Rat-A-Tat: Short Bursts of Pulp

Ratatat2I remember when I was a wee little nipper – still in primary school – I read an article which said in the future we would all have so much more leisure time. Computerization and advances in communication would enable us to do a week’s work in only three days (or even less) resulting in shorter working weeks – and more time to do the things we like.

So here we are, thirty-plus years later and I am wondering where is the leisure time I was promised? Like so many people these days, I seem to be time poor struggling to get everything done that I want to include in my working week. When it comes to leisurely pass times, like reading, I have to squeeze it in, in between railway stations as I travel to and from work. However, Pro Se Productions has just released a book that is perfectly suited to my lifestyle. Rat-A-Tat: Short Bursts of Pulp, as the name would suggests, is an easy to digest collection of micro-pulp tales.

Each story is under three-thousand words, and despite their length, each of them has a beginning, middle and an end – and in true old-school pulp style, featuring square-jawed resourceful heroes, and despicable villains, from first story to last, they take the reader on a wild hair-raising journey.

One of the many spirited tales in this collection is Golden Wolf and the Pod Men, written by yours truly. The story is a wild swinging sixties, caped-crusader adventure, featuring Golden Wolf, the most intrepid and resourceful super-hero ever! Join Golden Wolf – agent for Crossbow – as he battles the diabolical Dr. Sardon and his clone army.

With twenty-eight stories, and popular new pulp authors such as, Teel James Glenn, Ralph L. Angelo and David White, Rat-A-Tat: Short Bursts of Pulp is a fantastic collection for fans of action, adventure, and intrigue  – or if you are like me, struggling to find the time to read a book from cover to cover.

Rat-A-Tat: Short Bursts of Pulp

Bishop & Hancock's Pulse Fiction

title
G’day folks! It’s been a long time coming but I am proud to announce that Bishop & Hancock’s Pulse Fiction is now available in both paperback and eBook. This collection of wild pulp tales features my story Honor of the Legion, featuring French Foreign Legionnaire Mace Bullard, a man with no past and little chance of surviving the future. Join Bullard as he battles scimitar wielding Berbers, machine-gun toting Nazis, and tangles with the mysterious Sin Queen of Marrakech.

Here’s a brief snippet to whet your appetite.

BullardFrançois Mesmer was considered the Legion strongman. He was a mountain of muscle at six-foot-four tall, and impossibly broad shouldered. As he galloped back to camp at dusk, he looked a sight. Although his horse was a full sized muscular Arabian stallion, it looked like a Shetland pony carrying his great bulk.

He quickly dismounted and approached Sergent Mace Bullard who was leading the patrol, and currently seated around a campfire with four other Legionnaires. Bullard stood as Mesmer approached. The big man removed his kepi brimmed hat and flicked back his blond hair from his sweat soaked brow.

“Sir, eight riders are approaching,” Mesmer blurted, struggling for breath.

“Do you think they are trouble?” Bullard asked.

Mesmer didn’t answer the question directly. “They have a man with them, tied over his horse. I do not know if he is dead or alive … He’s wearing a Legion uniform.”

The hairs on Bullard’s neck stood up. “A Legionnaire, you say?”

“Yes sir.”

“Well, let’s give them a welcome.”

Bullard called his men to attention and outlined his plan.

***

The sun had set as the Berbers rode in. They rode in slowly, warily. Each of them was dressed identically, wearing a black djellaba with a yellow sash. The leader of the small band of cutthroats peered through the dim light at the camp site before him.

He felt uneasy.

The camp looked deserted, but there was something strange about it. The fire was still smoking, having only been recently extinguished. Then there were the horses. Six of them were tied together and standing nearby. If the occupants of the camp had moved on, surely they would have taken their horses.
The leader called his men to a halt with a hand gesture. He dropped down from his mount, and moved cautiously toward the fire. The boot prints around the site were fresh. The desert winds had not had time to obliterate them.

