Thursday, January 27, 2022




By Dave Thomas & Max Allan Collins

Neo Text

328 pgs   

Considering his past works, writer Max Allan Collins is the last person we’d ever associate with science fiction. But that’s exactly what we have here in this thriller co-written with Dave Thomas. “The Many of Lives of Jimmy Leighton” is half sci-fi and half crime mystery. Jimmy Leighton is a young thief living in Boston’s notorious South-End. He’s in debt to a sadistic Vietnamese gangster and decides to rob the house of a scientist. In the man’s cellar, he discovers a quantum machine and accidentally activates it at the same time he is shot in the back of the head by a second intruder.  

And just like that there are two Jimmy Leightons. One who collapses from the gunshot wound and the second who simply vanishes? That Jimmy’s consciousness is transported to another earth and into the body of a duplicate Jimmy Leighton; one who is rich and lives in Chicago. As our dimension hopping protagonist tries to comprehend his dilemma, his other self is rescued and taken to a Boston hospital where surgeons save his life but leave him in a coma. Enter detectives Sam Neer and Taylor Farr, assigned to the case. Who shot the thief in the scientist’ basement and why? From this point the book jumps, much like our hero, back and forth between the story of the cops trying to solve the shooting and Jimmy’s quantum identity jumps. Through the course of the story, he’ll find himself as a boxing prize-fighter, a bank robber, an infantry soldier in Afghanistan and even a hometown Catholic.

The balance between both narratives is really well handled; with both writers maintain a truly enjoyable rhythm throughout the story. They bring it all to a very satisfying conclusion for all the characters. This is obviously a one shot as we can’t envision any sequels. Yet we’d really like to see Neer and Farr again. Perhaps in a more traditional cop mystery in the future? Regardless, “The Many Lives of Jimmy Leighton” is a fun read one not to be missed.

Saturday, January 22, 2022




Editor/Publisher Steve Donoso

A Resonance Arts Press Publication

62 pages


Last year pulp enthusiast were treated to the premier of this excellent new magazine devoted to arguably the great pulp hero of them all, The Shadow. The magazine was crammed pack with excellent, informative articles, great artwork all beautifully designed. Now comes the second issue equally as good only with an additional 12 pages. Talk about making a good thing better.

The first article “Stories of World History and The Shadow” kicks it all with a look at the greatest Shadow graphic adventure ever published, Marvel’s “Hitler’s Astrologer” as written by Denny O’Neil and illustrated by artists Michael Kaluta with gorgeous inks by Russ Heath. We think so highly of this book, we own two copies.   

Next Will Murray offers up memories of his time working with Tony Tollin on the Sanctum Shadow reprints series. Murray’s anectodes are always fun and sometimes eerily revealing. 

Editor Steve Donoso then ushers in a truly wonderful pictorial of old New York by photographer Berenice Abbott that showcases a 1930s landscape that was clearly the landscape for many of the Shadow’s adventures. It is a nostalgic treasure we greatly enjoyed. 

Tim King’s “The Dark Avenger in Military Heraldry” was really fascinating stuff. 

Donoso then reviews Will Murray’s “Master of Mystery : The Rise of the Shadow.” Something we did as well when the volume was first released. 

Todd D. Severin and Keith being their history of the character with “The Shadow – Mysterious Being of the Night – The Pulp Years – Part 1.” Again informative and fun. Will be eagerly awaiting future segments. 

“The Shadow and the Explorers Club” by Julian Puga is a short two-page article and nice finale to a wonderful issue. 

If you’re a Shadow enthusiast by any degree, visit their on-line website and pick up a copy…of both issues. You’ll be richer for it. Tell them the sun is shining but the ice is slippery.  (


Friday, January 21, 2022




A Nero Wolfe Mystery

By Robert Goldsborough

Mysterious Press

246 pgs.

