Sunday, February 28, 2021




By Teel James Glenn

Pro Se Press

184 pgs

Every so often a book comes along that is so pulp, it reverberates this fact gloriously on every single page. From inception to excecution and finally in print, it proudly tells the reader this is what true pulp fiction is all about. “A Cowboy in Carpathia” is such a book.

It is a what-if scenario in which writer Teel James Glenn imagines what might have happened if the legendary pulp writer Robert E. Howard had not taken his own life at the age of 30, but rather had gone on to leave his small hometown of Cross Plains Texas to explore the world at large and in so doing actually lived adventures much like those he only fantasized about in his many stories. Ah, the stuff that dreams are made of.

Thus the tale kicks off and soon protagonist Bob Howard is in New York on his way to visit England and then Europe and the world beyond, little realizing his journey will eventually lead him to combat one of the greatest dark forces of them all, Dracula, King of the Vampires. Along the way he will also find the love of his life in a beautiful and brave young lady named Gwendolyn Harker.

What mesmerized us from the beginning was how flawlessly Glenn envisions Howard and the world he never lived. It is there before us, as the rough-hewn writer of pulps, drinks in the world with an insatiable appetite for new adventures while retaining his stunning perceptions of ancient places, battles and heroes. It is a heady blend and Glenn weaves it perfectly in nearly flawless prose. This is one of those rare books where one simply cannot turn the pages fast enough. It may well be the writer’s magnus opus, only time will tell. But until then, we New Pulp fans can only say, thank you.

Thursday, February 25, 2021



REINCARNAL & Other Tales

By Max Allan Collins

Wolf Pack Publishing

326 pgs 

This book collects eleven horror tales by Collins, several in radio script form, that were written over the years for different anthologies. Note, the Table of Contents only list ten. But hey, quality control ain’t what it used to be. Finding that eleventh was a nice little surprise. Now the tales assembled in this one book and they run the gambit from twisted horror to genuine black comedy.

“Reincarnal” – Via dreams, a young woman relives her past life in which she met her death at the hands of demented slasher. Well set it up with a wonderful climax. 

“The Night of Their Lives” – A police detective goes undercover as a hobo to catch a seductive serial killer preying on the homeless in the city’s shanty town.

“A Good Head On His Shoulders” – Lou Carboni was a self-made man who controlled an empire. His undoing was allowing others to take care of the dead bodies he left in his wake.

“Wolf” Jack Wolff like nothing better than seducing nubile young women. They were meat to his lustful diet until he encountered one with a different kind of appetite.

“Not A Creature Was Stirring” – A veteran detective hunts a demented child killer on the week before Christmas.

“Open House” – A reporter specializing in the supernatural agrees to spend a night in an old farmhouse supposedly haunted by a madman who murdered his entire family.

“Traces of Red” – A lonely female vampire longs for love and companionship from a young entertainer.

“Rock ‘N’ Roll, Will Never Die” – Peter Lee wants to stay young forever and a beautiful young groupie may give him what he wants. But always for a price. This story has the best pun-tag line we’ve ever read. Wickedly funny.

“Interstate 666” – The longest story in this collection is our favorite centering on an urban legend that won’t die and the trapped souls seeking revenge on an endless road of horror.

“House of Blood” – A radio play about a quartet of ghost hunters who get more than they bargained for. With al the appropriate sound effects. 

“Mercy” – Another radio play. This one about a beautiful high school girl who through tragedy, learns her true holy mission in life is bringing people to the Lord. She does so with great enthusiasm.

In the end, “Reincarnal” is fun romp through the delightfully twisted imagination of Mr. Collins. It’s a ride we won’t soon forget.

Sunday, February 21, 2021




By Stephen King

Hard Case Crime

250 pgs

Coming March 2021

“I see dead people.” That classic movie line jumps at us fast upon delving into Master of the Bizarre’s latest story. Only this time, it is the child with the unenviable talent narrating the tale. Jamie Conklin lives with his single mother, Tia, in New York City. She owns and manages a Literary Agency (people who sell writers’ books to publishers) while overseeing the care of her older brother Harry. He’s committed to a sanitarium suffering from Alzheimer.

When Tia eventually learns what her son can do, she forbids him to tell anyone. Jamie not only sees the recently deceased, but before they fade away entirely into oblivion, he can speak with them. Thus allowing him to question them on topics such as who they were in life, or where did they keep their wills? Is there any message they’d care to relate to loved ones? You get the idea. Jamie eventually accepts his ability as just another normal aspect of their lives. All of that changes when Tia becomes romantically with a police detective named Elizabeth Dutton. Because of their intimate relationship, Liz learns of Jamie’s abilities much their ultimate regret.