He was about to order his men to be on guard, when the sand before him erupted. Bullard had been hiding in the sand covered by a tarpaulin. It was an old Bedouin trick he had learned.
Caught by surprise, the cutthroats were slow to reach their weapons. Bullard shot the leader with his sidearm, and then sprang forward yelling, “En avant, la Legion!”
His men answered his call and swept down from the dunes, firing as they went. One of the Berbers produced a large curved scimitar and slashed at Bullard. The Legionnaire leaped backward as the blade zinged past at head height. As the marauder swung again, in mid stroke, he cried out in pain, dropping the sword and clutching at his bloody wrist. Mesmer, high on one of the dunes, had a smoking rifle in his hand.

“Merci,” Bullard yelled, acknowledging his compatriot.

The marauder scuttled forward, and retrieved the sword with his other hand. Clearly, he would rather die than surrender. Bullard was happy to oblige. Almost with a tinge of regret, he raised his pistol and pulled the trigger, putting the brigand down for good.

The battle was over in less than a minute. Bullard moved past the bodies of the cutthroats to the packhorse with the Legionnaire draped over it. The man hadn’t moved at all during the entire skirmish, and Bullard surmised the Legionnaire was dead. That in itself was strange. Why were the riders transporting a dead body?

Bullard raised the man’s head and stared at the face.

“I know this man,” he said, as he peered into the lifeless eyes.

Bishop & Hancock’s Pulse Fiction Volume 1 is available from Amazon.

Bishop & Hancock's Pulse Fiction

Overcoming: The Nature of Heroes

Eagle 200Hands up if you have heard of ‘The Eagle’. Not many people have. Counter espionage agent, Jeff Shannon – known as ‘The Eagle’ was a pulp character from the late 1930’s / early 1940’s. He didn’t really take off – only appearing in a handful of stories – but recently he has been revived for The New Adventures of the Eagle, a title from Pro Se and Altus Press’ Pulp Obscura line.

Intrigued, I read the book, which contains six new Eagle adventures. It was a fine collection of stories, but one really stood out for me, “The Coming Storm”, written by Teel James Glenn.

Anyway, Teel and I got a talkin’ – and I ended up asking him if he would like to do a guest post on P2K to talk about his latest project The First Synn: The Bloodstone Confidential. But he decided to take a different approach. You can read it below. Take it away, Teel…

* * *

When David Foster, maestro of P2K, extended the invitation for me to write a guest blog, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say to a new group of readers. At my height, I don’t really have to get on a soapbox to make a point, but I thought it a good opportunity for a virtual one.

Rather than talk specifically about the hero, Gideon Synn, in my new series from Pro Se, the first of which is The First Synn: The Bloodstone Confidential, I thought I would talk about the concept of what it is to be a hero.

The concept of heroes has been greatly distorted in our present world; in today’s society thugs who can run fast with a ball are prized above educators, artists, scientists or healers. Celebrity and infamy have supplanted famous and deserving of admiration for far too long.
I felt compelled to write about what it is to really be a hero in a literary sense.

True, sports stars have always been admired as achievers of the near impossible – at least to most – but in past societies that status was linked to good citizenship, ethics and a sense that their skills – however hard they worked to hone them – were somehow a gift of a higher power to be shared, not a skill to be exploited at the cost of others.

Along with this distortion of what it is to be a hero has come a rise in the of the status of the bad guys – the anti-hero and villain – to the status of hero.

True, some of that came from a series we all love, The James Bond books and films. In them, of course, Bond is the knight without armor, fighting for the right by using the methods of the bad guys. He has a license to kill, to womanize and to drink to excess – yet he is clearly the good guy. He does these things because he is a flawed and many faceted human being but there is absolutely no mistaking that he is working for the good. Rosa Klebb, Hugo Drax, Auric Goldfinger, Blofeld and Scaramanga are the baddies for sure. No attempt to excuse or sympathize with them happens – to understand them, yes, but not to make the reader agree with them. They are villains, plain and simple.

