Action: Pulse Pounding Tales – Vol 1

Editor: Matt Hilton
Authors: Stephen Leather, Zoe Sharp, Adrian Magson, Col Bury, I.S. Paton, James Oliver Hilton, Joe McCoubrey, Matt Hayden, David Barber, Jochem Vandersteen, Ian Graham, James Hopwood, Iain Purdie, Keith Gingell, Terrence P. McCauley, Asher Wismer, Graham Smith, Andrew Scorah, Paul D. Brazill, Paul Grzegorzek, Mark Dark, Robin Jarossi, Richard Godwin, Laird Long, K.A. Laity…and a few more to come
Publisher: Sempre Vigil Press
Published: May 2012

Growing up in rural Australia, the local bookshop (and I use the word loosely, as it was the newsagent) didn’t have much in the way of Men’s Adventure fiction. It had some of the Dirty Harry series – which was a grubby little series written by Dane Hartman. I still have about five of them. I seem to have lost a few along the way which I lent to people (Clive, if you are reading this, I will hunt you down! You cannot hide. I will find you!) And of course, there were the Conan books – which I also read quite a few. But I don’t recall Nick Carter, Mack Bolan or Remo Williams being on the shelves.

I came to these quite late in life, a by-product of my penchant for stalking second-hand book shops looking for old spy thrillers. But I found I loved them. They were simple, over-the-top, fast paced slabs of entertainment, that could be read quickly.

Earlier in the year, I wrote a review for Matt Hilton’s Cut and Run, which I enjoyed (so far I have enjoyed all of Hilton’s books that I have read – I still have Dominion waiting to be tackled on my Kindle for PC). While reading Cut and Run, I couldn’t help but notice, that in some ways, Hilton’s Joe Hunter adventures were an updated version of the old Men’s Adventure paperbacks – albeit with denser plots, and the punchy writing style adapted for the audiences of today.

It should come as no surprise then, that Hilton has launched a new project called Action: Pulse Pounding Tales. The book is an anthology of stories that purposefully attempt to capture the style of Men’s Adventure stories of the past.

Here’s Hilton’s project spiel:

Does anyone have any familiarity with the 1970s ‘action books’ typified by Don Pendleton’s Mack Bolan: The Executioner, or Warren Murphy and Richard Saphir’s Remo Williams: The Destroyer? Do you remember the UK homegrown westerns by the Piccadilly Cowboys, exemplified by George G. Gillman’s Edge, Adam Steele, or The Undertaker? Have you any memory of barbarian swordsmen like Lin Carter’s Thongor, or Karl Edward Wagner’s Kane? Or even the Kung Fu boom, where we had books like Marshall Macao’s K’Ing Kung Fu: Son of the Flying Tiger?

Those were the days when heroes were heroes and the action was furious and full-blooded. Often as not, the hero was quite the opposite: an anti-hero. But he needed to be, to bring the kind of violent justice to villains worse than him. Political correctness took a back seat, even as the bullets and the karate chops were flying. Basically it was good old harmless fun. It was a case of disengaging your moral compass and getting down with the hero as they took on all comers, and they did it with balletic grace and uncompromising violence. Gratuitous? Yes. Realistic? No. Great fun? You betcha!!!

So here’s what I am planning to do:

I want to bring back the good old days… but with a contemporary twist.

That spiel was six weeks ago, and nearly all the submissions for the project are in, and the book is taking shape.

Writing under the pen name James Hopwood, I am proud to say a story I submitted, called Cutter’s Law made the – pardon the pun – cut. My story will be appearing alongside contributions by established authors such as Stephen Leather, Zoe Sharp, Adrian Magson, Paul D. Brazill, and Hilton himself. There is also a swag of new talent on display, names that may not be household names, but guys who know how to put down a fast and furious tale of adventure.

For Cutter’s Law I tried to come up with a story that captured the style (and possibly the mythology) of the Executioner series. Here’s a brief synopsis.

Sergeant Nathan Cutter of the Australian Army is coming to the end of his tour as a ‘Peace Keeper’ in war torn Iraq. All he wants, is to get home to Sydney and his loving wife and daughter.

On the day of his flight back to Australia, his wife and daughter are killed in a car crash. They are the innocent victims of an underworld gang war, that erupted on the city streets.

When Cutter finds out who is responsible, and the authorities prove impotent, he decides to take the law into his own hands, acting as Judge, Jury and Executioner!

Action: Pulse Pounding Tales will be out in early May 2012 (in about a week or two), so if fast paced, heart-pounding, high-octane adventure is your thing, then keep and eye out for it – you won’t be disappointed!

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Action: Pulse Pounding Tales – Vol 1

Fightcard: Hard Road

Author: Kevin Michaels
writing as Jack Tunney
Published: April 2012

Hard Road is the fifth book in the Fight Card series – and Kevin Michaels is the man behind the Jack Tunney pseudonym for this adventure.

The hero is a fighter named Roberto Varga, and he’s a pretty decent bloke, he just hasn’t had the breaks in life. His boxing career, while nothing to be ashamed of, is not going anywhere fast. As a consequence, his girlfriend, Ginny, keeps nagging him to take a job with her Uncle Manny in a butcher shop.

But Varga still has faith in his capabilities as a fighter, and dreams of the chance to show the world – maybe against a fighter the caliber of Sugar Ray Robinson. However, as the story starts he is battling Big Ray Krupa. Varga wins easily in the end, but doesn’t put Krupa away when he has the chance, which people suggest is stopping him from being noticed. His compassion, is keeping him a middle of the pack fighter.