Liz finds a way to exploit Jamie’s connection to the dead for her own shady purposes. All which leads to the boy’s confrontation with a dead mad-bomber who doesn’t fade away like all the previous souls. Rather this entity is able to follow Jamie and thus haunt him in a truly frightening demonic way.

As always, King spins his yarn fast and easy, with his uncanny ability to use words in painting both scenes and feelings. It’s a magic trick because while reading along, we began to ask the one question he cleverly attempts to avoid throughout the story. That is until it becomes his final surprise. The elephant in the thriller room. “Later” is seasoned King while reminding us a great deal of his earlier books when he was still new at the game.

Friday, February 19, 2021




By Paul Malmont

Simon & Schuster Paperbacks

383 pgs

In this book, Paul Malmont imagines London’s last trip to Hawaii which lasted from Dec of 1915 through July of 1916. At which time he and his second wife Charmian returned to their Sonoma ranch in California where he would die four months later, Nov. 22nd.  The tale is a mixture of recorded facts with fictional encounters created by Malmont to weave the tale of a great man’s final days in the place he came to love as a Paradise on earth.

The story begins with silent screen actor turned director and producer, Hobart Bosworth. Having made several movies based on London’s work, Bosworth has fallen on hard times and his small studio is about to be gobbled up by Paramount unless he can produce another winner and alleviate his debt. His idea; have London write an original screenplay that has never been published in print. Bosworth flies to London’s beauty ranch only to learn the adventure writer is gone. Wolf House, the $80,000 stone mansion meant to be the gem of the estate had burned down two weeks before the Londons were to move in. Bosworth discovers his friend is in Hawaii and immediately books passage on a tramp steamer for the islands.

It is clear from the offset; Bosworth is as much a protagonist as is London though little known by today’s audiences. Once the desperate “Dean of Hollywood”, as he was called, finds the world weary and ailing writer, the story becomes about two old friends doing their best to stave off aging and remain the rough and tumble adventurers of their youths. It is about loves, won and lost and the dreams realized and those lost. The characters are all in one way or another broken souls seeking salvation. And what better setting such a tale then the majestic islands which prove to be the ideal background, an earthly paradise in which these lost souls come together one last time before the curtain falls.

We will not soon forget, “Jack London in Paradise.”


Tuesday, February 09, 2021

MEN'S ADVENTURE Quarterly Vol One No. 1


MEN’S ADVENTURE Quarterly Vol 1 No 1

Edited by Robert Deis & Bill Cunningham

Subtropic Productions, LLC.

156 pgs

Team-ups; there’s nothing better. Being an avid comic fan we early on learned how amazing things can happen when two creators join forces. The prime example being writer Stan Lee’s partnership with artist Jack Kirby. Alone, each was a master of his craft; together they were unbelievable. Arguably there would have been no Marvel without either one.  

Pulp editors were all too familiar with this concept as they constantly strove to pair their stories with the right cover painters the goal of making their monthlies stand out. Some succeeded admirably while others failed miserably. The paperback publishers of the 60s and 70s also understood the value of such pairings. Sticking the Robert E. Howard Conan stories behind a Frank Frezetta painting was genius and introduced an entire new generation to Howard’s fiction. The same can be said for James Bama interpretation of the Man of Bronze on the Bantam Doc Savage paperback reprints. Art and literature merging into one seamless product to capture the imagination of the readers. 

Which brings us to the grand team-up responsible for “Men Adventure Quarterly.” Bill Cunningham, with his background in comics and science fiction, is a brilliant book designer. His sense of composition and use of reproduced art is masterful as is evident on every single page of this colorful periodical. Then we have Robert Deis providing him with the content he is an expert of; the art and stories of the MAMS (Men’s Adventure Magazines). In the past few years, Deis, with the aid of publisher Wyatt Doyle, has re-energized the scholarly interest in those garish “sweat” mags and in doing so proven their legitimate claim as the heirs to the classic pulps of the 30s and 40s.  

With this beautiful 156 pg treasure, Deis and Cunningham have given us a magnificent sampling of what MAMS were about. From the reproductions of glorious covers and interior illustrations to the reprinting of both factual articles and action packed fiction, this collection is rollicking trip back in time. We could rant all day about the nine gun-blazing stories included here. But it was the article on actor James Arness and his role as Matt Dillon in the TV series “Gunsmoke” that was an amusing surprise. Written when the show was only a few years old, the big guy has no clue whether his show was going to be a success or not. He talks about what he will do when it is taken off the air. He had no inkling of the ground breaking longevity this cowboy series would ultimately achieve.  