There is a school of thought that says villains are more interesting than heroes; that Dracula is more fascinating than Van Helsing, Butch Cavendish more intriguing than The Lone Ranger or the Joker more delightful for the audience to spend time with than Batman.

I say no; resoundingly NO!

I say that if a reader finds a man who kills, maims and then laughs about it more satisfying than one who tries to prevent said mayhem they are flawed beyond recovery or the writer has failed in his/her job in presenting the charters in context.

No villain should remain unexplained, it is true, but that does not excuse their villainy, just humanize the monster to make him more understandable and his connection to the hero more tangible. All drama is, ultimately some sort of morality play, after all.

With this raise in the villains’ status has come corresponding devaluation of the hero, claiming them to be grey and boring.

What has allowed this mistaken image of heroes as bland, uninteresting cardboard cut outs, this complete reversal of all that holds society together?

Was it the Hayes Code that demanded such flawless heroes that they could not be human and strive to overcome human failings? The church groups who refused to acknowledge their own base doctrines, which talk about the very need for flawed humans to try for the godhead as a daily goal? Did they ignore the fact that few of the holy writings of any religion talk of unblemished existence as a norm – it is always a daily goal to be worked for, our human nature to be overcome?

Perhaps all three reasons – and others – connected to create this general decline in personal responsibility and self-awareness.

When fire happens and a building is engulfed, who is truly more interesting to spend time with; the giggling psycho who lit the fire and watches a ten year old burn to death or a normal healthy and fearful person who, despite the danger and possibility of their own destruction runs toward the fire?

Think hard – your answer could get you committed.

But seriously folks: a protagonist might delight in a child’s death – and if it were a horror story be the person we follow through the story to its conclusion, but the hero is always the person running to try and save the child.

And here in lies some of the problem; people mistake hero for protagonist and vice versa far too often.

Hannibal Lecture was a sick SOB who ate people and delighted in other’s suffering; he wasn’t the ‘hero’ of Silence of the Lambs – or even Hannibal the sequel; he was the protagonist.

In the first book (I have problems with the sequel even having been written/filmed but that’s just me), Clarice is the heroic figure but not an unflawed or bland character. She has a complex of failings and weaknesses that she strives to overcome and that is what makes her a hero.

She overcomes.

Websters defines hero as: A: a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability. B: An illustrious warrior. C: a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities. D: the Principle male character in a literary or dramatic work.

A hero does not sweep in and, with no problems or questions about what he/she does, solve all that must be solved – if he did it would be the blank and flat line boring that far too many people think a hero is. No, conflict is the essence of all drama and so it must be with a hero as well. Inner conflict is as important-perhaps more so than storming the castle is the reason why it is stormed!

A hero must have something at stake and something to overcome or it is not drama.

People who favor the ‘anti-hero’ concept that was popularized with such furor in the 1960’s cinema because film critics (don’t get me started on that jaded group) had decided that role models were passé – forget that it was not a new concept and is based on a faulty assumption.

Hercules of classical myth (definition A) is a hero because he overcomes his own personal faults. He is really an anti-hero by that very modern definition. He is a drunk, he kills his family in a fit of madness and spends a guilt-ridden life trying to make up for that. Not a bland fellow at all. But he tries to do good, and that is the thing that makes him a hero (definition C). In fact, in a ‘Hollywood’ happy ending, his good works get him elevated to demi-god hood!

The faulty assumption is that heroes just do what they do and are not affected; but in fact they have to take what Joseph Campbell called ‘the Hero’s Journey’ – moving from point A to their end point in a story and growing or evolving in someway or, by definition they are not heroes. Heroes doubt, have their moment of weakness, their ‘human’ moment just as villains, to be fully human, must have theirs. (Hitler was good to his dogs, the original Blackbeard was Joan of Arc’s sidekick and protector and Dracula was a patriot for his homeland before he became a human mosquito).

