Thursday, July 28, 2016

Bemoaning The Good Assassin

I was asked to evaluate a book and didn't particularly care for it. So for my review, I pulled back to first take a look at the 'good' assassin in film and literaturesomething I find most of the time to be annoying.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Bill Crider's Sheriff Dan Rhodes

I'm a big fan of Bill Crider's Sheriff Dan Rhodes mysteries and just pre-ordered a copy from Amazon of his latest. Expect  a book review in the coming weeks. In case you are unfamiliar with one of the coolest sheriff's around here was my thoughts on the first in the series.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

WONDER WOMAN Comic-Con Trailer

BTAP Catalog | The Axeman of Storyville | Heath Lowrance

BTAP Catalog | The Axeman of Storyville | Heath Lowrance: Novella in the Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles series

Torn and Frayed

Torn and Frayed is a bit off the wall as detective stories go so I'm very happy to see another positive response left on Amazon. You will probably get tired of hearing me say this but reviews are like gold to an author and beyond helping to move books they are a necessary morale booster.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Beauty and Robots

As you can see I've been busy this summer writing reviews beside the usual BEAT to a PULP work. Here's two more that I will thank you in advance for reading. I had the pleasure to get an advance copy of THE BRANSON BEAUTY by Claire Booth which is a refreshing first in a series featuring Sheriff Hank Worth. Also reviewed is Isaac Asimov THE ROBOTS OF DAWN.

Monday, July 18, 2016

SoHo Sins

My latest article An Artistic Debut: Reviewing SoHo Sins by Richard Vine has been posted at Criminal Element. Again, thank you for clicking over and reading.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

BTAP Webzine | George R. Johnson | A Well-Ordered Life?

BTAP Webzine | George R. Johnson | A Well-Ordered Life?: July 2016 short story

About this Pulp of the Month: I had asked Randy if he cared to contribute a story to BEAT to a PULP. This was back at the start, around 2008, and I suspected the pulp fiction enthusiast (and avid film/book reviewer) was a wordsmith himself. His response was humble and he politely declined my invitation though indicating maybe some future point. After he passed away in 2015, his sister Gloria sent me a box of his writings and I was not astonished to find an excellent short story writer who had been scribbling away since the 1970s. I've selected a 500-word flash fiction piece to publish first and before long hope to roll out some of his longer pieces. 

I hope you can take a few short minutes to read "A Well-Ordered Life?"

Monday, July 11, 2016

Quinn Colson, Lee Marvin, and Richard Burton

I'm a reviewing fool. Here's the latest two at Macmillan's Criminal Element: THE INNOCENTS by Ace Atkins and For Masochists Only: THE KLANSMAN (1974). As always, I appreciate you linking over and leaving comments.

Mannix Opening Title Credits :: Season One (1967)

Cash & Miles Free eBook

BEAT to a PULP extraordinaire dMix has given face lifts to my Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles series that also includes new art by Chuck Regan for Further Adventures. To honor the occasion I'm offering Vol. II for free for the next few days. Here's Alec Cizak's foreword to the collection:

The Western is one of those things. Like rock and roll. Like theater. Jackasses in coffee houses everywhere are always pronouncing it dead. There’s seductive evidence to suggest that diagnosis correct—Hollywood has a hard time prying its big fat wallet open to finance a Western (never mind that the God damn town was practically built on the genre). The only way television could get a Western going in this day and age was by shuffling it off to the “naughty” corner of cable and filling its character’s mouths with nonstop profanity. Stroll into most book stores (the ones that still exist, speaking of a dying species) and you’ll probably find one shelf of Westerns with the safe, traditional names on the spines. Here’s the problem, though, here’s why there’s no authoritative signature on that particular death certificate: The Western is not dead. People read them, people watch them, and people like Edward A. Grainger, aka David Cranmer, are fueling the genre with fresh stories and characters that satisfy both old and new conventions.
Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles has been out for a short time and garnered enough attention to demonstrate that there is not only sustained interest in the Western, but new blood ducking in to take a peek and, if we are to believe the avalanche of praise Grainger’s first collection has received, liking what they see. And why not? Without the self-conscious posturing of postmodernism, Grainger has, in fact, crafted a postmodern west that takes into account the conspicuous absence of non-white, non-protestant members of the American family. Grainger is not one, I suspect, to bellow about “political correctness” and “inclusion” and “diversity” and all the other buzz words that college campuses and public service announcements like to drill into our heads in effort to keep the masses civilized. Like that old adage about faith, them that shout the loudest, we should assume, believe the least. No, Grainger very quietly sits wherever it is he writes and creates stories about the old west that fill in a lot of spaces left by previous generations of writers and filmmakers.
I compared Volume I to John Ford’s The Searchers and I stand by that comparison. Like The Searchers, Grainger’s stories address America’s racial and ethnic realities in a straightforward manner so refreshingly free of self-consciousness that one is able to read the stories purely for entertainment or as the subtle political statements that they are. Grainger has, in short, achieved that great balance between form and function. In my opinion, this should be the goal of any serious artist.
On the surface, these are entertaining tales. Cash Laramie is part Dirty Harry, part Billy Jack. Of course, he walks the Earth a hundred years before those great vigilante characters of the 1970s. He benefits from a more relaxed attitude towards rogue justice. The result is a character who punishes bad guys the way all of us, deep down, would prefer. Thus, men who abuse children are dispatched without all the pesky paperwork and legal acrobats criminals benefit from today. Bigots who hang people simply because they don’t like the color of their skin are brutally tortured and left for dead. In Volume II, Cash continues his brand of “outlaw” justice, repositioning that tricky line between “right” and “wrong.” We are also treated to the story of Cash’s origin. Gideon Miles does not play as significant a role as he did in the first collection of stories, but his appearance here reinforces my belief that Edward Grainger is telling tales of the west in a much more honest manner than any writer or filmmaker has attempted before and he is doing so without begging for an “atta’ boy!” from the coffee house crowd.
There are some who would argue that Cash Laramie’s “outlaw” justice is just that—beyond the borders of the law and therefore suspect. I think they are missing the point. American mythology is twisted in contradictions that brutal lawmen like Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles untangle with gut decisions we all wish we could execute every time we watch in horror as the justice system fails to discipline someone who is obviously guilty. These stories nurture a basic human desire to create a world that makes sense emotionally. In that way, they are a kind of medicine, don’t you think?

Alec Cizak
August 2011

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Infiltrations of the Surreal...

I'm reading Julio Cortázar's BLOW-UP AND OTHER STORIES again. Fairly certain the next time someone asks me the bland chestnut of what writer's body of work would I take to that desolate island—it would be Cortázar’s. Here’s a piece I wrote a while back:
Infiltrations of the Surreal: Argetina’s Julio Cortázar
At the tender age of nine, and against his mother’s better judgement, Julio Cortázar (1914-1984) managed to get his hands on an Edgar Allan Poe collection. Years later, Cortázar recalled in an interview for The Paris Review: “[S]he thought I was too young and she was right. The book scared me and I was ill for three months, because I believed in it … dur comme fer as the French say.” But thanks to his mom spurring him to other reading (Jules Verne was an early favorite) and his robust imagination, he developed a knack for storytelling that jettisoned the distance between the real and the imaginary—eventually becoming one of Argentina’s premier novelists and short story writers. Here are a few examples from his body of work epitomizing why his surreal art still maintains such clout in the literary community.
Further reading at Criminal Element.

New Thoughts on Melville's DICK

Did A Love Affair Give Birth To 'Moby Dick'?

*all apologies for the header.