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The Crimson Mask Volume One (Volume 1) Paperback – October 26, 2013
Garth Brooks: The Anthology Part 1 | Limited Edition
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This volume consists of four short stories of the Crimson mask's adventures told by four modern authors. They are:
The Crimson Mask Takes Over by Terrence McCauley. This story involves the Mask attempting to find and stop the distribution of a deadly new drug on New York city streets. This story was my favorite of the bunch. The author seems to have a good handle on the 1930's so the story has a very pulpy feel about it. The story is fast paced with a slam bang ending. Just what I'm looking for in a pulp short story.
The Mystery Man by Gary Lovisi. The Crimson Mask is tasked to find an apparent invisible thief who is robbing New York banks. This story also had a great 30's feel to it. It was slower paced than "The Crimson Mask Takes Over" as the author devoted more time to the Mask's sidekicks and his private life but that did not take away from a well told story. It had a more detecting by the mask and less action but was still quite interesting and moved well enough to keep my interest. A very good effort.
The Blood of the Mob by William Russette. This story had a lot going for it. It had a good plot about an outside mercenary group participating in a mob war that I liked. It was also fast paced with lots of action. The author wrote great action scenes that moved along wonderfully and the detective aspect of the stories was also good. The problem I had with this story was the author's style seemed a too modern. It didn't have enough 30's feel to it, in my opinion. This is illustrated most in his use of ex-army Rangers in the story. I'm afraid someone needed to do a little more research here. The first official US Ranger unit was formed in 1942 during WWII and first saw action on the ill fated Dieppe raid. The 75th Ranger regiment the author refers to did not exist during prohibition. In fact there were no Ranger units in the army before, during or after WWI. There were some unofficial units in the Civil War that referred to themselves as Rangers but they were not highly trained specialists. I'm afraid this rather jarring note took away from the story for me. So a good enough story but the details took away from the 30's atmosphere.
Carnival of Lost Souls by Walt Layne. This story involved the Mask attempting solve series of bizarre and seemingly unrelated murders. While this story had a lot of atmosphere. I'm afraid I never really figured it out. The story was jumped around and was hard to follow. There were story lines, for me at least, that weren't followed up on and the ending was seemed to come out of nowhere. Not sure what went wrong here but this my least favorite of the four stories.
Altogether I liked this book a lot. There is some good "New Pulp" being written out there and this book has plenty of it. Another fine effort from airship 27.
In this anthology containing four new stories featuring the Crimson Mask, a character pulp that originally ran from August 1940 to January 1945, created by Norman Daniels but written by various pulp scribes for 16 tales. The hero is pharmacist, Doc Bob Clarke, who put on a red domino mask to bring justice to criminals after they kill his policeman father.
Terrence McCauley brings us The Crimson Mask Takes Over, a nice yarn, with a solid feel of the time period. Then Gary Lovisi brings us an interesting yarn, The Mystery Man, about a bank robber with deeper plans. C. William Rosette’s story, The Blood of The Mob has good action, and keeps us turning the page. The final story, J. Walt Layne’s Carnival of Lost Souls was a bit muddy, and very little action from our hero, though an interesting tale.
All in all, the stories were pretty good, and I’m glad to see the Crimson Mask back for new adventures. Since this is volume one, I’m hoping there will be a volume two down the road. There were some minor problems with this volume, but nothing too extreme. I wasn’t sure when some of the stories take place. Rosette’s story included ex Army Rangers, which was curious, as Darby’s Rangers were started in 1942, so for us to have ex Army Rangers you would figure it had to be after 1945. Could be, but curious none-the-less. The lack of action in Layne’s story was a bit of a drag too. The story actually begins in the winter of 1932, eight years before the Crimson Masks began (hmmm). The cover by Andy Fish was pretty nice, but the interiors, though good art, left a bit to be desired. Most of the scenes illustrated were non-action scenes. The pulp interior art always featured our hero in action, not standing around talking or otherwise. I liked the art, but think the artist illustrated the wrong scenes too often.
Overall, this is a fine anthology of Crimson Masks short stories, and highly recommended.