As a writer I feel obligated to connect with those human portions of both sides of the moral wall or I feel I’m cheating my readers and not doing my job of presenting a ‘complete’ world for them to journey to. Yet for me, I really don’t want to spend more time with unpleasant people than I have to. My rule of thumb is, would I want to spend a ten-minute elevator ride with any given character, say Blofeld, Lecter or Dracula? No. Then why spend more time with them on the page than I have to?

This brings us to definition D.

I confess, my criteria are narrow by some definitions but it’s my party, I’ll smile if I want to … or something like that.

At the same time, nobody, including me likes a stuffed shirt’ and I don’t want my heroes to be that way either. Thus, while I may want them to be a hero, I need them to be flawed so I, a flawed human, can connect with them. Like Bond, who is about as flawed as they come, a hero does not have to be a church deacon, but, I feel, he has to be trying to be, to some extent.

I still want them to be better than me; more able to withstand temptation, more able to endure pain etc. because else, why am I reading about them? But just enough so that I can believe and connect with them.

And I want my villains to be less than me, expressing the darkness I fear either externally or in some dark corner of my own soul that I want to conquer.

And this may be where I differ from much of the world at large; I do not delight in seeing people worse off than me as a way to make myself feel superior. (No, I do not watch Japanese game shows to see people get pasted!)

And that may be why those aforementioned critics liked so-called anti-heroes. Maybe in their mind, following the adventures of rapists, killers and perverts that they made their ‘heroes’ has made them feel better about being flawed.

Me, I’d rather look up to the heavens than down in the mud even though I never forget that even the demi-gods have to stand in that mud.

How about you?

About the Author

BloodstoneTeel James Glenn has written on theater, stunts and swashbuckling related subject matter for national magazines like: Aces, Black Belt, Echoes, and Fantastic Worlds of E.R.B. and fiction for MAD, Weird Tales, Peculiar Stories, Pro Se Presents, Fantasy Tales, Afterburns, Another Realm Blazing Adventures!, Tales of Old and other magazines.

He has 30 books in print including The First Synn: The Bloodstone Confidential and a story in The New Adventures of the Eagle, both from Pro Se Productions.

He received the Pulp Ark Award for best author in 2012.
You can keep up on his adventures at theurbanswashbuckler.com.

Overcoming: The Nature of Heroes

From Pro Se With Love

ProSe 500

It’s no secret I have written a few adrenaline-fuelled stories for Pro Se Productions, which will be unleashed on the un-suspecting world in the coming months, stretching into next year. Some of the stories I can’t talk about yet – loose lips sink ships – but among them, for an exciting new project called Pulse Fiction, (brainchild of Paul Bishop and Tommy Hancock) is a rattling adventure story, “Honor of the Legion”. Believe me, if you read and enjoyed Fight Card: Rumble in the Jungle (and why wouldn’t you), this story is gonna blow your socks off!

Anyway, as an introduction and a welcome to Pro Se, the following piece crossed my desk from writer I.A. Watson. As I read it, I was grinning from ear to ear and had to share it. Here it is, a day in the life of a writer at Pro Se Productions. Thanks Ian.

So I walk into the offices of Pro Se Productions, toss my hat across the room onto the hatstand, and smile raffishly at the bespectacled-but-beautiful brunette behind the secretary’s desk.

“Ian,” she gasps, flushing slightly. “I didn’t know you were back from Marrakech.”

“Just this morning, doll,” I tell her. I nod my head towards the inner door. “How’s the Old Man? Any idea what he called me in for this time?”

“Sorry, Ian. You know how it works. I can’t give you anything.” Then she blushes properly.

I perch on the edge of her desk, pushing aside proof copies of Hugh Monn P.I.: Catch a Rising Star, leaning forward to give her my best slantways grin. “C’mon, toots. I’ve been away. What’d I miss?”

“The usual,” she relents. “Black Pulp came out. Did pretty well. The Old Man stopped drinking for a whole afternoon. Nancy Hansen’s recovering nicely after the damage she sustained researching The Hunters of Greenwood. She’ll be back on solid foods any day now, and the book was worth it. A new issue of Pro Se Presents, a volume of Pulptress stories… Barry Reece turned in Lazarus Gray: Eidolon, which turned out pretty good even though it was all written on the back of blood-stained wanted posters. Nothing unusual though.”

