Friday, February 25, 2022




Book Three of the Vim Hood Chronicles

By Terry Mark

285 pgs  

With this volume, writer Terry Mark continues his thrilling alternate history series featuring some very famous personalies. He picks up the narrative in Europe shortly after the Normandy invasion by allied troops. We find General Patton leading his armored command across France at such speed as if to threaten his own gas supply lines. Meanwhile in the South Pacific, Amelia Earhart, is alive and operating as an island spotter for the U.S. Navy observing the movements of Japanese warships. When that mission is completed, she recruits a young Navy flier named Paul Newman to accompany her to Europe and a rendezvous with Patton.  

Meanwhile a frightened young teenage Anne Frank has escaped her family’s hiding place and while on the run encounters a trio of savage Nazis werewolves. All of which has to do with Hitler’s attempt to find the source of the mysterious Vim gems that grant people arcane powers and the ability to make super weapons of mass destruction.

Once again, Mark weaves real history with his daring alternate world supernatural storyline to achieve the maximum in spills and thrills. Oh, and did we mention a certain trumpet player named Glenn Miller also has a part to play in the adventure. Just like his first two books in the series, “Moonlight Serenade” is pure pulp from start to finish. We urge you not only to pick it up but do yourselves a favor and also latch on to those first two books, “Kill the Night” and “And the Sun Goeth Down.” Really, you’ll be glad you did.

Thursday, February 17, 2022




By Max Allan Collins

Hard Case Crime

205 pgs  

Max Allan Collins has been writing stories about his Vietnam veteran hitman since 1976. It was obvious from the start that the author and his creation were the same age making it easy enough for him to place the stories in time. Collins did a few Quarry books and then walked away from them. When Hard Case Crime came along, publisher Charles Ardai, a fan of the character, urged Collins to bring Quarry back.” Collins, obviously older, as was his hero, realized he had a golden opportunity to write a finale.  

What his crystal ball couldn’t predict was how successful “The Last Quarry” would become among his ever growing audience. And there was Ardai wanting more. Collins pulled a very neat hat-trick and went backwards with “The First Quarry.” Which of course meant dusting off his own memories of those long ago times and their social environs. All of which he did making it seem effortless.  

Having thus given us the alpha and omega, it seemed we mystery/crime fans had seen the last of Quarry. Again we’ve been proven wrong in this new “Quarry’s Blood.” It’s pretty much a gripping fast paced epilogue and so much fun. We catch up with an aging Quarry, almost about to reach seventy and widowed for the second time. He’s content with living a quiet, if lonely life, until a very savvy female writer named Susan shows up on his doorstep. As it turns out she’s the author of a bestselling true crime novel that was clearly inspired by Quarry’s lethal career and she’s convinced he is the real hitman she researched in her book. 

Unnerved by all this, he maintains his false innocence and sends her packing. The following day, while taking a pre-dawn swim at a nearby indoor pool, he’s nearly killed by two professional assassins. No way is it a coincendence and Quarry finds himself once again being pulled into his old world of hunter/prey, kill or be killed. But what’s the connection to Susan? And who, after so many long years, wants him dead and why?  

This is one of the best Quarry books ever. Maybe we think that because we’re seventy-five, a Vietnam veteran and often times think about all our brothers who never made it home to their families and loved ones. Who never got to drink another cold beer or read a damn good book like this one. Thanks, Max, for all of them.

Thursday, February 10, 2022




Issue # 4

Edited by Robert Deis & Bill Cunningham

Pulp 2.0

148 pgs   

When repeating an operation several times, you can be assured of one of two results. One, the action is lessened and the quality diminishes with repetition. Or, two, the process becomes refined and the quality increases exponentially. With this series, there’s no doubt it is the second of theory that becomes instantly evident. Each new issue of “Men’s Adventure Quarterly” is unbelievable better than the last. How that is possible is obviously the work of editors Robert Deis and Bill Cunningham. Both are masters at their respective interests and merging of those two publishing sensibilities is sheer genius.   

Deis is the consummate MAM’s expert and his knowledge of that subject is only equaled by his love for it. As with the previous four installments, issue 4 has a theme; one near and dear all fans of this literature – Jungle Girls. From the opening page to the last, we are presented with a cornucopia of intriguing articles, action packed fanciful fiction and several captivating photo features.  

