Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Eve, It's Extortion By Carter Brown

Eve, It's Extortion
By Carter Brown
Horwitz, 1957

Al Wheeler investigates an accident with a suspiciously high insurance payout. I appreciate how Wheeler isn't a particularly smart detective, he just waits for the bad guys to try and kill him, or waits until he runs out of characters for suspects. At least in this era of Brown, each story has a woman Wheeler recruits and/or sleeps with, putting her in danger.

From Amazon https://amzn.to/44ubQ9P

Friday, May 24, 2024

Bloodsisters by John Russo

by John Russo
Pocket Books, 1982

A college student wants to know who her father is. Many, many pages later she's targeted by a figure from her past, then the book ends. We have many, many pages of astrology and placing want ads to fill out the length.

A couple of slit throats, not enough to be horror, more of a thriller that never gets started. Exposition heavy as always, Russo solves the mysteries either before or right after they're introduced. We know about the father from the opening sequence, and other elements that might have been a surprise, such as the transgender/split personality business, was just spelled out, with the characters themselves never learning about it.

There's an astrology based, feminist secret society, sometime intimated that controls sections of society, but ends up being 13 women who barely manage to cover up their own murders that they commit to cover up other murders. They don't play much in the plot either.

For the exciting conclusion, our heroine is kidnapped (off page), rescued (off page), and learns of the fate of her tormentors from the newspaper. The worst of Russo's that I've come across.

From Amazon https://amzn.to/3YJVhWe

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Butler 1: The Hydra Conspiracy by Philip Kirk

Butler 1
The Hydra Conspiracy
by Philip Kirk (Len Levinson)
Leisure, 1979

One of the worst novels I've ever read by one of my favorite authors. Not even any camp value, just a dull grind to a word count.

Butler is a CIA agent who gets fired for his objections to the agency's interventions in South American. He's recruited, via plot convolutions, to join a secret international conspiracy The Bancroft Institute to oppose a secret international conspiracy Cobra. This takes the first half of the book.

The second half has Butler being hired as head of security for a billionaire, getting involved in a military coup, and defusing a nuclear bomb. Butler occupies a weird place on the spectrum between le Carré and The Man From B.O.N.E.R. - the plot is too sparse and bad to be serious espionage, not enough sex to be a farce, and not funny enough to be parody.

Speaking of sex, three scenes, the first two fade to black shortly after beginning. Not enough for a spank book or sex farce, but present and creepy enough to overwhelm the other elements. To say it doesn't age is well is an understatement, as Butler's main seduction move is to hope she doesn't press charges.

The writing, especially the first half, felt like the author was blocked, kept typing through it, and didn't go back to revise. Butler wanders around not doing anything, conversations go in circles with speakers repeating things back to each other for pages, just completely aimless.

The series ran twelve books, with Levinson doing the first six. The later ones are strangely more collectible, probably smaller print runs, but I'm guessing it's more for the covers than the content.

Available from Amazon https://amzn.to/3rrlKex

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

An Earthman on Venus by Ralph Milne Farley

An Earthman on Venus by Ralph Milne Farley
Originally The Radio Man
1924, Argosy

An earthly radio operator zaps himself to Venus, where he is captured by and assimilates with ant people and people people. Kept waiting for the admin to get out of the way (learning the language, customs, getting a job, etc) so we could get to the adventure, but I suppose all that was the point of the story. More planetary romance than sword & planet.

Available from Gutenberg 

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

The Gore by Joseph Citro

The Gore (aka The Unseen)
by Joseph Citro
1990 Warner Books

The titular gore is a surveying term for a slice of land which goes unclaimed due to surveying mistakes. We start off with what I remember most from one of Citro's other books, a depiction of depressed rural Vermont and miserable men drinking themselves to death. Some stones are brought to the attention of the university, there are a some mysterious deaths, and finally bigfoot sightings around an abandoned hotel.

Pretty early in the process the bigfoots are revealed to be...

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

World War X

What's better than a battle royal? Five battle royals!

Introducing World War X!

Four rings with 20 authors each, fighting it out until there are five left in each ring. The last twenty will meet in the center ring until there is only one survivor left. As this will likely take years
there will be multiple title defenses sprinkled throughout, as well as multiple hands of Bunco Brawl.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Rage on the Page in a Cage results

 George Fielding Eliot claims the Cruiserweight Title.

Forgotten Realms clings to the TV Title

R.J. Calder's Frenzi defeats fan favorite Dillon for the Young Guns Title

Startling Detective holds firm against Bronze Thrills to retain the Tag Team Title.

Joseph Rosenberger successfully defended the European Title.

Ray Garton remains our Intercontinental Champion.

Up-and-comer Derrick Ferguson defeats upstart Startling Detective Adventures to claim the US Title.

Ray Garton snatches away the World Title from Donald Hamilton to become our first double crown winner.

The dicks from down under Carter Brown and Larry Kent win the Rage on the Page in a Cage for team Private Eyes.

Stay tuned for our next event, the biggest, brashest, most tedious yet!

Thursday, May 2, 2024

RPC World Title Match: Ray Garton vs Donald Westlake


Westlake slips and Garton takes the advantage, becoming our new World Champion and first double crown winner.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Lot Lizards by Ray Garton

Lot Lizards 
by Ray Garton
Mark V Ziesing, 1991

A group of vampiric lot lizards (sex workers who hang around truck stops) travel with a bestial queen vampire in the back of a truck driven by fat, sleazy trucker familiars, the Carsey brothers. Trucker Bill Ketter, a trucker turned reluctant vamp, hunts the group, finding them at a truck stop where his ex-wife and kids happen to be stranded.

Sleazy, violent, and fun. My only complaint is the short length, as there was a lot of room in the story to expand.

Available from Amazon