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Black Pulp Paperback – April 17, 2013
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This month's Book With Buzz: "The Silent Corner" by Dean Koontz
A dazzling new series, a pure adrenaline rush, debuts with Jane Hawk, a remarkable heroine certain to become an icon of suspense. See more
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Top Customer Reviews
The volume begins with a well-done East Texas noir called "Six Finger Jack." It is the graphic, first person account of a 60's bounty hunter and the murder-for-hire contract that takes a twisted turn or two.
"Decimator Smith and the Fangs of the Fire Serpent" chronicles a 1930's L.A. boxer who moonlights as a private eye (in order to solve his sister’s murder).
Also set in the '30s, "Mtimu" explores what a black Tarzan and Jane might be like. Pilot Enid Brown, called “the Black Amelia Earhart,” crashes while attempting the first non-stop flight across Africa. She is saved by the strapping Mtimu, but the pair soon find themselves the prey of the great white hunter Clive Bailey.
Derrick Ferguson's "Dillon and the Alchemist's Morning Coffee" feels like a cross between "The Expendables" and a 1940's comic strip adventure. The title character "Dillon" is a covert op who teams-up with the beautiful Captain Edna Hartless on a mission to save a secret invention and "The Sun Palace" of a young African prince.
In D. Alan Lewis’s "Black Wolfe's Debt," a super hero-turned detective is hired by an aging former super heroine to solve what seems like an open-and-shut case. Of course, it isn't.
Christopher Chambers's hero "Rocket Crockett" is a Top Gun-type Korean War pilot who (when not dogfighting enemy MiGs) fights to save the coveted "jade dragon."
"Drums of the Ogbanje" features a former 19th century slave named Ngola who battles a ruthless Portuguese slave trader--both of whom are on a quest for treasure in a lost African city that is guarded by supernatural monsters.
Kimberley Richardson's "Agnes Viridian" is a refreshing female occultist-private eye in 1920's Memphis, TN who uses her superpowers to help an Egyptian deity recover a stolen heirloom.
"Jaguar and the Jungleland Boogie" highlights hip-hop crime-fighters "Jaguar" (a Gulf War vet-turned club owner) and Shep as they scour 1980's Harlem for a missing singer, but encounter the sinister plot of a supersonic trumpet-toting villain called "Jazzmatazz." While certainly vividly-told, it seems to be a token to those seeking a more modern tale mixed in with the predominantly older ones.
And rounding things out, Shamus Award-winner Gar Anthony Haywood offers a surprisingly pedestrian poker heist tale that is made somewhat colorful by characters with names like Jimmy, Eddie, Izzy, and Frank. And Tommy Hancock's take on John Henry has the 19th century folk hero in an epic afterlife battle with Talori warriors that has a John Carter flavor.
But out of all the stories, "The Lawman" is perhaps the most fascinating and potentially cinematic. The "Western" (though mostly centered around the Arkansas-Texas border region) details the 19th century exploits of the first African American U.S. deputy marshal, Bass Reeves. But unlike typical Wild West heroes, Reeves often uses his wits first and weapons last to rid the frontier of a variety of varmints. Interestingly enough, author Ron Fortier reveals that Reeves was a real person and that the story dramatizes portions of his life.
Overall, BLACK PULP is a very entertaining and enlightening literary experiment that successfully injects the African American perspective into classic-styled pulp fiction. But, the writers still keep the characters engaging and their adventures fresh and exciting, so as to appeal to a wide audience that is in search of creative writing from a different perspective.
If you went into this expecting a dozen Shaft knock-offs expect to be disappointed, as this book is populated by pirates, cowboys, occult detectives, a hip hip dynamic duo, space adventurers, aviators, soldiers of fortune, jungle lords and criminal masterminds.
This anthology is not just equal opportunity pulp but rather it is a collection of great pulp stories that have black characters. From the introduction by Walter Mosley to the last story The Hammer of Norgil each piece is really good. I found that Ron Fortier's The Lawman was especially moving considering that the main character Bass Reeves was a real Texas lawman who has been unsung by history just for the colour of his skin.
The characters in this anthology deserve to be just as much a part of the public consciousness as Indiana Jones, Luke Skywalker, Wyatt Earp and Tarzan.
This a collection of great new characters I'd love to see more of and great pulp stories that I will no doubt reread again.