Thursday, August 31, 2023




A Walker/Tamiko L.A.P.D. Novel

By Paul Bishop

Wolfpack Publishing

313 pgs


Even since getting hooked on the late Ed McBain’s cop/mystery series, the 87th Precinct, we’ve enjoyed reading cop novels. Familiar with the fact that writer Paul Bishop is a veteran, highly decorated, former L.A. P.D. detective; our expectations for this book were high.

 The year is 1977 and police officer Calico Jack Walker is going to retire after thirty years on the force. It is a bitter-sweet time in Calico’s life as he’s not at all certain his plans to start a boat chartering business with his son Ren will fill his future with the same thrills and satisfaction he experienced on the city streets. He’s also become ambivalent of turning loose his rookie partner, Tina Tamiko, to spread her own wings. Under his mentorship she’s become a really good cop with all the right skills and survival instincts. What’s confusing things is they are becoming romantically involved. Ouch. 

As if all this wasn’t enough to occupy Calico’s few remaining days, he, and Tamiko, are challenged by two fellow officers, Stack and Thurman, to a race to be run during one single duty shift from Los Angeles to Los Vegas and back again. It is an old unauthorized escapade most believe a myth and realistically impossible. Be that as it may, Stack, having been publicly embarrassed by Tamiko on several occasions, won’t rescind his challenge and the race is on.

Meanwhile, in the state penitentiary, a murderous inmate puts out a contract on Calico’s life so that he won’t be around to screw up the killer’s upcoming parole hearing. Then there’s the British gangster planning a million dollar heist at the very casino that is the race drivers’ destination and turn around point. “Hot Pursuit” is just that and from page to page, Bishop keeps the metal to pedal, delivering a high octane, action packed thriller at the same time introducing us to a fascinating cast of characters you won’t soon forget. This one’s a winner, friends, all the way to the finish line.

Monday, August 14, 2023




A Nero Wolfe Mystery

By Robert Goldsborough

211 pgs

We always look forward to new Nero Wolfe mysteries by Robert Goldsborough and have been ever grateful that he picked up the series after creator Rex Stout’s death. Goldsborough instinctively realized the charm and success of the series was always its characters; with the actual cases taking a back seat; albeit still thoughtful and appreciated. Thus in several of his recent entries, we’ve seen the spotlight put on supporting characters ala Police Inspector Kramer and then we had the fun adventure of Archie Goodwin’s trip home allowing us to meet his mother.  

In this latest tale, he continues that trend with a delightful look at Archie’s paramour, the lovely and witty Lily Rowan. The wealthy socialite, as we’ve come to know her, devotes most of her time, and money, to charities and other admirable social causes. It is she who gets the case rolling when she tells Archie that one of her close friends, Maureen Carr, has mysterious disappeared. The young woman, a wealth heiress, like Lily, spends much of her time supporting worthy causes. When she goes missing for several weeks, Lily becomes concerned and Archie agrees to help look into the matter. Soon their investigation draws Wolfe into the affair and once again our familiar mystery train is back on well traveled tracks. 

“The Missing Heiress” is another dandy foray with all the usual suspects, twists and turns, leading to murder and the always anticipated house gathering of suspects at its finale. What more can we say? Except to hope Mr. Goldsborough won’t be long and writing another.

Tuesday, August 08, 2023




Levon Cade # 4

By Chuck Dixon

Rough Edges Press

205 pgs


If you’re following this series, and from what we’ve gathered on-line its overwhelming success proves you are, then you are already aware Dixon’s story continues from one book to the next. Thus, having to flee the events that transpired in the northern winter wilds of Maine, fugitive Levon Cade and his young daughter, Merry, flee south in hopes of evading their pursuers; agents from the FBI, Homeland Security and the Treasury. Oh yeah, when this tough ex-Marine kicks the hornet’s nest, all kinds of chaos erupts.

In Cade’s possession are several duffel bags filled with money, some real, others counterfeit; plus uncut diamonds. All part of a stash he stumbled upon in the last book. His only goal now is to reach the home of his former Marine mentor, Gunny Leffertz where he and Merry will find sanctuary. Cade, having been trained in evasive tactics while in the military knows all the tricks and manages to stay one step of his hunters.

Kudos to Dixon for detailing his characters savvy in such a way that seems totally realistic and it is obvious the writer’s research is spot on. 

Still a moment arrives when Cade has to part with Merry for her own safety by putting her on a train and leading pursuers away from her. It’s an emotional juncture in the chase and only heightens the suspense already created. Both Cade and his child will encounter evil forces on their separate routes to reunion and to call this story a nail-biter is only doing it justice. The Levon Cade series is one of the finest in action thriller fiction today. If you’re one of the few not already enjoying the hell out of it, just what are you waiting for? An invitation? Considered given.

Friday, August 04, 2023

CAPTAIN FUTURE - The Horror At Jupiter



The Horror at Jupiter

By Allen Steele

Amazing Selects

159 pgs


With the publication of this book, writer Allen Steele wraps up his four volume saga featuring Edmond Hamilton’s pulp hero Captain Future. With the series, Steele did not change Future and his Futuremen as much as revamp them for modern readers. To that end he succeeded and each of the books has been a fun, wild, space adventure that respectfully paid homage to those classic rough edged magazines of the 30s and 40s. This book, the finale, is no exception. In fact it is easily the best with a non-stop pacing any pulp writer would have applauded. 

“The Horror at Jupiter” picks up where the third entry, “1,500 Light Years from Home” ended. Captain Future, aka Curt Newton, has shot and supposedly killed the President of the Solar Coalition after having been brainwashed his arch enemy, the Magician of Mars, Ul Quorn. Without giving away too much, let’s just say things are not what they seem and President Carthew not only survives but Curt is freed of his mental imprisonment and once more put in charge of foiling Ul Quorn’s newest threat to the planet Earth.

On a distant alien world, Ul Quorn has come into possession of a giant space machine with enough firepower to destroy a planet. Shades of Star War’s Death Star, Steel’s Vengeance of Kosk may look like a 70s disco ball, but its threat is no laughing matter. Quorn has it appear out of hyper-space in orbit around Jupiter, along with his own command ship. He then immediately notifies the President that unless his demands are met with hour, he will destroy the Earth. The renegade scientist’s scheme is to achieve independence for several rebel colonies in the Solar System and ultimately establish his own empire all under the guise of being a freedom fighter.

With the clock clicking away, Captain Future and his team, Brain, Otho and Grag must devise a plan to foil the madman’s nightmarish threat and once again save the day. How they do so is what kept this reviewer rapidly turning pages; unable to put the book down until its climatic and totally satisfying conclusion. Honestly, that story alone will have you cheering but there’s more. Yup. Steele then offers up a truly fascinating and equally entertaining essay on Space Opera. Familiar with perhaps 50% of this stuff, we truly appreciated his showcasing those tidbids of science-fiction history we were not aware of it. Thanks so much, Allen Steele and please, give us more Captain Future.