Monday, July 20, 2020


By M.L. Longworth
Penguin Books
296 pgs.

We confess to not reading all that many new books from other countries and perhaps should do so more often. “Murder in the Rue Dumas” comes to us from France by way of M.L. Longworth. She actually resides in Aix, the setting of this story and so generously paints a warm and beautiful picture of the area. Enough to have us wondering how delightful a town it would be to visit. Just not when people are being murdered there.

The head of philosophy department at the nearby college is planning to retire and several of his colleagues are hoping to be his replacement. The position not only comes with prestige and a raise, but also included is a fabulous apartment suite on the campus itself. Some actually believe the apartment if more valuable than the title itself and there is the fact that once awarded, it is a lifetime position. Things go awry when at a party in his apartment, Prof. Moutes tells his friends he has changed his mind and is not going to retire. The next morning he is found dead in his office, his head smashed in.

Enter Judge AntoineVerlaque and Inspector Bruno Paulik to systematically interview the usual suspects from among the faculty and student body. Longworth never rushes the plot along and some readers may be distracted by several of her musings on travel, cooking and love, but we found each delightful. Each of these digressions enhanced our overall enjoyment of the story. Of course the mystery is solved in the end, both by intuition and solid clues but honestly, with “Murder in the Rue Dumas,” it is the journey to it we appreciated most.

Maybe its time to see if our passport is still valid.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020


WHO’S WHO in NEW PULP is now available at Amazon. Here are 222 bios of the finest New Pulp writers, artists, reviewers, editors and publishers. All proceeds from sale of the book to go to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  Note – all participants can purchase copies directly from Rob Davis – Art Director Airship 27 Production.
Thanks to all who helped make this book possible.

Sunday, July 05, 2020


By Van Allen Plexico
White Rocket Books
230 pgs

Two years ago, Pulp Factory Award winning sci-fi writer, Van Plexico turned his considerable writing skills to produce a crime thriller. It was called “Vegas Heist” and went on to win his second Best Novel Pulp Factory Award, making him the only writer to have done so in the group’s fifteen year history. As one of the reviewers of “Vegas Heist,” we immediately joined the chorus of readers urging him to do another and here it is much to our unadulterated delight.

Back in action are thieves Harper and Salsa and this time their target is a stash of Nazi good bars hidden on a small island off the coast of Miami, Florida. It’s 1966 and a full year has passed since the duo’s successful Vegas caper. But rather than continue to live leisurely off their ill-gotten gains, the guys are getting restless. Which is when Salsa learns the rumor of the lost Nazi gold on Ruby Island and persuades Harper to help him investigate whether it’s a mere folk tale or in fact has some validity.

Disguised as bridge card players attending a tournament, the two, along with their lovely ladies, travel to the island owned by millionaire Landsdale to scout out his multi-room mansion serriptiously. Harper considers it a wild goose chase until, but pure accident, actually uncover the gold. Rest easy, there are no spoilers here. Needless to say, once they know there is a wealth of gold ready for the taking, Harper quickly begins making a plan and assembling a team. Whereas the closer the day of the heist approaches, several incidents arise which have him second-guessing the entire caper.

By the time the actual robbery is under way, Hurricane Inez hits the area and things quickly begin to fall a part. Like all such tales, there is plenty of suspense, surprises and betrayals all leading to a wet and bloody climax none of the characters could have ever predicted. Once again, Plexico delivers a blistering story that had this reviewer turning pages so fast as to blur the words. This is a new classic crime thriller and a very welcomed addition to what we pray is a series only getting warmed up.

Thursday, July 02, 2020


By Lawrence Block
Hard Case Crime
Titan Books
234 pgs

With this novel, Block tips his noir fedora to the late novelist James M. Cain who wrote both “The Postman Always Rings Twice” and “Double Indemnity.” Both are considered crime fiction classics and both revolve around a beautiful femme fatale who seduces her lover into helping her murder her husband.

Doak Miller is a divorced, retired New York cop living in Florida and doing a little P.I. work. When the local sheriff asks his help in setting up a sting, it is to catch a beautiful young woman looking to hire someone to kill her older, rich husband. But once Miller sees a photo of Lisa Yarrow Otterbein, he falls for her like the proverbial ton of bricks. Which poses the immediate problem of extracting from the trap she is in and then convincing the sheriff she actually changed her mind about wanting her spouse six feet under.

Once Doak confesses to Lisa he is on her side and the two become lovers, it is only inevitable they will again confront the same problem; how to get rid of the old man so they can both live high off his riches. Doak, per his experiences as a police officer, knows the odds against them being able to successfully get away with it. The sheriff already has Lisa on his radar and should hubby suddenly drop dead, regardless of how it happens, he would logically focus on Lisa as his primary suspect.

Block is a mean writer and not for the squeamish. His characters are raw unlikeable people and yet still mesmerizing in their own tragic ways. Doak’s dilemma boils down to his being unable to keep “it” in his pants. A subject that comes up all too often and one he never shies away from, even with Lisa; the flesh and blood embodiment of all his past sexual fantasies. Can this be true love?

One can’t help but relish the scenes in which Doak is glued to his TV set watching noir classis on the Turner channel, to include both “The Postman Always Rings Twice” and “Double Indemnity.” He can’t help but reflect that both are versions of his own story and wonders if their calamitous climaxes are fated for him and Lisa as well. Whereas they are only the products of a fevered writer’s imagination, Doak and Lisa are all too real. Once started, you will have a hard time putting this one down.