Saturday, November 19, 2011

REAL STEEL WINS A SPLIT DECISION – BARELY!

REAL STEEL WINS A SPLIT DECISION – BARELY!

Like Hugh Jackman’s ancient G2 robot, Atom, I barely went the distance with Real Steel. Because it’s a movie, I want to call it Reel Steel, which I guess is better than Real Steal. And there-in lies the problem, because Real Steel steals every boxing film cliché you can imagine making a film as cobbled together as its silent robot hero – a non-character who gets all the punishment and none of the glory.

Real Steel" is an action drama about a former boxer (Hugh Jackman) who, against all odds, gets one last shot at a comeback when he teams up with his estranged son (Dakota Goyo) to build and train the perfect contender for the new high-tech sport of robot boxing. Can anyone say The Champ? I knew you could . . . and to make things worse, Dakota Goyo is a dead ringer for Ricky Schroder.

The robot boxing matches, both underground and in the ring, are very serviceable bits of CGI animation, but the final bout between Atom and Zeus for the championship of all universes known and unknown, is simply a redo of the first Rocky vs. Apollo Creed fight – right down to the ending.

And, I’m sorry, I know it’s the obvious reference, but between the robots and their hand-held controllers, I couldn’t get the Rock-Em-Sock-Em Robots game I had as a kid out of my head.

The film flirts with the question of the robot Atom being self-aware, and could have been a terrific film if the writer and director had followed wherever that path led them. But, clearly, this was a movie designed to follow a winning formula, and sadly a much better film – perhaps a championship film – was lost in the process.

However, Real Steel gets the judges’ decision in the end. By the time the last metal punches were being thrown, the music was swelling, and Hugh Jackman was on the verge of redeeming himself, I was caught up in the clichés, as I am every time I see the same boxing formula – I can’t help myself, I love the underdog making a comeback – and, like Rocky before it, Real Steel goes the distance.

COMING ATTRACTIONS PLUGS FIGHT CARD!

COMING ATTRACTIONS PLUGS FIGHT CARD!

THE ONE PLACE FOR ALL HOT PULP RELATED NEWS, COMING ATTRACTIONS, O0UTS OUT A PLUG THIS WEEK FOR FIGHT CARD . . .

Mel Odom and Paul Bishop teamup to create and write the pulp inspired Fight Card series!

The Fight Card series began when Mel Odom released a short story on Kindle which caught the attention of Paul Bishop, a career LAPD detective, who -like himself – grew up on pulps, Gold Medal novels, and the idea of tough guys. They talked about the story, about their mutual loves, and wished that someone still wrote stories like that. Mel and Paul ultimately decided, much to our benefit, that they would write the stories they longed to read.

The series is set in the 1950s. Mel's character, Mickey Flynn, is a merchant marine sailor who's tough as nails. Paul's character is Patrick Flynn, an LAPD detective on Chief Parker's infamous Hat Squad. The brothers grew up in an orphanage in Chicago where they were taught the "sweet science" by Father Tim. The orphanage is nicknamed Our Lady of the Glass Jaw.

Once other writers found out what they were doing, a few of them wanted on board and were granted admission to the club.

Coming up next is Eric Beetner's "Split Decision" in December.

TO CHECK OUT COMING ATTRACTIONS CLICK HERE

HARD CASE CRIME UPDATE!

HARD CASE CRIME UPDATE!

HERE’S THE WORD FROM HARD CASE CRIME EDITOR CHARLES ARDAI . . .

We just added a first novel to the Hard Case Crime Web site from a young Baltimore-based writer named Ariel S. Winter, which we’ll be publishing next summer. It’s not the sort of book that generally attracts a lot of coverage merely as a result of being announced – obviously no one knows the author’s name yet, since he hasn’t published any books before. The main thing it does have going for it is that it’s an amazing, amazing book – one that really knocked my socks off – but that’s something no one else will appreciate until they actually get to read it, which is months away.

However –

There is another story here, which is the book’s very unusual structure. The book is called The Twenty-Year Death, and it’s the story of a husband and wife whose lives collapse as violence intrudes – not an unusual premise for a noir novel. But the form Winter chose for it is very unusual: he decided to tell the story of these two doomed characters in the form of three separate old-fashioned crime novels, each set in a different decade and written in the style of one of the iconic mystery writers of that time.

It feels a little like opening a Christmas package and finding new novels by three of your favorite pulp-era crime writers.

The first is set in 1931 and features a French police inspector investigating the death of a convict in a rain gutter 20 miles away from the prison where he was supposed to be serving a 40-year jail sentence.

The second is set in 1941 and features a hardboiled private eye in Hollywood who is hired by one of the big movie studios to watch over one of their leading ladies, who either is showing signs of paranoid dementia or is actually being stalked by a mysterious man on the set of her new picture.

And the third is set in 1951 and puts us deep inside the dark and troubled mind of a desperate man, a drunken writer who has lost almost everything he had and is about to tip over the edge separating ‘troubled’ from ‘dangerous.’

What’s more, these aren’t just pastiches – what's wonderful is that each book works not only as a tribute to a great mystery writer of the past but also as a standalone novel with substance and emotional heft, and as part of the combined larger whole. It’s fascinating, for instance, to watch a background character in the first book become a more central figure in the second and then the first-person narrator in the third. I don’t know any other book that’s ever done anything like it.

