Tuesday, November 29, 2022




A Tom Kincaid Crime Mystery

By William R. Cox

Bold Venture Press

162 pgs


William Robert Cox (1901 – 1988) was a veteran pulp writer who wrote in various genres. His most popular were crime/mysteries and westerns. Among the several series he created, the Tom Kincaid are among the most memorable. The set up was pure tough-guy pulps. Kincaid is a World War II veteran eking out a living in New York City as a professional gambler. In that line of work, he often crosses paths with both mobster and cops of all varieties.

When a group of supposedly disaffiliated young hoodlums begin attacking mob backed establishments and gambling parlors, Kincaid somehow finds himself in the middle of the conflict. For whatever reason, one of the vicious young Turks named Wysocki, has signaled him out in the belief he is part of the Mosski syndicate. Which then puts the gambler under the scrutiny of that particular boss. In his attempts to keep himself neutral, Kincaid finds himself the center of violence from both sides. 

As if that isn’t bad enough, someone close to Kincaid is brutally murdered and he realizes those close to him are all possible targets of the mystery figure controlling the murderous punks. Unless he can uncover the hidden mastermind’s identity, the prospects of his future are getting worst by the minute. And those are odds no gambler is ever willing to accept.

“Hell To Pay” is a classic 50s-60s pulp story. Cox’s vocabulary echoes the slang of the concrete jungle in a savage style of poetry that made his fiction unique.

Saturday, November 26, 2022




Editor/Publisher Steve Donoso

A Renaissance Arts Press Publication

66 pages


What a delight to get this new issue in the mail recently. As ever the articles are so much fun and all of them contributed by true Shadow fans. Both Will Murray and Tim King hunt for whatever origins may have led Walter Gibson to come up with the name B. Jonas as the “drop box” for his New York City agents. It’s fascinating to see how each writer approaches this mystery from different points.   

This was followed by several articles in regards to the Shadow in comic books. Although we didn’t completely agree with Todd D. Severin’s conceit in regards to the character’s overall importance to the four-color media’s history, we found his facts both fascinating and informative. Whereas Daryl Morrissey piece on the comic book team up of the Shadow and Doc Savage was a wonderful trip down memory lane as we proudly own all the issues referred to in the article.  

The second of half Michael Uslan’s interview was very comprehensive dealing with the various aspects of his involvement with classic pulp and radio heroes. Then we have the finale of the issue which was a hoot. John Olsen, working from the actual radio script, narrates the final Shadow episode which aired on December 26, 1954. He does so with such panache, it was easy to imagine the actual show itself, with the actors playing their part against the haunting mood music background and nerve shattering sound effects.

Finally a tip of our pulp fedora to the artists who graced this issue. From the cover to the interior illustrations, each delivered amazing drawings. 

“The Shadowed Circle” has proven to be the finest fan publication on the Shadow ever produced. ‘Nuff said?

Wednesday, November 23, 2022






By Heather Redmond

Kensington Publishing

303 pgs


This is the third book in the unique Charles Dickens mysteries devised by writer Heather Redmond. In the books, which began with “A Tale of Two Murders” and was followed by “Grave Expectations,” the author has a grand time having a young Charles Dickens become involved with murders and then attempt to solve them with the help of his fiancĂ©e, one Kate Hogarth. The added twist is obvious from the titles in that they revolved around one of the famous writer’s novels.

“A Christmas Carol Murder,” was our introduction to the series because although fans of Mr. Dickens, we’ve always had a particular fondness for arguably his most famous story. In this tale, Charles and Kate are celebrating the Christmas season by joining several of their friends in caroling through various London neighborhoods. When they arrive at the home of one Ebenezer Screws, they have barely begun to sing a few songs when the body of an elderly gentlemen falls dead at the feet out of a second story window. He is Mr. Bob Harley, Screws business partner in their countinghouse. Oh, and wrapped around the dead man’s throat is a sturdy iron chain. Did he fall out of the window by accident or was he pushed?

Upon meeting Screws, Dickens is put off by the man. Whereas it is Kate who feels pity for him and urges Charles to investigate. As he reluctantly does so, other familiar characters from the classic appear adding extra fun to the narrative. There’s also an endearing sub-plot wherein Dickens takes in an orphaned baby boy named Timothy whose mother died in a house fire where she worked as a maid. Allegations arise that the baby might be the journalist bastard child. Although false, Dickens is worried such charges will jeopardize his engagement with Kate, never mind bring about the wrath of her father, his boss at The Chronicle. 

All in all, “A Christmas Carol Murder” is brilliantly delivered and the author’s research into London and its social mores at the time are spot on.  What Christmas just around the corner, we can’t think of a more appropriate book for our readers pick up and relish. It truly is a wonderful surprise.


Tuesday, November 01, 2022




City of Skulls

By Jaime Ramos

Lucky Comics LLC

20 pgs


“Golgotha – City of Skulls” is an odd little book labeling itself a novelette. Considering its brevity, it is obviously not a novella. Whereas it seems to fall in that gray zone of what would be called a “long” short story. We know, that’s an oxymoron, but novelette seems to fit here quite nicely.


The story itself concerns a psychic investigator named Johnny Normandy who is called upon by the police of Golgotha, a dark and grim city on the lake shores of Wisconsin. The mayor’s young daughter, Betsy, has been kidnapped and Normandy is apparently the only person with a chance of saving here. Once into the story itself, it soon becomes evident there’s more to the tale. Our hero has an antagonistic relation to his honor the mayor. One that may yield a dramatic surprise before the case is finished.  

One should also note, Ramos conceived the setting of Golgotha to be a shared backdrop wherein other writers will be invited to create their own tales that take place within its environs. This is nothing new in pulps, as we seem to recall publisher Tommy Hancock doing a similar shared world called Sovereign City years ago. That project featured writers like Barry Reese and the late Derrick Ferguson. It’s always a fun idea and we’ll be intrigued to see how this one develops.  

Till then, “City of Skulls” is a damn good beginning. Go find a copy and see for yourself.