Jul 182014
Sergeant Mike Duval's brother Johnny dies in his arms during a battle in Korea, and his last request is that when Mike gets back home, he'll look after Johnny's new wife and baby daughter. Mike promises, of course, and due time he returns to Chicago to honor his pledge to his dead brother. But things aren't quite that simple. You see, Johnny's wife turns out to be on Death Row, awaiting
Jul 112014
With a title like THE BITCH and an author like Gil Brewer, you'd expect that this novel would have a femme fatale in it, and you'd be right. In fact, it sort of has two. The narrator and protagonist, Tate Morgan, is a private detective who works for his brother Sam's agency in Tampa. He's hired by a rich man to find out if the guy's beautiful young wife is cheating on him. We've all read
Jul 042014
Can I tout one of my own books as a Forgotten Book? It's not as mercenary as it sounds, as I'll explain below. But since this is the Fourth of July, I thought it might be appropriate to talk about PATRIOTS, a series of historical novels I wrote for Book Creations Inc. set during the days just before the Revolutionary War, under the pseudonym Adam Rutledge. SONS OF LIBERTY is the first book in
Jun 272014
HANGMAN'S HARVEST is a book I read many years ago and remember fondly for several reasons, including the McGinnis cover with a dead ringer for James Coburn on it. That Coburn lookalike was featured on all the Seventies paperback reprints of the Milo March series. Despite that this one says, it's not the 16th in the series, it's actually the first, published originally by Henry Holt in 1952 and
Jun 202014
First of all, that's a great Jeff Jones cover on the Zebra edition of this book from 1975. I was already a Robert E. Howard fan, of course, but the cover certainly caught my attention when I saw it on the paperback rack at Thrifty Drug Store, one of my regular stops for paperbacks in those days. This collection was also my introduction to Howard's boxing fiction, and I recall having a great
Jun 132014
Basil Copper is a British author probably best known for his horror fiction, but he also wrote a successful series of mystery novels about an American private eye named Mike Faraday. Years ago I ran across one of them at Fantastic Worlds Bookstore, which carried some British paperbacks, and read it and enjoyed it. Now Piccadilly Publishing is bringing back the series in e-book editions, and I
Jun 062014
(This post originally appeared in different form on March 1, 2005.) Like a lot of paperback collectors, I'm fascinated by the soft-core porn novels published in the Fifties and Sixties. In fact, I'd say I like reading about the books and their authors about as much as I enjoy reading the books themselves (although I've read quite a few by authors like Harry Whittington, Mike Avallone,
May 302014
(This post originally appeared on October 30, 2005.) I’ve read a lot of books by Donald E. Westlake over the years and have always preferred his more hardboiled novels to his comic capers (although those are pretty good, too). His series about the thief Parker, written under the pseudonym Richard Stark, is a high-water mark in the genre, and I like his novels about disgraced detective Mitch
May 232014
Many of the Gold Medal Westerns during the Fifties displayed some of the same noir and hardboiled characteristics as the crime and suspense novels from that iconic publisher. Clifton Adams' THE COLONEL'S LADY certainly falls into that category, despite its title and cover that make it look almost like a Western romance. Narrator Matt Reardon has been carrying around the memory of a
May 162014
When I think of crime fiction in the Fifties, one of the first authors who comes to mind is Harry Whittington. His novel THE BRASS MONKEY was published originally by Handi-Books in 1951, and it's one I hadn't read until now. THE BRASS MONKEY opens with a scene that's reminiscent of Mickey Spillane: the narrator, private detective Jim Patterson, is standing in a seedy Honolulu apartment