There’s a rumbling from the inner office. “Is that Watson?” comes the rough deep tones of Pro Se Production’s EIC. “Send him in. If he tries to run, staple him to a desk.”

“H will see you now,” the brunette tells me. “Good luck, Ian.”

I shoot her a wink and saunter past the big framed cover-shots of Jim Anthony, Super-Detective, Brother Bones, and Torahg the Warrior, through the frosted-glazed door with the “Abandon All Hope” sign thumbtacked to the threshold, into the dark cavern beyond.

It all comes back to me: the sour whiskey smell, the stacks of manuscripts daggered to the table, the wall-trophies that I strongly suspected were body parts of writers who’d missed deadlines. I’d been here before. I’d survived.

And there, positioned so the light slatted across his face and shadowed his eyes, the man himself: Tommy Hancock, watching me, assessing, plotting.

“Welcome back, English,” he tells me. “How’d it go?”

“It’s taken care of.”

“The whole thing?”

I toss a thick manuscript down in front of him. “65,128 words, 35 essays on weird stuff and writing. I call it Where Stories Dwell. Satisfied?”

He leans forward to thumb through the document. The shadows move with him, still keeping his face covered. “Maybe. I’ll let you know.”

“What next?”

I know there’ll be an assignment – something tough and obscure, probably dangerous and painful. The Old Man had handed me Richard Knight, the flyboy detective, to put together “The Hostage Academy” for The New Adventures of Richard Knight volume 1, “The Last Flight of Captain Tennyson” for volume 2, and “The Plague God Laughs” for some other top-secret project I wasn’t even cleared to know about. He’d called me for the title story of The New Adventures of Armless O’Neil: Blood-Price of the Missionary’s Gold, which had taken me to the heart of darkness in the Belgian Congo. I’d had to delve into dark supernatural doings about “The Curse of Urania” for the weird mystic investigator Semi-Dual. Last time it had been a flirtation with superhero girlfriends in “He Died”, a short story for another of Pro Se’s mysterious projects.

Whatever H wanted, it wouldn’t be run of the mill. And it would hurt.

Hancock pushes a grainy black and white photo across to me. “Know him?”

I look at the image. Shock-haired guy, devil-beard, spectacles, stab-you-if-you-say-the-wrong-thing glint in his eye. “That’s David Foster,” I reply. “Except he calls himself James Hopwood when he’s taking care of business. There’s a list of the stuff he’s done on his blog site Permission to Kill. I link to it off my author website.”

“Right. Well he wants some Pro Se stuff on that blog. Not just adverts. Proper articles. Features.”

“He wants something from me?”

“I want something from you, Watson. Something interesting. Something novel. And I want product placement. Make sure you work in Pro Se titles – like Jason Kahn’s Badge of Lies, or Senorita Scorpion, or The Family Grace, all available from http://prose-press.com/pro-se-store/, or through online retailers, and from those bookstores where I’ve got compromising pictures of the operators. Got it?”

I fold the photo into my pocket. “Any rules?” I check. “Any limits?”

“Are there ever?” H snarls at me. “Get it done.”

A slow smile creeps across my face. “Whatever it takes, boss.”

I.A. Watson is a freelance writer operating out of Yorkshire, England. He’s authored four award-shortlisted novels and a whole load of short stories, all described at his website http://www.chillwater.org.uk/writing/iawatsonhome.htm. He’s not claiming that Tommy Hancock is really like he’s depicted in the piece here; after all, he knows where the bodies are buried.

Watson

From Pro Se With Love

Black Pulp

Here’s a press-release from the good folks at Pro Se, regarding their latest release, Black Pulp. I guess what makes this interesting is that the tales are in the style of the Golden Age of Pulp, rather than a pastiche of ’60s and ’70s Blaxploitation Pulp.

