THANKS TO JAMES REASONER OVER AT HIS ROUGH EDGES BLOG FOR THE FIRST REVIEW OF FELONY FISTS . . .
The eagerly-awaited Fight Card series makes its debut with the novel Felony Fists, written by Paul Bishop under the house-name Jack Tunney. Set in 1954, an era that really resonates with me, it's the story of Patrick "Felony" Flynn, a Los Angeles cop who's also an amateur boxer. Flynn gets a chance to combine those two parts of his life when he's offered a promotion to Detective that involves him taking down a fighter owned by gangster Mickey Cohen, thereby thwarting Cohen's attempt to take over the boxing game in LA.
As if that's not enough for Flynn to deal with, Bishop also includes counterfeiting, kidnapping, and a beautiful redheaded torch singer, as well as setting up the back-story for the rest of the series, which will be written by assorted top-notch hardboiled authors. He does a great job of capturing the time period with its swanky nightclubs, sweaty boxing gyms, and seedy back alleys. The story races along at a fine pace, culminating in an epic battle in the ring between Flynn and Cohen's fighter.
Boxing scenes are harder to write than you might think, but Bishop makes the action easy to follow for the reader, as well as skillfully mixing the fisticuffs with the hardboiled crime angle. I haven't read a lot of boxing fiction – Robert E. Howard's boxing stories are some of my favorites among his work, and the Battlin' Jack Murdock scenes in Daredevil #1 by Stan Lee and Bill Everett are still etched in my mind more than forty years later – but Bishop's efforts here are right up there with those yarns. Felony Fists is a great debut for what promises to be a highly entertaining series.
And next up is The Cutman, by Mel Odom writing as Jack Tunney.