Monday, September 25, 2023




A Pendergast Novel

By Preston & Child

Grand Central Publishing

400 pgs


We’ve a good friend who every Christmas sends us a book. Many years ago he sent along “The Cabinet of Curiosities,” a thriller by Preston and Child that introduced us to FBI Special Agent Pendergast. It was the third in the series featuring this truly remarkable hero who is easily one of the greatest pulp protagonist ever created. The wealthy investigator with the peculiar Southern heritage we soon discovered was one quarter the Shadow, one quarter Sherlock Holmes, and one quarter Chandu the Magician. We’ll divulge that final quarter in a few minutes. 

As a dedicated lover of pulp fiction, we were instantly enamored and soon became a dedicated fan. Although the third in the series, “Cabinet of Curiosities” was a definitive shift in the saga as it not only introduced Constance Green, a nearly immortal young lady who would become Pendergast’s ward, but also the insidious evil scientist Dr. Leng. By that book’s finale, the series was clearly propelled into the genre of the fantastic. Now, seventeen books later, Preston and Child have come full circle and revived that villain in a truly remarkable tale. 

Spoiler alert. “The Cabinet of Dr. Leng” is only the first part of the story and ends with a dire cliffhanger. At the end of the previous adventure, Constance managed to time-travel back into the past; her goal to find and kill Dr. Leng. She left Pendergast a note asking him not to follow her. Naturally, he ignores it and manages to reconstruct the ruined time machine to go after her. And now, after all these great stories, we see he is also one quarter Captain Future.

From that first book, the Pendergast series has been our favorite new pulp series. It is exciting, innovative, fresh; full of wild, craziness with remarkable, heroic characters and the most black-hearted monsters and villains. “The Cabinet of Dr. Leng” is unrelenting in its pacing and we cannot wait for the second half to arrive. Oh, yeah.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023




An Isaac Bell Adventure

By Jack Du Brul


462 pgs

Having become so damn popular with his modern pulp thrillers featuring Dirk Pitt, the late author Clive Cussler went on to create three other series that would be handed off to other writers but bear his name. These included Kurt Austin Adventures, the Sam & Remi Fargo Adventures and finally the Isaac Bell Adventures. Bell, a turn of the century detective for the Van Dorn Detective Agency first appeared in Cussler’s novel, “The Chase.” After this auspicious debut, his next nine books were penned by Justin Scott. All of these were terrific and we enjoyed them thoroughly. Then most recently, Scott was replaced on book ten by Jack Du Brul, another veteran scribe of Cussler’s posse.

“Saboteur” is the eleventh in the series and Du Brul’s second. It is a wonderful, beautifully researched gem that has Bell chasing a secret band of Panamanian revolutionaries set on disrupting the building of the Panama Canal. Starting with the attempted assignation of a U.S. Senator in San Diego, the clues indicate the assassins were part of this South American group known as the Red Vipers. Arriving in Panama, Bell witnesses a horrific act of terrorism that leads to the death twenty-eight men. Enraged by the savagery of the attack, Bell is determined to find the rebels and stop them. Along the way he begins to suspect the Red Vipers may only be a subterfuge to hide the real villains. He deduces the may be agents of a foreign power intent on stopping America’s economic growth and influence on the world’s stage.

As he gets closer to unmasking the spies, Bell soon becomes a target. These fanatics will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. “Saboteur” is another great entry into this well received series and Du Brul does Cussler’s legacy proud. Not to be missed.