pgs

We always look forward to new Nero Wolfe mysteries by Robert Goldsborough and have been ever grateful that he picked up the series after creator Rex Stout’s death. Goldsborough instinctively realized the charm and success of the series was always its characters; with the actual cases taking a back seat; albeit still thoughtful and appreciated. Thus in several of his recent entries, we’ve seen the spotlight put on supporting characters ala Police Inspector Kramer and then we had the fun adventure of Archie Goodwin’s trip home allowing us to meet his mother.  

In this latest tale, he continues that trend with a delightful look at Archie’s paramour, the lovely and witty Lily Rowan. The wealthy socialite, as we’ve come to know her, devotes most of her time, and money, to charities and other admirable social causes. It is she who gets the case rolling when she tells Archie that one of her close friends, Maureen Carr, has mysterious disappeared. The young woman, a wealth heiress, like Lily, spends much of her time supporting worthy causes. When she goes missing for several weeks, Lily becomes concerned and Archie agrees to help look into the matter. Soon their investigation draws Wolfe into the affair and once again our familiar mystery train is back on well traveled tracks. 

“The Missing Heiress” is another dandy foray with all the usual suspects, twists and turns, leading to murder and the always anticipated house gathering of suspects at its finale. What more can we say? Except to hope Mr. Goldsborough won’t be long and writing another.

Tuesday, August 08, 2023




Levon Cade # 4

By Chuck Dixon

Rough Edges Press

205 pgs


If you’re following this series, and from what we’ve gathered on-line its overwhelming success proves you are, then you are already aware Dixon’s story continues from one book to the next. Thus, having to flee the events that transpired in the northern winter wilds of Maine, fugitive Levon Cade and his young daughter, Merry, flee south in hopes of evading their pursuers; agents from the FBI, Homeland Security and the Treasury. Oh yeah, when this tough ex-Marine kicks the hornet’s nest, all kinds of chaos erupts.

In Cade’s possession are several duffel bags filled with money, some real, others counterfeit; plus uncut diamonds. All part of a stash he stumbled upon in the last book. His only goal now is to reach the home of his former Marine mentor, Gunny Leffertz where he and Merry will find sanctuary. Cade, having been trained in evasive tactics while in the military knows all the tricks and manages to stay one step of his hunters.

Kudos to Dixon for detailing his characters savvy in such a way that seems totally realistic and it is obvious the writer’s research is spot on. 

Still a moment arrives when Cade has to part with Merry for her own safety by putting her on a train and leading pursuers away from her. It’s an emotional juncture in the chase and only heightens the suspense already created. Both Cade and his child will encounter evil forces on their separate routes to reunion and to call this story a nail-biter is only doing it justice. The Levon Cade series is one of the finest in action thriller fiction today. If you’re one of the few not already enjoying the hell out of it, just what are you waiting for? An invitation? Considered given.

Friday, August 04, 2023

CAPTAIN FUTURE - The Horror At Jupiter



The Horror at Jupiter

By Allen Steele

Amazing Selects

159 pgs


With the publication of this book, writer Allen Steele wraps up his four volume saga featuring Edmond Hamilton’s pulp hero Captain Future. With the series, Steele did not change Future and his Futuremen as much as revamp them for modern readers. To that end he succeeded and each of the books has been a fun, wild, space adventure that respectfully paid homage to those classic rough edged magazines of the 30s and 40s. This book, the finale, is no exception. In fact it is easily the best with a non-stop pacing any pulp writer would have applauded. 

“The Horror at Jupiter” picks up where the third entry, “1,500 Light Years from Home” ended. Captain Future, aka Curt Newton, has shot and supposedly killed the President of the Solar Coalition after having been brainwashed his arch enemy, the Magician of Mars, Ul Quorn. Without giving away too much, let’s just say things are not what they seem and President Carthew not only survives but Curt is freed of his mental imprisonment and once more put in charge of foiling Ul Quorn’s newest threat to the planet Earth.

On a distant alien world, Ul Quorn has come into possession of a giant space machine with enough firepower to destroy a planet. Shades of Star War’s Death Star, Steel’s Vengeance of Kosk may look like a 70s disco ball, but its threat is no laughing matter. Quorn has it appear out of hyper-space in orbit around Jupiter, along with his own command ship. He then immediately notifies the President that unless his demands are met with hour, he will destroy the Earth. The renegade scientist’s scheme is to achieve independence for several rebel colonies in the Solar System and ultimately establish his own empire all under the guise of being a freedom fighter.