But then he gets a break. A boxer scheduled to fight top contender, Mickey Boyle, breaks his hand only two weeks out from the scheduled bout. Varga is chosen to be his replacement for the fight. The rub is, Varga and Boyle have a history. Both of them lived in the same orphanage as children, St. Vincent’s Asylum for Boys – where they were taught the noble art by the fighting priest, Father Tim.

But as men, they went their separate ways – choosing different paths in the fight game. They fought a bout seven years previously, with Boyle winning by split decision, but Varga always suspected that Boyle had loaded his gloves on the night of the fight.

This fight is Varga’s chance to prove himself, and for a little payback too. The end fight is dynamite.

Here’s the spiel:

Professional boxers Roberto Varga and Michael Boyle were once pals growing up at St. Vincent’s Asylum for Boys in Chicago. Under the guidance of Father Tim, the fighting priest, they learned values, respect, responsibility, and how to fight fair.

But those lessons didn’t stick with Boyle. Two years after leaving St. Vincent’s, Boyle and Varga face-off in the ring with Boyle pounding out a bloody, lopsided decision, Varga swore wasn’t on the up and up.

In the seven years since, their careers have taken different paths. Guided by unscrupulous manager Tommy Domino, Boyle is positioned for a title shot against Sugar Ray Robinson. Varga, however, has struggled in a career still haunted by the bloody loss to Boyle.

When the boxer scheduled to fight Boyle in Atlantic City breaks his hand two weeks before the fight, Domino scrambles for a replacement. He finds Varga toiling in a Philadelphia gym and offers him the rematch Varga has been waiting years to get. For Varga, it’s a chance to finally even the score, a chance to get the title shot he’s always dreamed about. But Boyle is not the only formidable foe aligned against Varga.

Redemption comes at a bloody price – a price perhaps too high for Varga to pay …

The first four books in the popular Fightcard series

If you have been reading the Fight Card series (and I like to think you are), then you will have noticed that the first four books are set in 1954. I haven’t asked why this is, but I do have a theory – not a very good one, but it’s worth a shot. Here it is.

On March 19, 1954, Joey Giardello knocked out Willie Tory at Madison Square Garden, in what was the first televised boxing prize fight to be shown in color.

Boxing had long been popular, but imagine watching boxing on your television screen, in your own home – in colour. It was a whole new world! Boxing came alive.

Hard Road is set three years later, in 1957. A lot had happened in those three years – chief among them was ‘Rock ‘n Roll’. Boxing now had colour and a beat, and author Kevin Michaels serves up a hard punching tale, set to a hip swiveling soundtrack.

Next up for the Fightcard series:

May sees the launch of King of the Outback, the sixth book in the popular Fightcard series – and my literary debut (writing as Jack Tunney).

Set in Outback Australia, in Birdsville, one of the most remote towns on the planet, two rival boxing tents set up shop in competition with each other. In the sweltering heat, tensions simmer, tempers flare, and a tent burns.

For an up-to-date direct connection with the Fightcard series check out the home page, or for you youngsters, you can follow the Facebook Fan Page.

Fightcard: Hard Road

Nick Carter: Death Orbit

Author: David Hagberg
Publisher: Charter Books
Published: 1986
Book No: 217

Only a certain type of person would pick up a novel called Nick Carter: Death Orbit, and I happen to be one of those people. And if you’re like me, you would expect certain things from that novel – chiefly, no matter how contrived, Nick Carter, Agent N3, Killmaster for AXE, gets to go into space and fight dirty Commie saboteurs. This he does. This novel ticks all the boxes it should – and tells its tale in a fast-paced, energetic fashion. It moves so fast, that the contrivances wash over the reader, to the point that you could actually believe Carter could become an astronaut in a week. It’s only when you put the novel down, that you realise that it is a crock.

The story starts with a routine shuttle mission, which is trying to launch a communications satellite. Two of the crew, Major Tom Young and Major John Richardson suit up to leave the shuttle, to assist with the deployment.

During the deployment, Richardson is shot, and the mission is aborted. Upon return, Tom Young is the prime suspect – simply because, as he was the only person outside of the shuttle with Richardson, he is the only man who could have done it. He is the only possible suspect. The problem is, Young has an impeccable record. The powers that be, don’t believe he could have done it. It didn’t make sense. So AXE is called in to solve the mystery, and Nick Carter is chosen as the man for the job.

He is sent to the NASA Space Center on Merritt Island to investigate, and is immediately introduced to the Security Chief, E.J. Norcross and his assistant, the beautiful Lin Doi Chan. Norcross explains that oxygen supplies on the shuttle are monitored, so nobody else but Young could have murdered Richardson – but still he has his doubts.

As often happens in Carter novels, he is invited by Lin, to her beach side home that evening for dinner – and other horizontal refreshment. Nick is such a man! Later, during the night, Carter awakens to find Lin no longer at his side. Fearing something is wrong, he gets up and steps out onto the porch as the building explodes. He is thrown clear.

It is revealed that Lin is actually a Commie agent, working in concert with anothr Commie, Anatoli Marakazov. Before Carter can round them up, they flee to the Soviet Union. Suspecting that they may hold the secrets to what happened in orbit, Carter follows them to Moscow.

As I alluded to at the start, the story turns full circle, when Carter returns to the United States, to participate in the next shuttle mission, which will replicate the last – with the same crew, with Carter taking over from Richardson.

Nick Carter novels are mindless entertainment, and do not apologize for it. Nor should they. A quick glance at the cover should tell you what type of tale you’re in for. This cover has three elements – a ‘Space Shuttle’, ‘Nick Carter shooting’ and a ‘woman with large breasts’. All three of those elements are in the story. There’s your truth in advertising. Death Orbit delivered everything it promised – no more or less.

Nick Carter: Death Orbit