Saturday, January 25, 2014
Here's an older review of a really good collection of New Pulp stories. It's from about a month ago.
Finished reading Brother Bones: The Undead Avenger by Ron Fortier last night. A very good example of pulp writing, with heavy use of the supernatural throughout, in my opinion. I picked it up randomly from Airship 27 Productions, because I had heard good things about them, and was intrigued by the character of Brother Bones; I'm extremely glad I did, because the collection of short stories was highly satisfying. The first, "The Bones Brothers" is the origin tale of the character. The story tells of two brothers who are enforcers for the mob in Cape Noir (the city where the stories are set.) Betrayal, death, a chance at redemption and the meting out of justice long deserved are all contained within this story. "Shield and Claw" tells of the police in Cape Noir, corruption, and the consequences of going after the "easy" money. Also featured are Brother Bones and... werewolves! Very nice story. "Scales of Terror" introduces Blackjack Bobby Crandall, a blackjack dealer in a local casino. While trying to console a certain female friend of his, they both stumble into something worse than the infidelity that the woman has been suspecting... something that comes from the outer regions of Hell! B.B. is drawn in to put paid to the thing from outside, but will everyone survive? Entertaining, to say the least, and melds pulp and Lovecraft together in the story, at least in my opinion. "See Spot Kill" mixes voodoo, a couple of hapless partiers that do a very bad thing, along with intrepid city reporter Sally Paige. It's up to B.B. to sort things out, along with an assist from Sally. I like the fact that this installment adds to the cast of characters in Cape Noir's locale, alongside the usual pulpy goodness of the story. "The Root of Evil" further adds to the cast, introducing an unholy group of behind the scenes men, who if nothing else, have the patience of ages and the resources to eventually get what they want. There is also an underlying, interwoven tale that ends in a second chance. Sally and Blackjack both return, and another force for good is introduced, simply called the Brunette... she seems very capable and professional, and is definitely an ace in the hole, take that as you will. This seems slightly longer, and weaves in some subplots and new characters, and I greatly appreciated the story. I kind of think those shadowy, behind the scenes type of guys might become a thorn in The Undead Avenger's side, or possibly a RPG in his side, lol. "Gorilla Dreams" has various subplots, bringing together familiar faces from B.B.'s past, a horrible vengeance on one of these faces from the old days, and something very bad happening during the normal operating procedures of the mob. This, of course, draws Brother Bones' attention which, really, these types of people should avoid... A new character is introduced, the debonair Temple Alan Knight, who I absolutely love... This rather suave fellow unfortunately runs afoul of B.B., a minx whose charms he can't deny, and a rather ape-ish gangster, who won't take no for an answer... His vacation in Cape Noir is rather chock full of interruptions... lol. That said, the woman who's charms he couldn't deny also looks like a very big player in Brother Bones' future... just saying. "The Ghost Train" is the last story in this collection, tells the tale of a horrible event perpetrated in the name of greed, the two minions for hire involved, and the ghostly vengeance that is inflicted upon them. Set in both Cape Noir, and the outlying wilderness, this is a very effective tale. All in all, I loved these stories, and I will be buying the sequel, and no doubt, enjoying it. I like the characters, writing, and themes. To address some of the criticisms I found on Amazon: A: There are too many typos, which totally impede my reading pleasure. This collection has some typos, which did not take away from my enjoyment of the stories in the least. I've seen worse in some releases by bestselling authors, from big name publishing houses. There are not many, and if your brain can not process the text, I feel very sorry for you. B: The quality of writing in general. I respond by saying, I don't know what version of this collection you are reading. Possibly, this is not the genre for you. I found it to be very entertaining, and a good example of the genre done the right way. C: Brother Bones does not appear early enough in his stories, he's basically a guest star in his own book. This is valid, depending on the reader's outlook. Do you like a good story, or do you just want your favorite character in every frame? In the main, something bad happens, the story is fleshed out, characters are introduced, then Brother Bones arrives to do what he does. He is the spirit of vengeance, after all! Something really bad has to happen before he can swoop into action... I would think that people would like to know the full reasons behind B.B.'s involvement, and let the story and characters grow naturally before he responds to the evil event. Just saying... 5 out of 5 stars