Saturday, September 17, 2011

Max Allan Collins Cruisin'

Steve Steinbock

7th Sigma -- Steven Gould

Too bad the title Cowboys and Aliens was already taken, since it would have been a pretty good one for this book, except that there aren't many cowboys in evidence and maybe no aliens.

This novel is a an updated version of Kipling's Kim, which will be obvious to everybody who's read Kipling. Gould makes this very clear, and the protagonist is even named Kim(ble). The setting is the American Southwest after a strange event has returned it to something much like the frontier. The event is the appearance of the bugs, tiny creatures made of metal with no other purpose that we know if other than to devour more metal and produce more bugs. You wouldn't want to live around them if you had metal fillings in your teeth or a hip replacement or anything metal attached to your body. The bugs are confined to the dry southwest, so the rest of the world goes on pretty much as before.

Some people, however, choose to live in The Territory. Since there's no metal, life is reduced to a simple level. There are bandits, outlaws, farmers, ranchers, good people and bad. There are eramic knives and crossbows cardboard rifles that fire ceramic bullets. Two of the good people are Kim, who's a kid with a lot of potential. He falls in with Ruth, a sensi who's come to The Territory to open a dojo and teach aikido. Kim's a great pupil, and he becomes useful to the law in Gould's version of the Game.

The book's highly readable, if episodic, and it leaves a few questions unanswered at the end. So it must be the first of a series. It's clearly a YA novel even if it's not being marketed that way, but it's something anybody can enjoy. Check it out.

Today's Vintage Ad


CW To Reboot 1980s ‘Beauty And The Beast’ –




Leslie Charteris, The Saint Goes West, Avon, 1952

Underground Cities

Underground Cities: 3500 Years of Cappadocian Cave Homes

Link via Neatorama.

Today's Western Movie Poster

10 Fictional Cops We Wish Were Real

10 Fictional Cops We Wish Were Real

Motorcycle Gang

Friday, September 16, 2011

Philly Poe Guy might dispute the first sentence

Poe Museum Nevermore? - BALTIMORE (Reuters) - Of all the U.S. cities that claim a connection to the troubled author Edgar Allan Poe, Baltimore likes to think its case is strongest.

Poe's family is from Baltimore, his literary career began in the city, he died a mysterious death at a Baltimore hospital and his body was buried here in 1849.

But the city may soon lose a key physical connection to Poe. The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, where the writer lived for four years in the early 1800s, is in danger of closing next year, due to budget cutbacks by the city.

Headline of the week

Nicolas Cage awoken by naked man with Fudgesicle - Yahoo! News

Impossible Murders: Cracking the Locked Room Mysteries

AbeBooks: Impossible Murders: Cracking the Locked Room Mysteries: The 'locked room' mystery is one of the most intriguing sub-genres of crime writing. These books depict a crime committed in what appears to be an entirely impossible situation such as a locked room where the killer has seemingly vanished into thin air.

The concept of a behind-closed-doors mystery has been a plot device since the heyday of Ancient Greece but it was not established as a sub-genre of crime fiction until the 19th century. One of the earliest examples is Edgar Allan Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue where a woman and her daughter are murdered by someone speaking an unintelligible foreign language within an inaccessible room, which has been locked from the inside and is located on the fourth floor of a building. Several other authors (Joseph Conrad, Sheridan Le Fanu and Wilkie Collins) also made early attempts at this style of mystery.

Bad Moon Rising -- Ed Gorman

Ed Gorman's series about lawyer Sam McCain has always been a favorite of mine. Plots, characters, setting, and attitude. This series has it all. The song titles that are used as the titles of the novels give you the time period. They begin in the '50s (okay, the first book, The Day the Music Died, uses a line from a song and not a title), and we're not well into the darkness of the late '60s/early '70s with Bad Moon Rising (Creedence released the song, one of the all-time greats, in '69).

There's a hippie commune just outside Black River Falls, and when the daughter of one of the town's prominent citizens is murdered there, McCain is drawn into the case. Everyone except McCain seems to believe it's an open-and-shut case, especially Cliffie, the town's police chief, who doesn't figure as much in this story as in previous books. McCain begins his own investigation, and things prove to be a lot more complicated than anyone thought. Ugly secrets are uncovered, but Gorman, as usual, is wonderfully even-handed at presenting the human beings involved. Nobody's painted in one color here. Even the worst have redeeming qualities, no matter how small. And even the best have their flaws.

I'm sad to say that this appears to be the final book in the series, unless Gorman plans to take it in a new direction. My greatest regret is that McCain will probably never give his secretary's husband the butt-kicking he so clearly deserves. I've enjoyed every book in this series, and if you haven't read the others, I'd advise you to get started. It's worth your time, and like the rest, this one's a real keeper. Check it out.