Every now and then we readers discover fictional characters and become totally enamored with them. Enough so that when their creators pass on, we hope other writers will take on those heroes and continue their adventures; most of which we refer to as pastiches. (Note – a term we totally dislike.) Now, regardless of your attitude towards continuations, it is all too clear some of these characters have come to belong to the world at large. When thinking of such, Sherlock Holmes immediately takes the number one spot. Since his creator’s passing, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of his new adventures have been written. Why? Simple, because his world wide fans demanded more. 

Thus is the case with Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, the irascible characters created by the late Red Stout as his take on the Holmes/Watson duo. It was no surprise that they quickly became the darlings of mystery fans everywhere and when Stout passed away in 1975 it seemed the end for this delightful pair. Happily such was not the case when journalist/author Robert Goldsborough arrived to reopen the door to the famous Brownstone on West 35th St. and began writing new Nero Wolfe mysteries. In the past fifteen such, he’s related the first ever meeting between Wolfe and Archie, taking us on a visit to Archie’s hometown and even had Wolfe come to Inspector Cramer’s rescue on a tricky case. It is these forays into the established character’s background that have made all of Goldsborough’s books a pure delight. Book # 16, “Trouble in the Brownstone” is no exception.

It begins with Wolfe’s orchid expert Theodore Horstmann being savagely beaten weeks after having left his rooftop apartment for new digs. Left in a coma from which he may never recover, Wolfe and Archie devote themselves to finding the perpetrators and bringing them to justice. This leads to McCready’s an Irish bar near the docks of the Hudson River. Archie soon learns the bar is frequented by foreign seamen most of whom reside at a five story hotel across the street from the pub. Set in the months after the end of World War Two, Goldsborough’s plot centers around the plight of thousands of Displaced Refugees desperately hoping to immigrate to America. Thus the opportunity arose for unscrupulous opportunists in providing smuggling avenues for those people with the money to pay. How this connects with Horstmann’s fate is part of the complicated knot the rotund sleuth must unravel if the villains are to be exposed. 

“Trouble in the Brownstone” is, as its previous entries, a terrific Nero Wolfe story and as always, is a genuine homage to Mr. Stout. Here’s hoping Goldsborough has lots more stories coming our way. We eagerly await each and every one of them

Saturday, January 15, 2022




By P.J. Thorndyke

238 pgs   

It is the summer of 1968 and a girl name Alice has fled her past life and moved to California. Fate decrees her arrival to coincide with a deadly train derailment that unleashes an experimental gas created by the war department to enhance violent emotions in combat soldiers fighting in Vietnam. Soon locals are infected and begin attacking each other with incidents of violent bloodshed spreading rapidly. The papers call the infected souls The Changed.


On her own, Alice tries to flee Southern California and in a roadside diner encounters a young man named Cody. Both of them barely manage to escape another bloody encounter and end up joining a group of bikers for protection. In turn the bikers come across a busload of drug-addled free-love hippies. The two groups agree to band together in an abandoned old west town on the edge of the desert. Here they can be safe from The Changed and hopefully wait out the disaster until the world returns to normal. Regrettably as time goes by, one of the charismatic hippy leaders named Chuck manages mesmerize everyone into believing the outside world is doomed and they are the only hope for mankind’s future. All too soon Alice and Cody find themselves trapped in a cultish compound being led by a madman.  

P.J. Thorndyke is an excellent writer and unfolds his story in a logical step by step manner so as to detail the thin line between civilization and savagery. His characters are doomed from the start; unable to alter the swift descent into horror that ultimately engulfs them all.

Thursday, January 06, 2022




By Max Allan Collins

Illustrated by Fay Dalton

Neo Text

118 pgs

During World War Two, so many of America’s sons went off fight a war, it fell on America’s daughters to keep the homefront afloat. Now for those mothers and wives living on farms and ranches, none of this was new as they already knew what hard labor was all about. Whereas their city-cousins who had only punched a clock behind a store counter or handled a typewriter, they were not at all prepared for the noisy, sweaty, production factories they were required to keep working. The war effort needed lots of planes and tanks and lots of other vital military equipment. Thus in the thousands these gals put aside their lipsticks for head scarves, high-heels for work boots and rolled up their sleeves to do their part. Thus was born Rosy the Riveter.  