* * * *

Pro Se Productions, a Publisher known for balancing tales harkening back to classic pulp fiction with stories pushing the boundaries of modern genre fiction, continues its publishing of books that do both. Pro Se proudly announces the debut of BLACK PULP, a collection featuring the works of various authors, including bestsellers Walter Mosley and Joe R. Lansdale.

BLACK PULP is an anthology of original stories featuring black characters in leading roles in stories running the genre gamut. Pulp fiction of the early 20th century rarely — from Doc Savage, Black Mask to the Shadow — if ever, focused on characters of color. The handful of black characters in these stories were typically portrayed stereotypically. BLACK PULP brings some of today’s best authors together with up and coming writers to craft stories of adventure, mystery, and more — all with black characters in the forefront.

Co-editor of BLACK PULP, crime novelist Gary Phillips observed, “While revisionism is not history, as the films Django Unchained and 42 attest, nonetheless historical matters find their way into popular fiction. This is certainly the case with New Pulp as it handles such issues as race with a modern take, even though stories can be set in a retro context.”

Black Pulp offers exciting tales of derring-do from larger-than-life heroes and heroines; aviators in sky battles, lords of the jungle, pirates battling slavers and the walking dead, gadget-wielding soldiers-of-fortune saving the world to mystics fighting for justice in other worlds.

“The title is indeed BLACK PULP,” Pro Se Productions publisher and Black Pulp co-editor Tommy Hancock, “but these stories appeal to all. All of the basic needs for a story to touch a reader are there, including emotion, action, relevance, and more. To see all of that in a Pulp story funneled through characters that got the short shrift in terms of appropriate treatment in classic Pulp is definitely something worth sharing.”

BLACK PULP also features a new essay on the nature of Pulp, both classic and modern, by award winning bestselling author Walter Mosley.

The other writers contributing original works to the anthology are: two-time Shamus award winner Gar Anthony Haywood, two time Pulitzer finalist Kimberly Richardson, Dixon Medal winner Christopher Chambers, critically acclaimed novelist Mel Odom, hip-hop chronicler Michael Gonzales, and award winning leading New Pulp writers Ron Fortier, D. Alan Lewis, Derrick Ferguson, Charles Saunders, Tommy Hancock, and Chester Himes award winner Phillips. This collection also features a classic story by Joe R. Lansdale, winner of the Edgar Allan Poe award, and multiple Bram Stoker awards.

BLACK PULP is available now from Amazon and via Pro Se’s own store at Createspace. Coming soon in digital format to Kindle, Nook, and more!

With a pulse pounding original cover by artist Adam Shaw and stunning cover design by Sean Ali, BLACK PULP delivers hair raising action and two fisted adventure out of both barrels!

Black Pulp

Tobruk Target


Author: W.H. Williams
Publisher: Horwitz
Published:1959
Pictured: 1963 Paperback edition
Book No: 3

Here’s another old Australian war story, published by Horwitz. I don’t have time to read this at the moment, but I thought I would share a little bit about the book.

From the back:

The tiny desert patrol clawed across the burning desert, every man in the unit raw, tough, concentrated on the job.

Their target was Tobruk, with orders to snatch crack German Colonel Klaus Speidel from under the garrison commander’s eyes… but before that came the long battle in the scorching sands, a hard, blood soaked struggle for the TOBRUK TARGET.

About the author:

W.H. Williams is no distant armchair narrator of the Middle East campaign. He went to Tobruk in 1940 with the 7th Australian Division as a private, later reaching the rank of captain. During his 5.5 years service he gained a deep understanding of the men who fought, died, and won, and before leaving the Middle East, was seconded to the Army Military history section to compile and record details of the Libyan wartime scene.