Today's Vintage Ad

It Was Bound to Happen

Adult popsicles: Chill out with booze-infused popsicles


Will Manson, The Mathematician, Flagship, 1967
(This is not, as far as I know, the biography of Seepy Benton.)

An Afterword on Afterwords

When I was reading Lawrence Block's Afterwords, I was happy to see that he repeated a story I first read in one of his Writer's Digest columns many years ago. In one of his books, Two for Tanner, which is set in Thailand, he found an error in the galleys. Instead of "tobacco shop," the text read "tobbo shop." He started to correct it but had second thoughts. "Tobbo shop" sounded like one of those local-color things real insider would know about, so he left it in. I believe he said at the time that he hoped someone would come along later, stumble across the term, and write a book that mentioned the notorious tobbo shops of Thailand in an attempt to get at the real spirit of the place.

When I read that, I said to myself, "If I ever have a chance to be the guy who makes that mention, I'm gonna do it." Sure enough, when I was working on one of the M.I.A. Hunter books (I did several of those, and I believe Back to 'Nam is the one I'm talking about here), the opportunity arose, and I put it into the text. Did the mention make it into the published book? I have no idea, but if it did, I'm pretty sure Block never saw it. I get the feeling he didn't read the M.I.A. Hunter series. At any rate, I loved doing that, and it's one of the reasons writing can be so much fun.

6 Things You Won't Believe Animals Do Just Like Us

6 Things You Won't Believe Animals Do Just Like Us

I'll Bet You Knew All These Already

10 More Little Known Massacres

Today's Western Movie Poster

The Killer Leads the Way

40 Noises That Built Pop

Forgotten Books: The Hundred Dollar Girl -- William Campbell Gault

James Reasoner and I have discussed the fact that we can remember where we bought certain books, even though we bought them years and years ago. I remember buying The Hundred-Dollar Girl off a rack in Austin, Texas, very clearly. I could even describe the place, though it's long gone. This was the first William Campbell Gault book I bought, I believe, though it's the seventh book to feature Joe Puma. I'm not counting The Cana Diversion, and neither should you. I am counting Shakedown, half of an early Ace Double by "Roney Scott," but the Puma in that book isn't really the same guy who appears in the others. Five of the books were published by Fawcett Crest as paperback originals, and this one was published in hardcover by Dutton before being reprinted by Signet. The other night, for some reason, I decided I wanted to read it again after more than 40 years, so I got it down off the shelf. As you can see, it's still in pretty good shape.

The story has Puma investigating the murder of a boxer's manager. Gault was one of the best when it came to writing about sports, and this is a good story. The manager is murdered, and then there's another murder. Obviously they're connected, but just how is hard to figure. Puma sleeps with a couple of women, gets knocked around a lot (which is hard to figure, considering how big he is), eats well, and deals with goons, mobsters, cops, and women in his inimitable fashion. Puma has a quick temper, and it gets him in lots of trouble that a smoother operator might have avoided. But the temper (and the integrity) is part of what makes Puma such an interesting character. A lot of people perfer him to Gault's other p.i., Brock "The Rock" Callahan.

Gault won an Edgar, got good reviews, and had a lot of devoted readers (including me). But he never made much money from his mystery writing. So he left the mystery field and took to writing YA novels, many of which were highly successful, went through numerous printings, and which made him a lot more money than his mysteries ever did. I think I deserve a little credit for luring him back to mysteries because I did an interview with him for Billy Lee's Paperback Quarterly around 1979 or so. Then he was invited to the Bouchercon in Milwaukee and found out that he had a lot of fans who remembered him. He revived the Callahan series, and while the books weren't quite what they used to be, several of them came close to recapturing the old feel. If you haven't read any of Gault's books, it's time to check them out.

This post originally appeared on May 17, 2005.

The Human Monster

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ali Karim

George Kelley

Frequent Commenter Jeff Meyerson

No WiFi

In the rooms of the Bouchercon hotel. Total suckage.

St. Louis

Top 10 Places for Chocolate

Top 10 Places for Chocolate

10 Incredibly Cute Snapshots of Baby Crocodiles | Environmental Graffiti

10 Incredibly Cute Snapshots of Baby Crocodiles

Link via Neatorama.

Today's Vintage Ad

Soon We'll Have No Freedoms Left at All

Miniskirt ban at San Jose school also applies to cheerleader uniforms

Bouchercon Bound

Judy and I are on the way to St. Louis to attend the annual Bouchercon. We attended our first one in 1980, and ever since we've tried to be there. We've missed several, and we've always regretted it. Now that I'm getting geezerly, it's harder for me to make up my mind to travel, and I wonder how much longer I can keep doing it. Still, I'd sure hate to miss Bouchercon.