In any event…I fell in love with the book, and bought it even though it’s three times the length of our usual books (by far the longest book we’ve ever published – 180,000 words), and even though you’re always told, as a publisher, that first novels don’t sell. I did it because it’s a stunning performance and just left me grinning the widest grin I’ve had on my face for a long, long time.

Y/A CORNER: COLD FURY!

Y/A CORNER: COLD FURY!

T.M. GOEGLEIN

Sara Jane Rispoli is just a normal sixteen-year-old girl coping with school and a developing crush— until her parents and younger brother are kidnapped, and she discovers her family has been a key figure of Chicago’s Outfit (aka the mob) for decades.

Her father, grandfather and great grandfather all used their special ability, cold fury, to settle disputes between the two mob factions—the muscle and the money. And unless Sara wants the mob to think her now missing family has turned state’s evidence, she will have to fill her father’s shoes as the mob’s peacemaker, using her own cold fury.

FOR MORE CLICK HERE

Friday, November 18, 2011

KNOPF NOTES REVIEWS FELONY FISTS!

KNOPF NOTES REVIWS FELONY FISTS!

THX TO MYSTERY WRITER AND MEMBER OF THE ELITE HARDBOILED COLLECTIVE, CHRIS KNOPF, FOR THIS GREAT REVIEW OF FELONY FISTS POSTED OVER AT HIS KNOPF NOTES BLOG ...

Welcome to the new Fight Card series by a group of skillful hardboiled artists writing under the name Jack Tunney. In the episode “Felony Fists,” Paul Bishop presents Pat “Felony” Flynn, an orphan raised in the school of hard knocks.

Literally, fighting his way through childhood and the neighborhood, and then during WWII as a ferocious pug who liked nothing better than boxing above his weight. Now back stateside trying to adjust to civvie life, he’s a cop whose honor is more important than his life, and whose loyalty to a family-run boxing gym is more important than anything else.

The story is a period piece, with all the gritty reality that entails, though Flynn is a man who anyone – black, white, hooker or priest – wants to have by their side.

“Felony Fists” is a classic pulp novella that rings true both as an exemplar of the sub-genre (the tone is dead on, though never over-the-top cornball, as these things can go) and a look inside the surprisingly complex experience of big strong men doing everything they can to beat the crap out of each other. If you’re into either or both, it’s a very satisfying read.

FOR MORE AT KNOPF NOTES CLICK HERE

PULP NOW: FIGHT CARD!

PULP NOW: FIGHT CARD!

DOWN UNDER C.O.B.R.A.S. AGENT DAVID FOSTER HIS COLL COVER TREATMENT ABOVE FOR FIGHT CARD: THE CUTMAN . . . DIG IT!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

FELONY FISTS: FREE BOOK PROMOTION!

FELONY FISTS: FREE BOOK PROMOTION!

FOR THE NEXT WEEK, I’LL SEND ANYONE WHO BUYS A COPY OF FELONY FISTS, AND PLACES A REVIEW ON AMAZON OR BARNES AND NOBLE, FREE COPIES OF HOT PURSUIT AND CROAKER: KILL ME AGAIN . . . THE FIRST BOOKS IN MY TWO OTHER POPULAR SERIES . . .

JUST FORWARD THE AMAZON OR BARNES AND NOBLE RECEPIT BY EMAIL, LETTING ME KNOW YOU'VE POSTED A REVIEW, TO bishsbeat@gmail.com, AND I’LL SEND THE FILES FOR YOUR FREE BOOKS BY RETURN EMAIL . . .

COCKTAIL NATION 196 ~ BAHOOKA!

COCKTAIL NATION 196 ~ BAHOOKA!

This week, Koop catches up with Holden Westland from Tiki Farm to find out about a big event . . . Plus swank advice on cooking for small dinner parties (or just for two), news about a new movie on the life of J Edgar Hoover, and in our World Of Swank, some great parties to attend. Also news of our official website.

PLAYLIST:

Tikiyaki Orchestra ~ Bachelor Number 1
Kenny Sasaki ~ Quiet Volcano
Pink Martini ~ Lets Never Stop Falling in Love
Waitiki ~ China Fan
Stan Getz ~ Penthouse Serenade
Buddy Berman ~ End Of The Party
James Bond Sextet ~ Moonraker
Vic Flick ~ From Russia With Love
Si Zentner ~ Charade
Ray Anthony ~ September Song
Karen Souza ~ Every Breath You Take
Buddy Cole ~ Georgia On My Mind
Nelson Riddle ~ Time and Space
Buddy Bergman ~ -End Of Party
Tony Bennett ~ Watch What Happens

THIS SHOW WILL BE AVAILABLE ON SATURDAY

TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD CLICK HERE

TAKE A CHANCE E-BOOKS ~ DEADLY GAMES!

TAKE A CHANCE E-BOOKS ~ DEADLY GAMES!

