Feb 152013
 
The Black Dog Books website is temporarily offline do to ye olde publisher
overlooking to pay his hosting renewal by the appropriate deadline.

I expect the website to be back online in 24 to 48 hours.

Thank you for all the emails of inquiry. Your shared concern is appreciated.

Tom Roberts
Publisher
Black Dog Books
Oct 262012
 

Despite all the pulps I've read over the past 45 years or so, there are still a lot of pulp authors whose work I've never sampled. Until recently, Warren Hastings Miller fell into that category. I'm not sure I'd ever even heard of him until Tom Roberts of Black Dog Books published a volume of Miller's South Seas adventure yarns called RAIDER OF THE SEAS, which is now available in an e-book edition as well as its original print edition. Roberts provides an excellent introduction about Miller's life and work.

The stories in RAIDER OF THE SEAS feature Jim Colvin, the big, two-fisted captain of a tramp steamer, and his small but smart and scrappy chief engineer Johnny Pedlow. They encounter a dangerous array of pirates, wreckers, feuding sultans, and murderous natives but survive by a combination of courage, cunning, and fighting prowess.

A pair of unusual women also play important roles in these tales. Miss Jessie, who by her description sounds a lot like Aunt Bee from THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, is an American expatriate who can clean out a table full of tough sailors at poker or use a rifle to gun down a marauding pirate with equal coolness and skill. Lai Choi San is based on an actual female Malay pirate who also served as the model for Milton Caniff's classic character The Dragon Lady a few years after these stories of Miller's were published originally in the pulps FRONTIER STORIES and ALL-FICTION. (One side note: FRONTIER STORIES, which later became a Western pulp, started out as a magazine featuring stories in exotic settings all over the world, not just the Old West.)

Miller's style isn't fancy, nor are his plots complicated. But the stories race ahead with the sort of driving urgency that the pulps did so well, and they have an undeniable air of authenticity. Miller was personally familiar with these settings and was an expert on boats and sailing, including so much detail that sometimes a non-sailor like me doesn't really know what he's talking about. It's all clear enough from context, though, and anyway, the action doesn't slow down long enough to worry about things like that.
I don't know if any more collections of Miller's stories are in the works, but I'll certainly read them if they are. I really enjoyed RAIDER OF THE SEAS and give it a high recommendation.
Oct 222012
 
No new print books this week, but I did pick up three more e-books from Black Dog Books: THE SILVER MENACE/A THOUSAND DEGREES BELOW ZERO, a pair of early science fiction novellas by Murray Leinster; THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER, a collection of Middle Eastern adventure yarns by G.G. Pendarves; and DEAD MEN TELL TALES, a collection of Craig Kennedy scientific mysteries by Arthur B. Reeve. I've read a lot of Leinster's work over the years and enjoyed all of it. I've heard of Reeve's Craig Kennedy stories but never read any of them. Pendarves is a new author for me. I expect to enjoy all three books. (These are all available as print editions directly from Black Dog Books, too, of course.)
Sep 112012
 



(I know you've heard about this already. So go buy some books!)

From Tom Roberts:

Over the holiday weekend I went into the BDB storage facility—namely the basement of our home—to find standing water. Storms from the hurricane effect.

For anyone that reads, collects or appreciates books, further description is pointless.

The water damaged not only parts of the home, but a portion of BDB stock as well as personal effects and some of the book collection.

While the water has now been removed the cleanup and salvaging goes on while the drying out continues.

In an attempt to aid in the financial recovery from our disaster, the following new releases are now marked down with flood sale prices.



 

 Bring 'Em Back Dead by George Fielding Eliot
The first three exciting cases of Dan Fowler, G-Man. With an introduction by Matt Hilton.
Trade paperback/290 pages. Published at $29.95. Now $20.95!
http://www.blackdogbooks.net/index.php?Itemid=11&option=com_zoo&view=item&category_id=6&item_id=118




In the Name of Honor by Albert Payson Terhune
A Civil War-set historical drama of a wrongly accused man attempting to clear his name and regain the hand of the women he loves.
Trade paperback/289 pages. Published at $16.95. Now $11.95!
http://www.blackdogbooks.net/index.php?Itemid=13&option=com_zoo&view=item&category_id=7&item_id=141