The blog will continue in my absence with all the usual features plus some of the usual nutty lists and such. If I have time, I'll post some stuff from St. Louis. I'll be on a couple of panels there, and I'll be going to the PWA banquet. I'll also be doing a couple of extra signings in the dealers' room on Saturday. I'll bet at the Crimespree table at noon and at the Black Dogs Books table at 1:00. Stop by so I won't feel lonely and alone.

We're coming back on Monday, and I'm sure our cats will be tired of the cat-sitter by then and be overjoyed to see us.

Dallas Mayo, The Trouble with Red Heads, Kozy Books, 1962

9 Craziest Sports Rituals

9 Craziest Sports Rituals

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Muslim man says Houston bar wished him 'Happy Sept. 11th' on to-go order: A Houston pub staffer was reportedly canned after a Muslim customer complained he was served a takeout order in a box featuring a crude cartoon wishing him a "Happy September 11th."

And once again, Jeff Meyerson alerts us.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Why women have sex - The Times of India: "Research has shown that most men find most women at least somewhat sexually attractive, whereas most women do not find most men sexually attractive at all," the Telegraph quoted the authors, who are both psychology professors at the University of Texas, as saying.

Anybody Can Make a Mistake

Author red-faced after sh*tting typo published

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Around the World in Children's Books

AbeBooks: Around the World in Children's Books: There's no denying the appeal of gorgeous children's books. The books featured on this page are prime examples of beautifully illustrated books from different countries around the world.

The Tall T

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

Did ‘Debbie Cakes’ reference spark Hobe Sound beating?

Top 5 Sidearms In Science Fiction

Top 5 Sidearms In Science Fiction

Link via SF Signal.

Today's Vintage Ad

5 Best Star Wars That Aren’t STAR WARS

5 Best Star Wars That Aren’t STAR WARS

Link via SF Signal.


William Bernard, Jailbait, Popular Library, 1952

Chicago Leads the Way A Chicago company said Tuesday it has created the world's largest chocolate bar at 12,000 pounds.

The Best Home Movies You'll See This Year

Malibu 1965 in Color

Uh-Oh Summit Entertainment announced today that 28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo will direct a re-imagining of the 1986 cult classic Highlander.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Hasn't This Already Been a SyFy Movie of the Week?

Dozens of crocodiles escape Thai farm, menace area near Pattaya beach resort

Hat tip to Jeffs Meyerson and Segal.

New York Leads the Way

Times Union: A man facing a murder trial in Schenectady County court got an unexpected note in the mail -- a jury duty summons for his own trial.

I Love Consumerism!

Baby Products You Don't Need: 11 Useless Baby 'Essentials'

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Things That Always Happen in Movies, But Never Ever in Real Life |

Things That Always Happen in Movies, But Never Ever in Real Life

Link via Neatorama.

Wake of the Red Witch

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Laurie's Wild West Has a Contest


Here's the scoop.

1. We will have one contest a week for four weeks, beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, September 14. Each Wednesday for four weeks, I am going to talk about one of the stories in RIDING THE PULP TRAIL. Your job is to, using the words in the story's title as a clue, go over to the OutWest Western Boutique and Cultural Center website and look for the item relating to the title.

For example, if the story was called "Cat From Over the Pass," you would go over to OutWest and look for products that are cat-related. You may also want to look for products with the word "pass" in them. (We don't want to make it TOO easy for you.) When you find the correct item, there will be a notation that you have found the correct item. Once you have found the item, go to and submit your entry. Your entry should include:

1. The name of the item and number
2. Your name and mailing address

You will have until the Friday of that week, midnight Pacific time, to submit your entry. All names submitted will be put into a random drawing and a name picked over the weekend. The winner announced over the weekend.

Different prizes will be awarded each week. Some prizes will be copies of RIDING THE PULP TRAIL; others will be the item that you find on the OutWest website.

PimPage: An Occasional Feature in Which I Call Interesting Books to Your Attention THE PATHS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION OF SCIENCE FICTION STORIES BY JAMES REASONER eBook: James Reasoner: Kindle Store: This collection brings together all of legendary author James Reasoner's science fiction stories together in one place, including two never before published. Set on Earth, the Moon, and distant planets, these stories range from the retro hardboiled private eye yarn "Terran Girls Make Wonderful Wives" to the Western-influenced "The Border Shift". Set on a hardscrabble mining planet, the melancholy "Bugeyes", which one reviewer referred to it as a cross between Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury, explores the relationship between humans and aliens, while "Season of Storms" and the title story take place on near-future Earths that have dangers and challenges all their own. These five novellas and novelettes add up to 50,000 words of science fiction adventure!


Eel removed from man's bladder after entering penis during beauty spa

Today's Vintage Ad

Didn't Arthur C. Clarke Write a Story about This?

How many pages are on the internet?: A group called the World Wide Web Foundation -- appropriately founded by Tim Berners-Lee, who pretty much created the internet -- is on a quest to figure out, with some degree certainty, how big the internet really is.