AN ONGOING SERIES HIGHLIGHTING POSSIBLY DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH E-BOOKS BY RELATIVELY UNKNOWN AUTHORS, FOUND WHILE CRUISING THE E-BOOK SHELVES ON AMAZON WITH PRICES MAKING THEM WORTH TAKING A CHANCE ON . .

TODAY’S FIND . . . ACTION / THRILLER / PULP!

DEADLY GAMES

BOBBY NASH

KINDLE EDITION ~ $3.00

Deadly Games!

A madman's death triggers the most deadly game of all!

They played the most dangerous game of all and death was only the beginning...

Six years ago, Police Detective John Bartlett and journalist Benjamin West were instrumental in the capture of notorious master criminal Darrin Morehouse. Their story played out in the media, rocketing both Bartlett and West into local celebrity status.

Today, Morehouse, still a master game player and manipulator, commits suicide while in prison. His death initiates one final game of survival for the people Morehouse felt wronged him the most. At that top of the list are Bartlett and West, who must set aside their differences to save the lives of Morehouse's other victims and solve one last game before a dead man’s hired killers catch them and his other enemies.

Deadly Games! is a fast-paced action/thriller featuring action, suspense, murder, and the occasional gunfire from Author Bobby Nash, the writer of Evil Ways, Domino Lady, Lance Star: Sky Ranger, and more.

FOR MORE CLICK HERE

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WHY PULP!

WHY PULP!

E-PUBLISHING GURU AARON PATTERSON LETS ME SPOUT OFF ABOUT NEW PULPS, OLD PULPS, AND WRITING FIGHT FICTION . . .

Far too much of today’s fiction output is bloated filler designed to turn books into 700 page doorstops under the false assumption more is better. If you’re like me, you don’t have the time or patience to plow through 700 pages to read a story better served in 300 pages – or less.

The writers who work on the pulp magazines from back in the day understood this. Their audience wanted stripped down yarn filled with action, twists and turns, all with the point of providing reader satisfaction.

Hero pulps from the ‘30s and ‘40s, such as The Shadow, Doc Savage, and The Avenger, pull major collector’s prices today. To a lesser extent so do the weird menace and aviation pulps. Western pulps can still be had for bargain prices as can many of the romance and sports pulps.

The best of the sports pulps, Fight Card Magazine, however, demands the same high collector’s prices as the popular hero pulps. The stories in Fight Card Magazine were a definite cut above the stories in the multitude of other sports pulps. The most collectible issue of Fight Stories Magazine contain two-fisted tales of Sailor Steve Costigan written by the creator of Conan, Robert E. Howard . . .

FOR THE FULL POST CLICK HERE

IN THE RING WITH ALL PULP!

IN THE RING WITH ALL PULP!

I TALK SPORTS PULPS AND FIGHT CARD OVER AT ALL PULP . . . NEW PULP’S PREMIERE BLOG . . .

I’ve been a pulp fanatic for as long as I can remember, but not just for the hero pulps. The aviation pulps and the western pulps also caught my imagination along with the sports pulps . . . Wait? Sports pulps?

Yes! Sports pulps! While hero, adventure, weird menace, western, and aviation pulps are still hot collecting commodities, the sports pulps, like the romance pulps are mostly forgotten.

In my typical walking to the beat of a different drummer way, the sports pulps have become my passion. Street and Smiths Sport Story Magazine, Sports Novels, Fifteen Sports Stories, Dime Sports, and Thrilling Sports were among the best of the many sports pulps that proliferated between the late ‘20s and the mid ‘50s.


Baseball, track, and basketball strories dominated the early years of sports pulps. As football caught the American imagination, it too became a fertile source for the sports pulps. Horseracing, hockey, car racing also had their popular place in the sports pulps. Eventually, as the sports pulps proliferated, stories of almost any sporting contest – from log rolling to canoeing to powerboat racing – found their way between the pages. Even stories of soccer, rugby, and cricket can be found if one looks hard enough.

Pride of place in my collection of sports pulps, however, goes to Fight Stories Magazine. During the pulp era, boxing was even more popular than baseball both in the actual arena of sports and in the fictional creation of endless fisticuff dust-ups. There remains something elemental about one man pitted against another that continues to capture the imagination ... 

FOR THE FULL POST CLICK HERE

ED GORMAN REVIEWS FELONY FISTS!

ED GORMAN REVIEWS FELONY FISTS!

THANKS TO ED GORMAN FOR REVIEWING FELONY FISTS AND GIVING TWO THUMBS UP TO ‘NEW PULP . . .

As someone who grew up in the Forties and Fifties boxing fiction was almost as familiar to me as detective stories and westerns. Hollywood especially loved boxing material. Some of the movies were extraordinary but most were lame and predictable.

When I read about Paul Bishop’s Felony Fists (under the name Jack Tunney) I wanted to read it because Paul is such a good writer and because he set his story in his hometown, Los Angeles in the historically interesting year of 1954 (Joe McCarthy, mob hearings in the Senate and Ike promising to end the Korean war one way or the other, including dropping the big bomb).

Felony Fists give us the era vividly and it also delivers a knock out story with the protagonist police officer (and amateur boxer) Patrick “Felony” Flynn.