Then we have a pin-up feature with the beautiful model Juli Redig and a gallery of artist Robert Emil Schulz MAMS western covers. The concept is every single issue will focus on a specific genre and western’s was a good choice to kick things off. We’re told the next issue will deal with spies. If it and subsequent volumes maintain the level of quality achieved with this premier issue, we pulp/MAMS fans are in for some really great reading. Thanks Mr. Cunningham and Mr. Deis, we owe you both big time.

Sunday, February 07, 2021




A Cool & Lam mystery.

By Erle Stanley Gardner writing as A.A. Fair

Hard Case Crime

219 pgs

Best known for his Perry Mason mysteries, Erle Stanley Gardner seems to have had a great deal of fun creating and writing the exploits  Bertha Cool and Donald Lam. Cool, a heavy set woman, opened her agency after the death of her husband, Henry, in 1936. Shortly thereafter she hired Donald Lam, a former lawyer who lost his license to practice.

The two are as unlikely a pair of heroes as one is likely to find anywhere in mystery fiction. Described as having white hair, with “greedy piggish eyes” and weighing anywhere from 165 to 220 pounds, Mrs. Cool wasn’t about to win any beauty contests. Still her grit and determination to make a go of the agency is what makes her amusingly endearing. That her loyalty to the mousey Lam. He is anything but the iconic tough guy private eye, weighing in at a diminutive 130 lbs, and standing all of 5’6” tall. A fast-talking, ex-shyster who is constantly being trashed by bigger men and yet is somehow endearing to the fairer sex.

“Shills Can’t Cash Chips” is the 22nd of 30 Cool and Lam mysteries and its typical of most of them. Looking to find what she considers an easy case, Bertha is delighted to take on an insurance adjustment claim regarding a simple fender-bender. A successful real estate developer driving a big Buick rear-ends a small sports car driven by a young lady. She has filed a claim and the insurance company wants to settle post-haste.

Cool’s instructions to Lam, question the participants, write a detailed report for their client and collect their paycheck. Alas, as ever, Lam finds himself caught up with weird acting characters to include a burly tough guy wanting to hire him to be a bogus witness to the accident. As if that wasn’t weird enough, someone has put an ad in the local papers saying they will pay $200 to any legitimate witness who will come forth. It gets curiouser and curiouser until the developer is found dead in the trunk of Lam’s car. And just like that the jittery little detective becomes the police’s main suspect.

“Shills Can’t Cash Chips” is Gardner at his hilarious best, obviously relishing ever twist and turn and poking fun at the whole ambulance chaser cartel. We swear, Lam must repeat his account of the accident at least a dozen times before the finale. Enough so to having laughing aloud and yelling, “Please, stop!” If you’ve never read a Cool & Lam story, do yourselves a favor and pick this up. Everyone needs a good laugh now and then.

Thursday, February 04, 2021




By Jonathan W. Sweet

Brick Pickle Media,LLC

201 pgs.

Clad in a blood red costume and wearing the a cowl shaped like a jackal’s head, the Red Jackal metes out justice to all evil-doers residing in America’s Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St.Paul. In reality he is communication mogul, Randolph Blake. A masked vigilante by night, owner of a big city daily and radio station by day. Then of course there is the usual assortment of loyal allies, chief of which is his younger brother Daniel Blake, followed chauffeur Geoffrey and one Detective Lt. McDaniels of the police department. All of them privy to the Red Jackal’s secret identity and crime fighting crusade.

This is New Pulp scribe Jonathan Sweet’s plunge into the wonderful world of masked avengers and with this first volume he lands a perfect ten. Not only is the Red Jackal done in the classic hero style, Sweet’s stories move at the appropriate speed keeping the action moving super fast from page to page.

The book contains four Red Jackal adventures. In the first he rescues a kidnapped heiress. In the second he goes after a serial killer who murders his victims using methods first presented on a weekly radio melodrama. Next the Red Jackal investigates why homeless men are disappearing from the seedy ghettos of his city which leads him to confront a diabolical madman. Finally, Sweet leaves the hero’s actual origin for last. It is a post-World War One adventure wherein Blake finds himself in Egypt on a unique archaeological dig; one that ends in murder and his being recruited by an ancient Egyptian God to become an avatar for the forces of justice in the modern world.

Honestly, we’ve seen quite a few new pulp heroes spring forth like publishing weeds in the past ten years since the establishment of the New Pulp field. Most have been okay successors to those classic characters from the 30s and 40s. A handful have been more than that. They are the worthy heirs to that heritage. You can consider the Red Jackal one of these without reservation. We eagerly await a second volume of his adventures.