Robert Sidney Bowen – Black Lightning (1934)


Date Finished: December 31, 2016
TBR #87

And one last book for 2016. This first adventure of Dusty Ayres and his Battle Birds, published as High Adventure #44, pits him against the invasion force headed by the Black Hawk. Dusty has to race around the country due to troubles with communications systems, discovering the invasion coming from an unexpected place in Canada. He daringly fights the forces, though Duluth is largely destroyed. Oh well. Some prescient elements regarding the coming World War, but still some unbelievable pulp bits and villains. I prefer Bowen’s straight air war stories.



Kenneth Robeson – The Czar of Fear (1933)


Category: Hero Pulp
Date Finished: October 29, 2015

This is another pulp series that just does not do it for me. I like the concepts and idea of Doc Savage, but Lester Dent’s writing style just does not flow for me. At least in the Czar of Fear we don’t have much of Ham and Monk’s rivalry, as Ham hardly appears. The villain seems like one of those old serial villains, of a mastermind in a hooded garment, that has some evil plot that gets foiled at every chapter. Not much to this one.


Planet Stories v03n10 Spring 1948

Planet Stories 1948-Spring p000

Category: SF Pulp
Date Finished: October 2, 2015

A Ray Bradbury short story here, “Jonah of the Jove-Run,” is the best and gets a prominent cover blurb, even though it isn’t as great as his best. “Design for Doomsday” by Bryce Walton is a space epic of war among the planets but doesn’t have much beyond the action. That is pretty well done, though. “Planet in Reverse” by Henry Guth is clever though impossible. “Space-Trap at Banya Tor” by W.J. Matthews deals with pirates in space, but is mediocre. “The Outcasts of Solar III” by Emmett McDowell features a he-man scientist who of course is athletic, brilliant, and too far fetched to be believed. The more believable part is that corporations are running things and fighting among themselves and the government with violent means, but the story switches streams a few times and throws in a number of concepts that should have been explored on their own. James Reasoner reviewed the issue here. I wasn’t familiar with the writers beyond Bradbury, and Reasoner wasn’t much either.

Looking at the letter column in the next issue, it seems that a couple liked “Jonah of the Jove-Run” best, but others supported “Space-Trap at Banya Tor” or “Outcasts of Solar III.” 


Popular Detective v37n03 November 1949


Category: Thrilling Publication
Date Finished: September 5, 2015

Darwination has written a more comprehensive review, but let me add my thoughts. The lead novelette, “Murder Off Honduras,” by David Dodge, is the perfect length for a flight from Cleveland to Chicago. A good story of detection in an interesting, fishing boat, setting. Dodge had a later novel, The Last Match, reprinted by Hard Case Crime back in 2006, but that is the only thing by him that I’ve read.

The cover is an illustration for “The Dead Don’t Die” by Bruno Fischer, set in a spooky family mansion with hidden treasure and treachery.

One I thought I’d enjoy the least is the comedic “Cheesecake and Willie” by Joe Archibald. Comedy is always tough, but this  turned out to be quite well done.


Saint Magazine v24n05 January 1967

Saint Magazine v24n05 1967-01

Category: Digest
Date Finished: August 25, 2015

This issue contains a couple of Saint reprints, as well as a Nero Wolfe reprint, leaving room for one novelette and four short stories. The novelette is a Michael Avallone spy novel in the vein of the Man From U.N.C.L.E., but in this case the Man from INTREX. He is credited here as the creator of the Man from UNCLE, which is a stretch, when he actually just wrote the first novelization. His attempt to have his own similar series here falls flat. The agents, David Seven and Miles Running Bear Farmer, appeared in four novelettes in the Saint Magazine from September 1966 to October 1967. The one in this issue is the second. A pale UNCLE imitation. Some of the other short stories are well done, including two Edward D. Hoch stories, one of which is under his Stephen Dentinger pseudonym.


Dime Detective v50n04 March 1946


Category: Mystery Pulp
Date Finished: May 10, 2015

Now that my Golden and Silver Age Mystery bingos are nearly completed, I created a Pulp bingo card to challenge me to read more pulps for the rest of the year. I finished this one a few months back, but didn’t make many notes about it. There are a number of continuing characters here that a regular reader of Dime Detective back in 1946 would have more knowledge of. I’m somewhat in the dark as to who they are, but they include newspaper reporter Bill Brent, lawyer C.D. Mort by Julius Long, genealogist Pinero Pershing by Henry Norton, and Malachi Manatee by William R. Cox. It is fun to see these forgotten detectives, however slight some of these stories are.

Blank bingo card:


Progress so far: