Saturday, July 7, 2018

Review: The Shot Rang Out: 52 Western Short Stories: Scott Harris: Author of the Brock Clemons Western Series and 51 Friends

The Shot Rang Out: 52 Western Short Stories: Scott Harris: Author of the Brock Clemons Western Series and 51 Friends The Shot Rang Out: 52 Western Short Stories: Scott Harris: Author of the Brock Clemons Western Series and 51 Friends by Scott Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun and remarkable collection of 52 flash/micro fiction short stories, most of them very good, each one different and revealing the unique voice of each writer. I love the concept for this collection and am thankful to Scott Harris for putting this together. I would like to see more of this type of work. Short stories, and especially Western short stories, have been lacking a visible stage for a long time.

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Review: The Juarez Knife: Manville Moon, Detective #1

The Juarez Knife: Manville Moon, Detective #1 The Juarez Knife: Manville Moon, Detective #1 by Richard Deming
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The first entry in the largely forgotten Manville Moon series of private eye stories, this one a novella from the January 1948 issue of Popular Detective pulp magazine. Moon finds himself engaged in a well plotted locked room type of mystery with a first-rate cast of characters and a few surprising twists. Moon is from the hard-boiled school of detectives, although he's not particularly violent, and he's clearly more compassionate than others from this era. I liked that it's long enough to tell an elaborate story in an hour or two of reading without getting bogged down in details or bloat. Excellent pulp fiction and recommended to fans of post-war private eye stories.

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Here's the cover of the January 1948 issue of Popular Detective:

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Quickly tiling book cover images on my Mac for this new background

I wanted to tile a bunch of book images into an image that I could use for this blogs background with the least amount of work possible. I suppose that this background would have come out a lot better if I had taken the time to make the images all the same size. Oh well.

On my MacBook, where I have already installed ImageMagick for ebook conversations, I downloaded 12 covers from my recent Goodreads books. Using "append +" I combined sets of 4 images into 3 horizontal rows, then using "append -" I combined the 3 rows vertically into the single tiled image seen below. When I get inspired I'll do this with images that are all the same size.

Here are the commands:

$ ls
10377600.jpg 14114017.jpg 25018779.jpg 40507810.jpg
10772831-2.jpg 173984.jpg 25792353.jpg 7134155.jpg
12754117.jpg 2466753.jpg 37847394.jpg 9280898.jpg


$ convert +append 10377600.jpg 14114017.jpg 25018779.jpg 40507810.jpg row1.jpg

$ convert +append 10772831-2.jpg 173984.jpg 25792353.jpg 7134155.jpg row2.jpg

$ convert +append 12754117.jpg 2466753.jpg 37847394.jpg 9280898.jpg row3.jpg

$ convert -append row1.jpg row2.jpg row3.jpg tiled.jpg

and the results:


Sunday, July 1, 2018

Review: Hot Lead issue two: The fanzine of vintage western paperbacks

Hot Lead issue two: The fanzine of vintage western paperbacks Hot Lead issue two: The fanzine of vintage western paperbacks by Justin Marriott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Several interesting articles in this issue. Paul Bishop's take on Harry Whittington's novelization of the movie "Charro" is spot on. Whittington manages to translate the treatment for what would become a mediocre movie into a really superb novel. Amazing novelist. The interview with artist Tony Masero, and articles about British Western comics artist Frank Bellamy, and the German Western pulp and paperbacks of the '60s are insightful. I never realized that Westerns were so popular in Germany. Excellent production standards for this fanzine. The formatting and graphics are impressive. I'm looking forward to issue three.

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Review: The Laughing Death

The Laughing Death The Laughing Death by Paul Edwards
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Author Robert Lory penned this installment of the series and sticks to the formula with John Eagle assigned to quash a plot by a mysterious and powerful Chinese master who intends release a deadly nerve toxin designed to kill millions in an attempt to destabilize Asia and take it over. Eagle is equipped with his usual high tech equipment and a couple of disposable assistants in a dangerous trek though Indonesian jungles to the hidden lair of the ruthless master. A fun and entertaining book if you don't mind the violence and misogyny inherent in these type of books, a couple of grimace inducing sex scenes could have been left out.

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Review: Brute

Brute Brute by Con Sellers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Con Sellers manages to mix action, espionage, and romance into a compelling novel that tells the story of Brad Saxon, an immense brute of a man, inclined to bursting through walls, mirrors, and doors - or just ripping them off their hinges, and frequently beating the crap out of guys. Former GI and pro football player Saxon’s unrequited love for a Japanese prostitute that he hasn’t talked to in nine years takes him back to Japan to try to marry her - a bad idea as he stumbles into a complex plot by communists and the Japanese underworld to use hookers to record private conversations of US military officers in a effort to undermine US security. Plenty of hard-boiled violence, and some surprisingly touching and elegant sex scene narrative make this an interesting and fun read.

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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Review: Head West!

Head West! Head West! by Ben Bridges
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great new magazine with informative articles, interviews, and three Western short stories.

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