If I had to categorize Felony Fists I’d call it New Pulp. Yes it’s fast paced, honors many pulp tropes and delivers everything pulp readers require but it’s much more realistic than Old Pulp. For one thing Paul Bishop knows boxing and it shows. He also gives headline names like Mickey Cohen real life.

This is a story that just won’t quit. I read it in two sittings and enjoyed every page. And all it cost me was $2.99. Next in the series is Mel Odom’s Cut Man.

FOR THE FULL POST ON ED’S BLOG CLICK HERE

ESPIONAGE CORNER: THE NEW ISSUE OF HMSS HAS ARRIVED!

ESPIONAGE CORNER: THE NEW ISSUE OF HMSS HAS ARRIVED!

The publishers and editors of Her Majesty’s Secret Servant are pleased to announce the publication of our latest issue. These This one — our best yet, we think — is packed with interesting reading about all matters Bondian.

We have some old friends returning and some new ones joining us for the first time. Our good pal Deborah Lipp checks in with two fascinating articles; one about Live and Let Die‘s monkeying around with tarot cards, the other about recurring themes of voyeurism and concealment in You Only Live Twice. Ron Feyereisen returns with a contrarian view of the ongoing Daniel Craig “reboot” tenure; suffice it to say that he’s not a satisfied customer. Speaking of reboots, regular contributor Derek Austin Johnson casts his gimlet eye on the latest 007 literary adventure, Jeffery Deaver’s Carte Blanche (the James Bond watches man, Dell Deaton, offers a rebuttal). On the subject of the latest Bond novel, we’re rerunning Mark Henderson’s excellent interview (first published last April here on the blog,) with the author. We’re excited to welcome Stuart Basinger (that’s “Dr. Shatterhand” to you civilians) to the fold with his imaginary interview with former CIA director (and friend of Ian Fleming) Allan Dulles. James Bond is discussed. Ian Fleming Foundation member Colin Clark regales us with the story of the discovery and acquisition of Franz Sanchez’ escape plane — the Cessna we saw Timothy Dalton’s 007 lasso in Licence to Kill. And our stalwart senior editor Bill Koenig unearths the amazing story of what 1979′s Moonraker could have been like, if only Eon’s budget had matched the screenplay’s requirements. Bill’s story also covers script-to-screen changes in Diamonds Are Forever and Tomorrow Never Dies.

So set aside a little time, mix yourself a cool martini, and point your web browser to HMSS.com, for some thought-provoking entertainment and a heaping helping of, as the French say, le jamesbonderie (even though they probably don’t). Enjoy!

FOR MORE CLICK HERE

NOIR NOW:

VINTAGE COVERS: THE BRAT!

ROUGH EDGES REVIEWS THE CUTMAN!

ROUGH EDGES REVIEWS THE CUTMAN!

THANKS TO JAMES REASONER OVER AT HIS ROUGH EDGES BLOG FOR THE HIS REVIEW OF THE CUTMAN . . .

The Cutman, by Mel Odom writing as Jack Tunney, is the second installment of the new Fight Card series, and it's every bit as good as the debut novel, Paul Bishop's Felony Fists.

This one is narrated by Mickey Flynn, brother of Patrick Flynn, the hero of the first book. The Flynn brothers are orphans who grew up at St. Vincent's Orphanage (better known as Our Lady of the Glass Jaw) in Chicago, where they were taught to box by the priest Father Tim. Mickey travels the world as a sailor on the cargo ship Wide Bertha, and as The Cutman opens, the ship is docked at Havana, Cuba, where Mickey and his colorful friends among the crew quickly run afoul of gangsters who have moved in and taken over Havana in those pre-Castro days. The friction escalates until Mick finds himself in the ring battling a vicious boxer who works for one of the local mob kingpins, with the fate of his ship riding on the outcome.

That long, epic battle is a classic, and Mickey Flynn would be right at home next to some of the "iron man" characters who populate Robert E. Howard's boxing stories. There's plenty of local color and tough-guy action, and Odom keeps the story moving along at a great pace. The best thing about this novel, though, is Mick's voice, which is just about perfect.

Like Felony Fists, The Cutman is pure entertainment, and Fight Card is shaping up to be a great series. Highly recommended.

NOIR NOW: FISTICUFFS, PALOOKAS, AND NOIR!

FISTICUFFS, PALOOKAS, AND NOIR!

AT THE BIJOU'S HEAD USHER ABSOLUTELY KATE LEADS YOU TO YOUR PLUSH THEATER SEATS FOR A SCREENING OF MY TAKE ON FISTICUFFS, PALOOKAS, AND NOIR . . . A LOOK AT BOXING MOVIES WITH A NOIR KAYO PUNCH . . .

Boxing and noir go together as smoothly as a one-two combination punch. The inherent qualities of both noir and boxing, desperation, bad choices, violence, tension, humanity stripped bare, combine for a marriage made in Hell.

We’re not talking the Rockys of the boxing world here. We’re not talking the life affirming, if you punch hard enough, sooner or later you’re gonna be a contender, kind of boxing stories. We’re talking about the down and dirty, punch drunk, cauliflower-eared, in bed with the mob, no hope fighters who populate such novels as Fat City (Leonard Gardner), Ringside Jezebel (Kate Nickerson), The Leather Pushers (H. C. Witwer), The Bruiser (Jim Tully), or Iron Man (W. R. Burnett).