Tobruk Target

Fight Card: Felony Fists

Author: Paul Bishop
Published: November 2011

I am too young to remember the halcyon days of pulp fiction, but as a child growing up in the 1970s, there was always a lot of brutal entertainment on television. We would regularly watch ‘TV Ringside’ with Ron Casey, and on Sunday afternoon was ‘World Championship Wrestling’. I must admit, as a kid, it was a lot easier watching the antics of the wrestlers than understanding the science of boxing. I used to marvel at the athleticism of Mario Milano, Killer Karl Kox and (my personal favourite) Bruiser Brody. After each show, my brother and I would go out into the back yard and get on the trampoline and re-enact the moves we had seen. You see, the trampoline was our ring. The trampoline was great for ‘knee-stomps’ because you’d bounce back up again.

I have told this story before, but what the heck, we are friends here right? On occasions the shenanigans on the trampoline could be a little dangerous — this was back in the mid ’70s mind you, and trampolines weren’t what they are now. There was no padding or netting to protect you or stop you from falling off. One afternoon, my brother jumped off the trampoline early and I must have been too close to the edge. Without my brother to counterbalance me, my weight tipped the trampoline and I was sent flying. What I have neglected to tell you is that our trampoline was situated next to a barb-wire fence. So I flew through the air, back first, and landed on this fence where I was hung up. Of course my brother ran off and got our father who lifted me up and off the barbs. No real damage done. Oh, the halcyon days of youth . . . but back on to the topic at hand, which is biffo.

However, by the 1980s Wrestling was all but a forgotten memory on Australian TV, and boxing took over. In Lester Ellis and Jeff Fenech we had two bona-fide boxing champions. Their fights were shown on prime time, practically stopping the nation. Fennech’s “I love youse all” became a national catchphrase.

Below are a few youtube clips from Fenech’s title fight with Samart Payakaroon – who, after a popular comedy record hit the streets, was re-dubbed by Aussie yobs, as ‘Smart Arse Payakaroon’ (myself included, but hey, I was just a kid). These clips were uploaded by noteatpig2getha

But as always, I am talking about myself, rather than the topic of the post. So let’s look at Felony Fists. The story is a bout (see what I did there?) an L.A. cop named Patrick ‘Felony’ Flynn, who also happens to be an amateur boxer. When we meet him, he is fighting Lester ‘Killer’ Carter. Carter happens to be trying to impress big time gangster Mickey Cohen who is watching the fight. If Carter can prove he has got the goods, Cohen will put him on as one of his boys. But of course, Flynn has other ideas.

Also watching the fight with Cohen, is another fighter; a wrecking machine who is moving up through the ranks fast, named Solomon King. King is one of Cohen’s stable, and if King were able to win a Championship belt, it would allow Cohen to further extend his illegal activities into the world of boxing. So, many people don’t want King to get a title shot, including the Chief of Police who is keen on shutting Cohen down.

But as I alluded to earlier, King is a wrecking machine – one hell of a tough fighter. So that begs the question, who can stand against King, and in the process dent Cohen’s plans. Well, I shouldn’t have to ask.

In some ways Felony Fists is predictable – you know exactly where the story is heading – but that is half the fun. It’s not the destination that counts, but the journey, and traveling along with Paul’s characters was an absolute joy. While reading the book, I must have looked like a right proper berk, with a cheesy grin from ear to ear. The tag at the end of Chapter 4, when Police Chief Parker assigns Flynn to his next case had me laughing out loud.

The ongoing Fight Card series is going to feature other popular authors presenting their slant on old time Boxing fiction, and as I alluded to earlier, it is not a form of literature I am well versed in, but if the series maintains the standard set by Felony Fists, then consider me a convert. I will be looking forward to each and every installment.

Now you’re probably thinking that this doesn’t sound too ‘spy’! And you’re absolutely right. It’s a pulp thriller about boxing, but it also happens to be written by fellow C.O.B.R.A.S. (Coalition Of Bloggers wRiting About Spies) agent Paul Bishop, and rest assured he is not going to allow the story to pass without at least a nod to one of his favourite Spy TV shows of the ’60s… can you spot it?

In May:

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.

Fight Card: Felony Fists