The Rajah From Hell by H. Bedford-Jones
A Hindu prince seeks retribution for an ancient offense. Now four men have been marked for murder! Does the prince carry out his threat? Or can his revenge be thwarted? With an introduction by James Reasoner.
Trade paperback/100 pages. Published at $10.00. Now $7.00!
http://www.blackdogbooks.net/index.php?Itemid=11&option=com_zoo&view=item&category_id=6&item_id=143




Dusty Ayres—Invasion of the Black Lightning by Robert Sidney Bowen
An evil foreign powers threatens the safely of the United States. Can Dusty rally the troops in time to stop their advance?
For the first time, the initial three novel-length adventures of Dusty Ayres are brought together in one unparalleled volume.
Trade paperback / 266 pages. Published at $24.95. Now $17.50!
http://www.blackdogbooks.net/index.php?Itemid=13&option=com_zoo&view=item&category_id=7&item_id=127



Additional backlist titles will be marked down with flood sale prices later this week. Shop early and often to take advantage of the savings.

Jun 292012
 
Regular readers of this blog know that I'm a big fan of author H. Bedford-Jones. Tom Roberts of Black Dog Books has just published a collection of three short stories and a novelette by Bedford-Jones that appeared in BLUE BOOK in 1946 and 1947, and taken together these stories form a short novel of murder and revenge set in Los Angeles and San Francisco shortly after World War II. I was privileged to write the introduction for this volume, and if you're looking for a suspenseful, well-written thriller, it gets a high recommendation from me. You can check it out here.
Jun 032012
 
I first encountered the work of Norbert Davis in Ron Goulart's anthology THE HARDBOILED DICKS (one of the most important and influential anthologies of the past fifty years, if you ask me), which included a story featuring Davis's private eye character Max Latin, "Don't Give Your Right Name". Great stuff, and since then I've read many other pulp mystery stories by Davis. He's probably best known for his trio of novels featuring a PI named Doan and a Great Dane known as Carstairs. I have these but haven't gotten around to reading them yet.

I knew Davis had written other things besides mysteries, but I wasn't really aware he had done Westerns until Tom Roberts of Black Dog Books published DEAD MAN'S BRAND, a collection of eight of Davis's stories from various Western pulps. (And that's Tom's artwork on the cover, by the way.) As you might expect if you're familiar with Davis's work, they're all top-notch yarns.

"A Gunsmoke Case for Major Cain" (DIME WESTERN, October 1940) is a frontier legal thriller with an exciting courtroom scene and a neat twist. It was also Davis's lone film sale, serving as the basis for the Wild Bill Elliott vehicle HANDS ACROSS THE ROCKIES, as detailed by Bill Pronzini in his introduction and Ed Hulse in his afterword. "Their Guardian From Hell" (STAR WESTERN, March 1937) is a hardboiled tale featuring a self-loathing gunman who protects a family of settlers from the villains out to steal their land. In "Leetown's One-Man Army" (STAR WESTERN, October 1941), a drifter named California Tracy with a score of his own to settle finds himself in the middle of a war between a cattle baron and some sodbusters, a traditional plot that Davis enlivens with some fine writing and a nice twist. The title story, "Dead Man's Brand", is from the November 1942 issue of STAR WESTERN. In it, drifting cowboy Dave Tully tries to claim an inheritance and finds himself framed for a murder: his own. "The Gunsmoke Banker Rides In" (STAR WESTERN, July 1942) is another well-plotted Western mystery about a banker who's surprisingly fast with a pair of .41 caliber derringers.

This volume also includes three stories from earlier in Davis's career. "Death Creeps" (ACTION STORIES, December 1935) finds troubleshooter Dave Silver being hired to find the Creeper, a mysterious murderer who kills from the darkness. In "Sign of the Sidewinder" (WESTERN ACES, June 1935), Tom Band, an American cowboy framed for a murder he didn't commit, is broken out of a Mexican prison to carry out a mission of vengeance for his benefactor. This is my favorite story in the collection, a great noir adventure yarn. Tom Band returns in the almost as good "Boot-Hill Bait" (WESTERN ACES, November 1935), which finds him on the trail of a fortune in outlaw loot. If there are any more Tom Band stories, I'd love to read them.