There’s always the classic femme fatale involved in these tales – usually a high class socialite who gets her slumming hooks into the blue collar fighter and plays him for a sap. She’s usually responsible for pitting the palooka against the mob – you know, the bent-nosed guys looking to take over the fight racket by making the hero take a dive in the 4th round ...

FOR THE FULL POST CLICK HERE

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

BILL CRIDER REVIEWS THE CUTMAN!

BILL CRIDER REVIEWS THE CUTMAN!

I read this one last night. The setting is great, and the first-person narration is right on the money. The final bout between Flynn and Simbari is classic stuff. The fate of the Wide Bertha is riding on the outcome. Great stuff in the pulp tradition . . .

FOR THE FULL POST CLICK HERE

PULP NOW: FIGHT CARD!

PULP NOW: FIGHT CARD!

DOWN UNDER C.O.B.R.A.S. AGENT DAVID FOSTER SENT ME THE  ABOVE COOL COVER TAKE ON MY FIGHT CARD ENTRY, FELONY FISTS . . . DIG IT!

Monday, November 14, 2011

FIGHT CARD INTERVIEW!

FIGHT CARD INTERVIEW!

PAUL BRAZILL INTERVIEWS ME OVER AT HIS BLOG YOU WOULD SAY THAT, WOULDN’T YOU?

PDB: Can you pitch me Felony Fists in 25 words or less?

1950’s LA. Cop/boxer ‘Felony’ Flynn finds himself facing heavyweight contender Solomon King, a fighter owned by mobster Mickey Cohen. Stop King . . . Take down Cohen.

PDB: Which other writers will contribute to the series?

We’re using the unifying pseudonym Jack Tunney for the series. The prolific Mel Odom and I created the series and Mel’s first entry, The Cutman, debut alongside my Felony Fists (not so subliminal message: Go. Buy. Now.) December will see the publication of Split Decision from noirhead Eric Beetner. 2012 will see books from Bob Randisi, Gary Phillips, Wayne Dundee, James Reasoner (hopefully), and others. Mel and I will also be putting out more of our own entries in the series next year.

FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW CLICK HERE

FIGHT CARD DEBUTS!

FIGHT CARD DEBUTS!

FIGHT CARD’S CO-CREATOR MEL ODOM TALKS ABOUT THE SERIES GENESIS . . .

When I was a kid, I had a soft spot for tough guys. I loved them in the movies, on television, and the guys I met in real life. Okay, maybe I still have a soft spot for them. That’s one of the reasons I loved all the Spenser books Robert B. Parker wrote.

A few years ago, I had a chance to write a boxing novella for an editor, something I’d always wanted to try. That one had a supernatural element to it, but the boxing was clean and the 1950s atmosphere was strong, at least in my opinion. I also loved the first-person voice I came up with for the character and I enjoyed sinking into the world.

At any rate, I released the short story on Kindle and it caught the attention of Paul Bishop, a career LAPD detective, who — like me — grew up on pulps, Gold Medal novels, and the idea of tough guys. We ended up talking about the story, about our mutual loves and wistfully wishing that someone still wrote stories like that. The more we talked, the more we realized we wanted to do that . . .

FOR THE FULL POST CLICK HERE

Sunday, November 13, 2011

ESPIONAGE CORNER:FANTASTIC NEW YOUNG BOND COVER ART!

THE TROUBLE WITH BLONDES: DEAD AND BLONDE!

GET ON THE FIGHT CARD!

GET ON THE FIGHT CARD!

LEE GOLDBERG WEIGHS IN ON FIGHT CARD . . .

Bill Rabkin and I aren't the only ones who had the idea of reviving the "men's action adventure series" on the Kindle. The incredibly versatile Mel Odom has teamed up with several of my good friends to launch not one, but two original ebook series... the western Rancho Diablo (with James Reasoner and Bill Crider, all writing under the pseudonym Colby Jackson) and now Fight Card (with Paul Bishop, both writing under the pseudonym Jack Tunney).

The series is inspired by the "fight pulps" of the 30s and 40s, which are totally unknown to me and, I am guessing, most readers out there. And that's a good thing, because Fight Card doesn't handily fit into any particular existing genre, with the possible exception of "damn good fun," which makes it unlike anything else out there for $2.99

FOR THE FULL POST CLICK HERE

DING! DING! ROUND ONE!

DING! DING! ROUND ONE!

MATT HILTON GETS ON THE FIGHT CARD . . .

I'm a big fan of the old pulp masters, primarily Robert E Howard. Howard is remembered for creating Conan the Cimmerian, King Kull, Solomon Kane, Red Sonja, and other characters you might have subsequently come across in movies and comic book adaptations. However he also wrote a whole raft of other characters not immediately recognised, but who were always larger than life heroic figures. Howard wrote prolifically, selling stories to the pulp magazines of the time, and other than heroic fantasy, was known for writing humorous westerns, treasure hunting adventures, and boxing or fight tales. It's through my appreciation of these lesser known Howard tales that I was excited to hear about this new series 'Fight Card' as it harks back to those good old days.

FOR THE FULL POST CLICK HERE

FELONY FISTS ~ TEASER!

