Wednesday, December 28, 2022




By Max Allan Collins

Thomas & Mercer

213 pgs


Collins’ story begins on the 5th of December, 1941 in Honolulu, Hawaii, where famed writer Edgar Rice Burroughs is residing with one of his sons, Hulbert “Hully.” Tensions on the island are high, as recent political events indicate the high probability of a war with Japan. Still, most of the Army and Navy’s commanding brass are unwilling to believe that the fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor could be the target of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Burroughs, and a few of his friends, believe otherwise, seeing the obvious vulnerability of all those fighting ships crammed together in one harbor. Never mind the various army airbases across the island having their aircraft lined up side by side like ducks in a shooting gallery at the circus.  

The one distraction in this charged atmosphere is the plight of two young lovers. Bill Fielder, a sailor aboard the U.S.S. Arizona, is in love with a band singer of Japanese descent named Pearl Harada and wants to marry her. Being one of Hully’s friends, he confesses his father, an Army General, is racist and will most likely object to him marrying the girl. Meanwhile, Pearl approaches Burroughs senior, requesting he help her get an audience with Bill’s father. Burroughs agrees, feeling genuine sympathy for the couple. But before this can happen, Pearl is murdered on the beach outside his bungalow. 

At first Burroughs and son believe her death was the result of the romance but as they begin to investigate, they come to suspect Pearl may have been aware of certain espionage activities by other Japanese residents. Enough to get her killed. 

Once again, Collins spins a gripping mystery set against one of history’s most infamous moments, the attack on Pearl Harbor. Beginning his tale two days earlier, Collins is able to build the suspense moving forward through time until the dawn of the 7th, the “Day of Infamy” and then he powerfully depicts the actual attack and its devastating destruction of the U.S. fleet and death of thousands of Americans, but military and civilian. Amidst this chaos, the creator of Tarzan closes in on a brutal killer. An ironic counterpoint to the destruction unfolding all around him. 

“The Pearl Harbor Murders” is brilliant. Not only for its historical setting, but Collins deft portrayal of one of the most beloved and cherished American writers of all time. The book is a treat we recommend it soundly.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022




By Martin Grams Jr.

OTR Publishing LLC


123 pages


In this self-published book, award winning cultural historian, Martin Grams Jr. pays homage to one of early radio and television’s most popular heroes, Sgt. Preston of the Yukon. Working from the first 16 radio scripts written Detroit’s WXYZ station by writers Tom Dougall and Frank Striker, Grams adapts them to prose form. He takes us readers on a trip back to the wild and wooly frontier days of the Yukon when gold was first discovered in the frozen north. 

Here is the stalwart Sgt. Bill Preston, his faithful dog, Yukon King as well as a supporting cast to include Canadian Pierre LeRoux. Each story is set against the rugged, unforgiving Yukon with locations such as Frozen Gulch, Skagway and awson. Names that echo romance and adventure. Gram’s prose is straight forward, without flowery embellishing adding to the rugged drama of each story. It’s his first venture into fiction writing and we certainly hope not his last.

Thursday, December 15, 2022




(A Captain Future Novel)

By Allen Steele

Tor Books – Pub 2017

300 pages


In early part of 1939, veteran sci-fi pulp writer Edmond Hamilton met with Leo Margulies, Better Publication’s editorial director, to discuss the creation of a new title, Captain Future. The lead character of Curt Newton, a super-scientist who lived on the moon and went by the name Captain Future. The original idea for the character may have come from Mort Weisinger. Captain Future's companions in the series included an enormously strong robot named Grag, an android named Otho, and the brain of Simon Wright, Newton's mentor. Joan Randall, Newton's girlfriend, was also a regular character.  

Margulies announced the new magazine at the first ever World Science Fiction Convention held in New York in July 1939 and the first issue, edited by Weisinger, appeared in January of the following year. It would last for seventeen issues and is still today considered one of the finest hero pulps ever produced. Still old heroes never die and in 2017, sci-fi author Allen Steele took it up on himself to revive the series and thus write brand new adventures of Captain Future and the Futuremen.  

It appears (and we could be wrong) he’s written a total of four, this being the first. Of course Steele could have merely reinvented the entire concept and given us new characters and been unimpeded with what Hamilton had done. Instead, to our delirious delight, he merely adapted the originals to work in era compatible with our current knowledge of science and space exploration. This is a full blown origin story built on a Hamilton tale that was only hinted at the magazine stories. The Futuremen are all here, and Steele has given them unique personalities as are classic Captain Future villains from the pulp days.

In “Avengers of the Moon,” a young Curt Newton is after the man who murdered his parents. With the aid of the Brain, Otho and Grag, his hunt leads him to uncover a nest of radicals plotting a revolution on Mars against the Solar Coalition. Steele pacing is perfect and if you love old fashion space operas, it is high time you met Captain Future. For the record, we found out copy in a second hand book store. It’s the kind of treasure any pulp lover would love.

Monday, December 05, 2022



By Chuck Dixon

Rough Edges Press

192 pgs


A little over a year ago, Chuck Dixon sent us a copy of his novel “Levon’s Time,” the seventh in this series about Levon Cade, an ex-Marine who crosses paths with lots of bad people; much to their woes. We’d been aware of the series, but hadn’t had the opportunity to check it out. The best way to describe Levon Cade is pretty much a redneck cousin to both Jack Reacher and Mack Bolan. He’s a good man, a patriot and devoted father. Delighted with that book, we picked up volumes eight and nine as they were published. Becoming enthusiastic fans, we put on the breaks. Before going any further with this character, it was high time we went back and started at the beginning. Thus we attempted to purchase Volume One from Amazon only to discover it wasn’t available.  

We dropped Dixon an e-mail to that fact and he was surprised. Come to find out, Amazon had screwed up, and book one should have been listed as available. He wasted no time in correcting that snafu. We in turn immediately ordered Volumes One and Two. And here we are with this review. Readers should understand, regardless of my friendship with the author, my reviews are based solely on the book’s quality. If a book stinks to high heaven, we simply don’t review it. The world has enough junk in it without us adding more.  

“Levon’s Trade” is a power packed action thriller that hits the ground running. We’re introduced to Cade, a widower whose wife died of cancer and left him with a 7 year daughter named Merry (short for Meredith). She is living with her maternal grandparents who are suing the courts for full custody. Their argument is that Cade suffers from PTSD and is a danger to the child. Of course the claim is bogus, but the grandparents are wealthy and will use that wealth to forestall the court’s verdict until Cade can no longer to afford to contest them. In short, he’s in desperate need of quick cash.  

Which is where the plot intertwines with Job Bob Wiley, a rich construction entrepreneur whose daughter, Jenna, has vanished without a trace while on Spring Break in Florida? Tampa police come up empty in their investigation and an anxious Joe Bob believes his daughter has been kidnapped. Suspecting Cade’s mysterious military background might have included special ops, Wiley offers him five thousand dollars to go and find his girl.

From that point on, Levon Cade becomes a ruthless manhunter trained by the most efficient military force in the world, the U.S. Marines. In no time at all, he picks up the trail leading to several criminal networks made up of foreign immigrants who consider American law enforcement agencies amateurs. Not so Cade. He’s a one man army they can’t stop. “Levon’s Trade” is lean in its prose, Dixon never wasting a single word to tell his story. One scene races into the next until the gun blasting climax explodes across the final pages. It’s a fantastic debut of a truly great action hero.

Do yourselves a favor, dear readers, don’t make our mistake and wait to discover him. You’ll only regret it in the end.  Now onto book two.