Considering the five long years the war lasted, we’ve always been amazed that Hollywood for the most part has ignored this phenomenon of a woman dominated America and only given us two major productions centered on the period. The first being the horrendous 1984 “Swing Shift” directed by Jonathan Damme and starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. Its intentions might have been good, but the story was bland and boring. As for the second, we’ll get to that eventually. 

Now mystery writer Max Allan Collins has turned his always active imagination to that subject matter in “Fancy Anders Goes To War,” and delivers a short, fun and exciting tale debuting a wonderful new character. Francine Anders’ father operates a private investigation business out of Los Angeles. When he is called away to Washington to help with the establishment of the military’s new intelligence department, he leaves Fancy behind to manage the office. What he assumes will be simple record keeping and maintenance stuff.

What Anders senior couldn’t foresee was the death of a young woman at the Amalgamated Aircraft Factory.  Although reported as an accident, the owner of the firm has suspicions to the contrary. Being a good friend of the family, he suggests that Fancy investigate. With the help of a city detective, she agrees and soon goes undercover as a new employee. Once again, Collins sets the stage with detailed historical accuracy as Fancy finds herself working with other patriotic, self-sacrificing women unafraid to get their hands dirty and willing to take on any job that will help America win the war. Yet working side by side with these women, and their male supervisors, might be a murderer. Fancy’s challenge is not only to uncover the killer but at the same time the motive for the crime.

It’s a dandy mystery and Fancy and her friends are wonderfully realized. We’d also like to tip our pulp fedora to artist Fay Dalton who provides not only a great colorful cover but some equally beautiful interior illustrations. Something we don’t get enough these days. Finally, we did mention there was a second movie about women during wartime; Penny Marshall’s delightful “A League of their Own” starring Tom Hanks and Gena Davis. Which only makes us wonder if maybe Fancy might return in a sequel? “Fancy Anders Strikes Out” has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

Saturday, January 01, 2022




(A Mace Bullard Patrol)

By James Hopwood

Pro-Se Press

126 pg

Adventure tales of the French Foreign Legion were a staple of the classic pulp magazine titles. These were hardy stories of brave men who for whatever reasons were societies’ cast-offs and banded together under the French flag. It was a brotherhood where loyalty was demanded and survival never guaranteed.

 Writer James Hopwood wonderfully captures both the non-stop action and pure essence of those early action yarns with his Mace Bullard series. Bullard is a man with no past, suffering amnesia after having been mugged on the streets of Rabat. Thus he joins the local Legion troop and is accepted by them without so much as a shrug. Soon he finds himself stationed at Fort Granuille. There, while on patrol under the command of a tough by-the-book Sgt. Le Pen, Bullard sees combat against a group of Malaci Arab raiders. When Le Pen is knocked unconscious, Bullard takes command and saves the patrol but refuses to follow the remaining enemy into the hellhole desert known as The Sun’s Anvil.  

Because of this decision, Le Pen charges him with insubordination and Commander Renault has no option but to punish Bullard by assigning him to a distant outpost called Sahara Six. There Bullard finds a dilapidated fort occupied only but three men, one woman and a dog. The captain is a drunk, the cook a woman, the mechanic has only one hand and the remaining rookie legionnaire is Sgt. Le Pen’s own nephew. All the other soldiers had long since deserted leaving this motley group behind. And if that wasn’t bad enough, shortly after his arrival, the outpost finds itself under siege by another band of Malaci following the orders of their leader, the fanatical El Hakim. 

From the first page to the last, “Sahara Six” propels the reader along with reckless panache expertly showcasing one action sequence after another. All of which are brilliantly described in glorious pulp bravura. There is nothing slow or boring about this tale and fans of the old pulps are in for a rousing treat. New Pulp has never been better.