FELONY FISTS ~ TEASER!

ROUND 1

LOS ANGELES 1954

I was leaning back against the ring ropes, elbows tucked in, arms up, gloves protecting my face and head. Lester Killer Carter was banging away at me, thinking he could finish the fight fast, and I was letting him. Not because I didn’t have a choice, but because I had a plan.

It was still early and the Los Angeles Olympic Auditorium was less than a quarter full. My fight with Carter wasn’t even listed on the night’s card, just a middleweight amateur three round bout to get the evening rolling.

Still, Mickey Cohen, a squat toad of a man, was there ringside. His bodyguards sat behind him, while on either side there were a couple of expensive looking ring Jezebels – the kind of women who liked to get a man’s blood splattered across their dresses. Sitting stoically next to the frail on Cohen’s left was the huge black bulk of Solomon King – Cohen’s current light-heavyweight contender.

Word was, King was the real deal. His tall frame was packed with massive muscles. Long arms were capped by fourteen inch fists, which King used to club his opponents relentlessly. Boxing reporters speculated Cohen had King on track to fight Archie Moore, the current light-heavyweight champion, later in the year. But King would have to decisively win at least one more fight, against a viable contender before Moore’s people would allow the championship belt to be put on the line. King was the kind of fighter champions dodged for as long as they could.

I shot out a left jab, rocking Carter’s head back. It was just hard enough to make him mad. Carter started swinging wildly, and I went back into my defensive shell.

Cohen had a lot of much more lucrative, if illicit, businesses, but he loved the fights. Carter was reputed to be headed into Cohen’s stable, but I was going to make sure the big man was disappointed in this particular prospect.

I rolled off the ropes and scooted away to Carter’s left. He followed throwing a right cross, which I batted easily away. He should have thrown a left to drive me back to the ropes, but Carter didn’t have a left worth writing home about. I let him chase me for a bit and then stopped and threw a triple combination designed to sting, but not hurt. All three punches scored, drawing more embarrassment for Carter than pain.

The bell ran to end the first round and I swayed back to avoid Carter’s late left hook. It went past me like a weak breeze. The ref, a short fat man in black pants, white shirt, and red bow tie, jumped between us.

In my corner, Pop Hawks was waiting with my stool. Before I sat, I looked directly at Cohen. Catching his eye, I pumped my left arm up and down in a mocking motion, rubbing in his fighter’s weakness. I didn’t like Cohen. Most cops didn’t unless they were on his payroll.

That Cohen shared a first name with my older brother was a disgrace.

Cohen had filled the organized crime void in L.A. in ’47 when mobster Bugsy Siegel ate a bullet sandwich in his home – all because he wouldn’t play ball with the east coast crime families. While Cohen did pay token respect to the east, he was tougher and more violent than Bugsy ever dreamed of being. Most everyone, made-men included, gave him a wide berth.

“What are you doing out there?” Pops growled, taking out my mouthpiece and tipping water in my mouth before I could answer. I was slick with sweat, but felt instantly cooled when Tina Hawks, Pops’ thirteen year old daughter, squeezed a sponge across my shoulders. She then held a bucket for me to spit in. Growing up around a family full of older brothers, Tina was a tomboy and a half. Tall and skinny now, she’d be a beauty someday, but she wouldn’t want to hear about it now.

“Easy, Pops,” I said. “He’s punching himself out and I’m not even breathing heavy.”

“Don’t mess around in a fight. He could lucky punch you and you’re on your back being counted out.”

Ex-navy swab, Pops Hawks had left the Los Angeles Police Department after eight years and a bullet in his leg to run Ten Hawks Gym – named for him and his nine kids. All the Hawks were fighters either in the ring or out.

Pops had the cauliflowered ears and eye scarring of a palooka, but he still had his brains if not his looks. Ten Hawks Gym was just down the street from Central Division Station, where I was assigned to the night watch felony car. Pops coddled part time fighters like me, and dreamed of training a contender.

I looked over at Cohen and his following again. The gangster was chatting away, but Solomon King wasn’t paying any attention. He was staring straight at me. His eyes were dead pools of hate. I’d seen that look before from other Negros I’d been with in the Navy – it was a look of them against the world. King’s burned harder.

I noticed another large Negro sitting behind King. He was perhaps an inch shorter, but had the same ebony carved expression. A comma of straight, short, white hair stuck out on the left side of his forehead, stark against the wiry curls of his otherwise tar black hair.

“Who’s sitting behind King?” I asked Pops.

He didn’t even turn to look. “Focus, Flynn. Get out there and put this guy down.”

The bell sounded. I popped up off the stool and into a barrage of punches. Carter had obviously been fired up in his corner. He knew Cohen was watching and he wanted to look good. As long as he was progressing, Cohen would fund his rise. One setback and Cohen would lose interest.

I backed into the ropes, rolling easily with one of Carter’s right hooks. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught one of the frails with Cohen, the redhead, watching me intently. For a second I thought I recognized her, but then I had to get busy fending off Carter.

I wrapped Carter in a clinch. Over his shoulder I could see Cohen was watching, waving his arms around and getting animated.

King just watched.