The 148 page magazine is book-ended by two segments spotlighting two very different women and their particular connection with the world of Men’s Adventure Magazines. The first is a series of new and reprinted articles about Jane Dolinger, a globetrotting beauty who was both a gifted writer and lovely cheesecake model. Deis’ presenting this little know adventuress to the world is worth the price of the issue. Ms Dolinger was a one of kind character just as sensational of those she invented in her fiction. Her pictorials also display a natural beauty completely comfortable with her own sexuality. We were much impressed with Deis’ interview with writer Lawrence Abbott who wrote Ms Dolinger’s biography; “Jane Dolinger : The Adventurous Life of an American Travel Writer.”  

The book’s middle section features four MAMS reprint stories about white men caught in lost jungle cities from the Amazon to Borneo and confronting lethal but sexy female warriors. Each is a gem and much fun. All are gorgeously illustrated by classic art from various MAM artists of the past, from Gil Cohen to Mort Kunstler.  

And then the volume wraps up with a huge photo tribute to the late German actress Marion Michael who came to stardom by starring in two internationally celebrated jungle movies in the mid-60s, “Liane – Girl From the Jungle” and “Nature Girl and the Slaver.” In the former she was billed as the German Sheena. A pretty blonde sweetheart, she was also compared to Brigette Bardot. Of course this is where the other half of the editing team, Bill Cunningham, shines. Once again, Cunningham’s skill at page layouts and his use of the art and photos is spot-on. He knows instinctively how to make every single page a dramatic presentation and joy to simply behold.

Deis’s articles are tremendous and Cunningham gives them the stunning visual stage they so richly deserve. “Men’s Adventure Quaterly # 4” is truly a wonderful treasure to any love of MAMS and pulps in general. Honestly, we can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

Wednesday, February 09, 2022




By Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

Forge Fiction

264 Pgs  

Way back in 2002 a good friend sent us a copy of the book, “The Cabinet of Curiosities” by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. In was in this book that we first encountered FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast. What we didn’t know at the time was it was the character’s third appearance in a book by these two writers. Later we would learn he had first appeared in “Relic,” (1995) a horror thriller that was later adapted into a feature film. Now we hadn’t read “Relic” but we had seen and enjoyed the movie. Sadly, in the process of bringing the story to the screen, the screen writers opted to trim the large cast of characters and Pendergast was one of the casualties of those cuts.   

Buoyed by the success of that first collaboration, Preston and Child wrote a sequel, “Reliquary” (1997) and once again brought back Pendergast as part of the original cast of characters from the previous thriller. Again, at the time, we were totally oblivious to any of this. Or the fact that Pendergast role slowly growing even though he was still part of an ensemble of players. With the arrival of “The Cabinet of Curiosities” he took center stage and quickly gathered a huge fandom. Soon the series became the Pendergast books and each continued to expand his popularity. It remains our personal favorite such.  

Recently we found a new paperback edition of “Reliquary” and immediately picked it up. We were amused at the sub-title indicating it was “The Second Novel in the Pendergast Series.” How things had changed. Being familiar with the movie version of “Relic” we had no trouble digging into this story and realized quickly that it is most assuredly a follow up. In fact one might rightly call it a Part Two of the same tale. In “Relic” a scientist returns from a trip to the Amazon infected by an exotic plant. Upon his return to New York City and the Natural History Musuem, it transforms him physically into a monstrous beast that then terrorizes and murders lots of people before being vanquished.  

In “Reliquary” several of his museum colleagues have discovered the truth behind the monster and begin expirementing with what remains of the alien plant. These secret expirement leads to creation of as yet another mental and physical altering drug and they begin testing it on the homeless “moles” that live beneath the streets of the city. Soon these poor souls are turned into horrible creatures and begin killing people at random. When a rich young debutant becomes one of their victims and her headless corpse is discovered in the river, the police begin to investigate and eventually Lt. Vincent D’Agosta and Dr. Nora Kelly, a museum curator, are once again teaming up to solve the grisly murders. It is no surprise when, a quarter into the book, Agent Pendergast appears we readers are once again enjoying another fast paced, fantastic thriller like no other.  

Being Pendergast fans, we’re happy to have had this chance to read one of his earliest appearances and as ever cannot wait for his newest book.