Moonset, Alvin, Texas, September 13, 2011


Val Seran, Grand Slam Girl, Bee-Line, 1967

A Couple of Good Guys Who Could Use a Little Help

Kevin Tipple and Ed Bryant.

I Got 'em All

That's not to say the stores are using them correctly, however.

The Store Apostrophe Quiz

Today's Western Movie Poster

Mugshot of the Month

Easily The Scariest Mug Shot Of An Accused Murderer You Will See Today

8 weird burial alternatives that are going mainstream

8 weird burial alternatives that are going mainstream

Croc Update (Will the Persecution Never End Edition)

Box office: 'Creature' isn't the only crocodile-related box-office bomb | Inside Movies | If you’re a crocodile hoping to make some money at the box office, you better grab a safari hat and add a “Dundee” to the end of your name because chances are, audiences won’t want to see you otherwise.
As you may have heard, Creature, a schlocky B-movie about a half-gator, half-human monster, utterly bombed at the box office this weekend, swamping up a disastrous $327,000 from 1,507 theaters. That opening, which ranks as the worst-ever debut for a film playing in more than 1,500 theaters, means that each screening of Creature had an average of fewer than six viewers. No matter you look at it, that number bites.

Forgotten Films: Safari Drums

When I was a kid, I read as many of the Bomba books as I could find in the public library, and I even bought a few of my own. (Later on, George Kelley was kind enough to send me a few more.) I know now that the books are supposed to be racist and badly written, but I didn't know that at the time, nor did I notice it. I just enjoyed the adventure and wanted to learn if Bomba ever did find his parents.

Since I liked the books, I naturally liked the movies based on them, too. They were typical Saturday afternoon fare at the Palace Theater in my hometown, and I was usually there every week with as rowdy a crowd of kids as you could find anywhere. I was probably the only one who was actually interested in seeing the movie, geek that I already was.

The plot of this one's the usual thing. Some film crew is in back-lot Africa, someone gets killed, and Bomba has to help out. Plenty of stock footage and fake animals. But fun if you're a Bomba fan.

Safari Drums

Monday, September 12, 2011


Hannibal Lecter is Getting His Own TV Show

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Cowboys fan uses taser gun on Jets crowd at MetLife Stadium despite security on 9/11 anniversary

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Mary Fickett, R. I. P. Mary Fickett, who acted in theater, film and prime-time television before becoming a legend among followers of the daytime drama “All My Children” as Ruth Martin, a nurse unafraid to speak her mind, died on Thursday at her home in Callao, Va. She was 83.

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

A Netflix For Books?

Will Amazon Create A Netflix For Books?: Amazon is planning a Netflix-like subscription service for e-books, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal today (available to subscribers only).

Hat tip to George Kelley.

Today's Vintage Ad

9 Surprising People with Honorary Degrees

9 Surprising People with Honorary Degrees


James Harvey, Lady Wrestler, Midwood, 1960

10 Greek Plays That Are Essential to Any Education

10 Greek Plays That Are Essential to Any Education

The First Shared Universes

The First Shared Universes

When Jess Nevins digs into history, you get some great stuff.

Overlooked And Underrated SF Films

Overlooked And Underrated - Unsettling Science Fiction - FEARnet

Today's Western Movie Poster

Famous Literary Drunks and Addicts

Famous Literary Drunks & Addicts - Photo Gallery

And Stay off Her Lawn!

77-year-old woman strips to protest the demolition of her home

5 Inexplicably Horrifying Episodes of Classic Comedies

5 Inexplicably Horrifying Episodes of Classic Comedies

Ilsa, the Tigress of Siberia

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Just checking out the new blogger app for the iPhone. Maybe I can use it at Bouchercon if it works. Update: It works.

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: Weekly Punch

No Comment Department

TechCrunch: If you needed any more proof that the age of dead-tree books is over take a look at these alarming style changes at Ikea: the furniture manufacturer’s iconic BILLY bookcase – the bookcase that everyone put together when they got their first apartment and, inevitably, pounded the nails wrong into – is becoming deeper and more of a curio cabinet. Why? Because Ikea is noticing that customers no longer buy them for books.

Today's Vintage Ad

No Comment Department

The Secret to Machu Picchu's Success: Llama Poop


Harry Whittington, Slay Ride for a Lady, Berkley, 1960

Maybe I Shouldn't Bother

The Lifespan of a Link - Pop quiz. How long do you think a fresh new link lasts online before people stop clicking on it? The answer: on average, just shy of 3 hours. If you ask the same question about a news-related link, the answer is a measly 5 minutes.

John Stewart - I Remember America

Today's Western Movie Poster

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

Police: OC Man Assaulted Neighbor Over Noisy Generator During Blackout

Today (and Every Day) We Remember

World Trade Center Cameos

Twin Tower Cameos from Dan Meth on Vimeo.