I let Carter push me away and went back to work counterpunching.

I knew a lot about Cohen. When he was a teenager, he began boxing in illegal prizefights in Los Angeles. In 1930 he turned pro against Patsy Farr in Cleveland, Ohio. He’d been a pretty good featherweight – even got a shot in ‘31 against World Featherweight Champion Tommy Paul. In that real fight, he hadn’t lasted long. Paul knocked out Gangster Mickey Cohen, as he was known even then, at 2:20 into the first round.

Cohen’s last fight in the ring was in ‘33, twenty one years ago, against Baby Arizmendi in Tijuana, Mexico. It was another beat down. Now, he fought in the streets where there were no rules, using guns and blades and other men as deadly punches to climb another type of championship ladder. Cohen was a heavyweight, out of my league as a beat cop, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t take down one of his puppets.

I fended off a couple more strong rights from Carter and then walked into a weak left hook – only it wasn’t. It was fast and hit with the force of a boulder. I staggered and reeled away, suckered like some tin can just waiting to be knocked over. Carter followed relentlessly, throwing combinations I couldn’t answer. I hated being a sucker. My brother Mickey would have razzed me. He always said I didn’t take fighting serious enough.

I clinched, wrapping my arms around Carter, burying my head in his shoulder. He tried to push me away, but I held him tight like I’d paid a dime for the dance.

The ref tapped me on the shoulder and yelled, “Break!”

My head had cleared a little and I covered up as I pulled away. Carter threw another of those sucker lefts, but I was ready for it – slipping it and stepping in to throw a couple of weak jabs. They didn’t do much damage and Carter came back at me again.

I clinched again and was still waltzing with him when the bell rang.

“Stupid!” Pops said, as I sat on the stool. “I taught ya better . . .”

I was waiting for Tina to sponge my back, but instead she popped up next to Pops and handed him a folded piece of paper. Pops knew Tina didn’t fool around, so he took her serious and opened it.

“Where’d this come from?”

“The negro with the white in his hair handed it to me.”

Pops turned the paper toward me.

The message was to the point – On The Canvas This Round.

There was only one source that cared enough to get me to throw a fight. There wasn’t any threat attached. There didn’t have to be. I looked over and the Negro man with the white comma of hair was back sitting behind Cohen and King. Messenger boy.

“What you going to do, Pat?” Tina asked.

“I don’t go in the tank for nobody,” I said, standing up.

I couldn’t believe Cohen cared much about a small time amateur fight, but I cared. With the Navy, I’d been assigned to the battleship Missouri in the Eastern Med when Truman was rattling his Cold War saber. I’d boxed on the deck for the Navy and on shore leave for the honor of the ship, and I wasn’t going down for some two-bit gangster no matter who he was.

The bell rang and I came out of the corner on fire. In the Navy, I fought whoever they put in front of me. The sanctioned fights had kept to official weight standards when they could, but on shore in the bars and behind fuel dumps, I’d never walked away from bigger, heavier men. I’d taken my lumps, but I’d developed a reputation for being a giant killer – a David taking on Goliaths with just my fists, no sling needed.

There had been some split decisions along the way, even a couple of bad beatings, but I’d never gone down for the count. Not once.

I boxed these days simply because I’d always boxed. Between the nuns and Father Tim at St. Vincent’s Asylum for Boys in Chicago, where me and Mickey grew up, I’d been made tougher than an old elephant’s hide.

We’d called the asylum Our Lady of the Glass Jaw, simply because the nuns hated the nickname. They made us pay for it regularly. Their pious anger and Father Tim’s fast hands in the ring challenging us were what made us tough and proud.

I kept in shape now and fought regularly, but without a goal. I wasn’t hungry, but I still hadn’t gone down for the count, and I wasn’t going to start now.

Carter saw me coming. He knew instantly something was different. I was Patrick Felony Flynn. I was a giant killer and I saw the fear in his eyes. I hated that fear because it was the fear of weak bullies.

I feinted with my left and sent a right straight from my shoulder, blowing between Carter’s raised fists. His head snapped back, but this time there was more behind the punch than the last time I’d tagged him.

Then I went for Carter’s exposed body. I was seeing red. On some level, I was aware of the small crowd starting to pay attention. I didn’t just want to stop Carter, I wanted to destroy him – as if by destroying him, I could destroy Cohen. Stupid thinking.

Carter had a good core, but not a great one. There were a lot of miles not run, a lot of sit-ups not done, and I made him pay for his laxity. My gloves pounded at his gut as I ignored the off balance punches he threw.

When Carter’s hands dropped, I drove through them with an uppercut hitting him on the button. He was going down, but I propped him against the ropes and let loose. I was gone – the unreasoning anger I’d always known since I was a child was hot and raging. I hit him again and again until the ref and Pops pulled me back.

Carter dropped. Done. Finished. If he ever got in the ring again, he’d end up the same way. I saw the fear in him and knew I’d broken him for boxing.

I pulled away from Pops, spitting out my mouthpiece. I walked over to the ropes and looked down at Cohen. I spat a gob of blood on the canvas in contempt.