In all of these stories, Davis's smooth prose is a joy to read, and he handles humor, emotional torment, and lightning-paced action all with equal ease and effectiveness. These are simply some of the best-written Western tales you'll ever read, and DEAD MAN'S BRAND is a great collection. It gets my highest recommendation.
May 182012
 



Due to a technical glitch at Amazon our free eBook offering last week of Horse Money was only made available to Kindle Prime users instead of the general public.

We are offering Horse Money again today as a free eBook download through Amazon. Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity and get this great collection of  four hard-boiled novellas of crime and intrigue around the Sport of Kings.

Horse MoneyThe Cases of Chief Van Eyck, Race Track Detective. With an introduction by Robert J. Randisi.
Known from Saratoga to Belmont and throughout the racing circuit, Chief Van Eyck keeps the bookies and fix games in check—whether using a little strong-arm, or the nickel-platted death securely tucked in his shoulder holster.
And Van Eyck is never above picking up a few greenbacks on the side himself, thanks to an inside tip or two from the jockey club.
Grab a stool, order a strong one and slid to the edge of your seat as the ponies and Van Eyck both give a thrill ride from wire to wire!
May 112012
 
Free eBook Offer, Saturday May 12th
Horse Money—Free eBook offer for May 12!

To promote the BDB line of eBooks, the title Horse Money will be available as a free download for Kindle all day Saturday, May 12.

Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity and get this great collection of  crime stories.

Four hard-boiled novellas of crime and intrigue around the Sport of Kings.

The Cases of Chief Van Eyck, Race Track Detective. With an introduction by Robert J. Randisi.

"These are perfect reading for anyone who enjoys hard-boiled characters and race track settings. Sit back, relax and start reading-and enjoying."—Robert J. Randisi

Known from Saratoga to Belmont and throughout the racing circuit, Chief Van Eyck keeps the bookies and fix games in check—whether using a little strong-arm, or the nickel-platted death securely tucked in his shoulder holster.

And Van Eyck is never above picking up a few greenbacks on the side himself, thanks to an inside tip or two from the jockey club.
Grab a stool, order a strong one and slid to the edge of your seat as the ponies and Van Eyck both give a thrill ride from wire to wire.

(I've read two of the four stories in this book so far and thoroughly enjoyed them. I recommend you grab a copy tomorrow!)


Apr 272012
 

I haven't read a lot of Harold Lamb's work. The novel DURANDEL and a few short stories, that's all I remember. But I've just read his early novel MARCHING SANDS, which was serialized in the pulp ARGOSY in October and November 1919, and enjoyed it quite a bit.

I'm a sucker for lost race and lost city stories, and MARCHING SANDS is both. Former army captain Robert Gray is hired by an American scientific society to lead an expedition into the wilds of the Gobi Desert, in the hope of finding a mysterious lost race called the Wusun, who supposedly live in a city known as Sungan, which may or may not have been swallowed up by the shifting sands of the desert. A British expedition is searching for Sungan and the Wusun at the same time, and the Americans want Gray to get there first, even though there's really nothing at stake but prestige.

The Chinese authorities have their own reasons for wanting both expeditions to fail, so Gray finds himself in all sorts of trouble once he sets out for his mysterious destination. There are lurking killers who can handle rifles but leave tracks in the sand like wild camels.  There are knife-wielding priests.  There are supposed allies who may be waiting for the right moment to betray him.

And then of course, there's a beautiful redheaded girl, the niece of the explorer leading the British expedition.

This is an old-fashioned high adventure novel, the sort of thing that H. Bedford-Jones wrote so well. Lamb's writing isn't as polished as that of HB-J, at least at this stage of his career, but MARCHING SANDS is still a very entertaining yarn. Robert Gray is a likable hero, Mary Hastings (the beautiful redhead) is a fine heroine, and the scrapes they get into are frequent and exciting. Lamb does a good job of layering in the surprises in his plot and weaves everything together into a thrilling climax.

MARCHING SANDS is a little creaky in places, no doubt about that, but what would you expect in a novel written more than 90 years ago? I had a great time reading it, and it's not completely forgotten. Tom Roberts of Black Dog Books has reprinted it in both a print edition and a new e-book edition. The Amazon link for the e-book is below, and if you'd prefer the print version the best way to get it is to order it through the Black Dog Books website. I'll definitely be reading more of Harold Lamb's work.