With the clock clicking away, Captain Future and his team, Brain, Otho and Grag must devise a plan to foil the madman’s nightmarish threat and once again save the day. How they do so is what kept this reviewer rapidly turning pages; unable to put the book down until its climatic and totally satisfying conclusion. Honestly, that story alone will have you cheering but there’s more. Yup. Steele then offers up a truly fascinating and equally entertaining essay on Space Opera. Familiar with perhaps 50% of this stuff, we truly appreciated his showcasing those tidbids of science-fiction history we were not aware of it. Thanks so much, Allen Steele and please, give us more Captain Future.

Saturday, July 29, 2023




By Wayne Carey

Bold Venture Press

236 pgs


With “Death Waits in Shanghai,” New Pulp writer Wayne Carey introduces one of his most intriguing heroes ever, John Falco. The son of a New York gangster, Falco abhors his family’s business. He runs away to China where he is taken into a Shaolin monastery and taught their way of living to include martial arts. Settling in Hong Kong and soon befriends both a former Irish revolutionist named Flanagan and a former Zulu prince, Mzoma. Once their partnership is established, Falco directs their affairs to helping others in trouble. One can’t help reading this stuff and not recall previous classic pulp teams ala Doc Savage and his crew.

Now all this is backstory. This story begins with the kidnapping of a young American woman living in San Francisco. Her father being a U.S. Senator, the local FBI contacts Falco requesting his assistance in finding her. Her kidnapper proves to be a small time crook named Lee Wong and he is going to smuggle the girl to China aboard a luxury liner. Falco and company procure passage and soon all of them are sailing across the Pacific. During the trip Falco is introduced to Wong’s sister, Jiao; a beauty who intrigues him. But is she part of her brother’s plot or an innocent bystander brought along to misdirect pursuers? Falco and his companions fail to find the missing daughter by the time the boat arrives in Honolulu. He then hopes to find the girl with the aid of the local police but once again Wong eludes him, departing the very next morning aboard a Japanese ship bound for Shanghai.

So the chase continues to the Far East with the action moving from Shanghai, then to Hong Kong and finally back to Shanghai. Against this backdrop are the historical machinations ala the Chinese Communist insurgency to overthrow the government at the same time Japan’s encroaching continues to grow bolder with the threat of immanent invasion. 

Wayne Carey is one of the real bright stars in the New Pulp fiction today and “Death Waits in Shanghai” soundly proves that claim. Great characters, exotic locales and non-stop action. What more could any serious pulp fan want?

Saturday, July 22, 2023



Tales of Tom Mix

By Scott McCrea

DS Productions

128 pgs


This is the second in a series starring the late cinema western star, Tom Mix and it is rip-roaring actioner from the first page to the left. In this tale, Mix, a semi-retired marshal, has gone back to work for the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Wild West Show. At the same time two different events are on a collision course which will draw him into one of the most dangerous situations of his life.


Three Mexican brothers, the Cabrerras, have learned that he U.S. government is shipping new five dollar bill plates to Washington. They plan on stealing those plates and printing their own money. At the same time, in nearby Oklahoma, Comanche renegade Red Wolf as assembled a band of fanatical young warriors whose goal is to create a new Indian rebellion. They are going to destroy as many white towns and settlements as possible in the hopes of rallying all tribes to their cause.

These disparate plots come together when the Cabrerras, fleeing with the stolen plates, commandeer a hot-air balloon from the Wild West Show to use for their escape from the law. In the process they kidnap an elderly couple and the show’s top magician, Mr. Mirakle and his daughter Ima.  Arriving just as the balloon is lifting off the ground, Mix manages to grab hold of one of the anchor ropes and is instantly lifted aloft with the fleeing bandits.

After forty eight hours, the balloon eventually descends on a rugged plateau in Oklahoma known as Black Mesa; only a few miles from Red Wolf’s camp. Thus the legendary Mix finds himself battling on two fronts while at the same time having to protect the innocent hostages. “Savage Mesa” is a near perfect western, wonderfully written and filled with memorable characters, both noble and evil. The pacing is swift so buckle up and hold on tight. This one is terrific.