If anything, Cohen looked amused. He clapped his hands slowly, puffing on the cigar stuck in the middle of his mouth. The redhead next to him looked uncomfortable. Somehow, she didn’t seem a match with the blonde on Cohen’s right. She was dressed with the same floozy glamour, a too tight dress and gaudy jewelry, but there was intelligence in her eyes saying she didn’t belong there.

The Negro guy with the white comma of hair was gone, but King was there – sitting still as a statue, giving me his hard, flat stare.

I wasn’t worried about him. He was a pro and I was an amateur. He was a light-heavyweight; I’d always fought as a middleweight. The only way I’d ever come face to face with him was in a back alley, and then I’d have the good sense to run.

Pops and Tina threw my robe over me and guided me to the center of the ring where the ref raised my hand for half a second and let it drop. This was nothing to him. A small fight in a big venue. Not even on the card.

THE HONEY WEST FILES VOL.1!

THE HONEY WEST FILES VOL.1!

G. G. FICKLING

COMING IN MARCH!

The first female private eye is back in action: a volatile combination of Marilyn Monroe and Mike Hammer!

First appearing in 1957, Honey went on to star in eleven novels and the successful 1965 TV show starring Anne Francis, as well as the current series of comic books from Moonstone!

For the first time anywhere, the original Honey West novels will be reprinted in one series of books!

Most of the books are long out of print, so here’s your chance to catch her!

In this volume: “This Girl for Hire”, “A Gun for Honey”, and “Girl on the Loose”.

TRADE PAPERBACK ~ 600 PAGES ~ 6” X 9” ~ $23.99

MOONSTONE BOOKS

PULP NOW: FLYERS OF FORTUNE!

PULP NOW: FLYERS OF FORTUNE!

PULP TALES PRESENTS #29

FREDERICK LEWIS NEBEL

Largely known for his hard boiled detective stories, Frederick L. Nebnel wrote stories in many genres of pulp fiction. This book collects together a few of his airplane action/mystery stories.

CONTENTS:

YANGTZE YELLOW ~ Gales and McGill, sky-partners, sweep down the air-trails to wipe out an ancient score.

WOLVES OF THE WIND ~ On the wings of the wind they drove their outlaw planes, ruled by a woman's hand!

SKY SCRAPPERS ~ Gales and McGill were top-aces of Tropic air. But in all their flaming flights they'd never bucked a play as deadly as lay beyond the Border of Lost Men.

SKY BLAZERS ~ On an old trail to new treasure, against cutthroat cunning and the fury of Polar gods, Jess Marlow fought for right of skyway.

FLYERS OF FORTUNE ~ Gales and McGill, air-busters, trample on a Chinese dragon's tail.

130 PAGES ~ $15

PULPVILLE PRESS

PULP NOW: QUATERMAIN #3!

PULP NOW: QUATERMAIN #3!

COMING IN FEBRUARY!

Deep in central Africa, Allan Quatermain must join with his former enemy, the sorcerer Lokongoi, to escape the bloody power of Bwana Nzige. With a small band of refugees, Quatermain makes his way into the treacherous Congo forest, with death all around. But Quatermain’s new ally may have a secret more terrifying than any he has ever encountered.

BLUEWATER PRODUCTIONS

WESTERN PULP: THE LONE RANGER CHRONICLES!

WESTERN PULP: THE LONE RANGER CHRONICLES!

EDITED: MATTHEW BAUGH, TIM LASIUTA

THE FIRST EVER COLLECTION OF NEW LONE RANGER PROSE STORIES!

The masked ex-Texas Ranger and his Native American companion Tonto fight injustice in the Wild West!

Stories include meetings with The Cisco Kid, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, as well as the origin of Tonto and the origin of Silver!

Authors include Spur Award winner Johnny D Boggs, James Reasoner, Alex Award winner Mel Odom, Anthony Award winner Bill Crider, Matthew Baugh, Tim Lasiuta, Joe Gentile, Paul Kupperberg, Denny O’Neil, Kent Conwell, David McDonald, Thom Brannon, Troy D. Smith, Chick Dixon, and Richard Dean Starr.

288 PAGES ~ $18.95

MOONSTONE BOOKS

PULP NOW: THE SPIDER ~ SHADOW OF EVIL!

PULP NOW: THE SPIDER ~ SHADOW OF EVIL!

CJ HENDERSON

COMING IN MARCH!

The first new Spider novel in 65 years picks up where the last left off, packed to the gills with the greatest slam-bang action ever penned by master pulpster CJ Henderson!

Richard Wentworth, the Spider, wonders if his long struggle against the forces of evil has been worth it? Should he continue, or grab for personal happiness before his time runs out? Then, at the moment he makes his decision, fate unleashes the most hellish horrors against New York City of all time!

PAPERBACK ~ 190 PAGES ~ $6.99

THE SPIDER: SLAUGHTER, INC.!

DONALD CORMACK

COMING IN MARCH!

For the first time anywhere . . . the last Spider pulp novel ever written…is published as an actual Spider novel!

A criminal genius has created an organization to sell murder where innocents are fingered for the crimes. When Nita Van Sloan is framed for murder, the Spider must infiltrate the cartel in disguise and clean house!

TRADE PAPERBACK ~ 190 PAGES ~ $14.95


MOONSTONE BOOKS