My Blog

As a twenty-year Army veteran, I served on the Korean DMZ under fire, as well as in Vietnam. I have always been a voracious reader of many genres, and review books for numerous publishers. The main goal of PULP DEN is not only to showcase my books, but also to promote other writers and their books. As I turn 75 in July 2015, I need to slow down due to health problems. I will only be reviewing books by authors I know are topnotch writers, who create good plots and characters, and can spell longer words than four letters beginning with “f”. I do not join groups like Linkedin, Grouply, and Grammarly, so no invitations. I have complete runs of the major character pulps, and have read them all. I have been in pulp fandom since 1970, though a fan much longer. I publish my reviews on this Blog, Amazon, and in a print magazine. If anyone would be interested in reviewing any of my books, see the Link to Tom’s Books On Amazon. And contact me for pdf copies at fadingshadows40@gmail.com

Friday, July 31, 2015

Looks That Kill

VALDOR, the master mind reader, saw clearly the horrifying vision of Arlene . . . unconscious, bound and gagged . . . he saw a mysterious Egyptian room filled with a deadly poison gas . . . and he knew that two women had clashed over one man! Death and destruction crowded those other visions out of his mind . . . and he saw that the man they had fought over, the man they had killed for, was himself, Valdor the Mind Reader. But Valdor did not know that his broadcast set the tempo for this mad dance that meant . . . murder. Even Valdor did not realize that a simple twist of the dial, the turn to his mind-reading program, started the chain reaction that spread havoc from coast to coast!

Looks That Kill (Murder Mystery)
By Walter B. Gibson
Fiction House Press
ISBN #978-1514614945
Price $14.95
237 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“A Good Mystery With A Nice Twist.”

Valdor the Mighty Mind does his mental magic on the air. Sponsored by Moonbeam Soap Company, the program airs from Studio G between 9 and 9’30 pm on Tuesday evenings. Visitors leave questions in a box outside the studio door, and the mental wizard tunes in on the visitors’ thoughts.  One night a visitor is murdered with an invisible knife in his back; the knife isn’t truly invisible, it’s made from volcanic rock which is like glass. D.A. investigator James Dorrance believes someone at the studio is the murderer. A young blond in the studio had caused an interruption in the program, and this brings her in contact with Valdor and the investigation. This also involves them both in the investigation. The big question is, if Valdor actually can read minds, does he know who the murderer is?

This was a fun mystery by magician and The Shadow creator, Walter B. Gibson, and you can see the influence in both the character and magic. I wasn’t sure who the main character was at times, however, Valdor the Mighty Mind, or James Dorrance, the D.A. investigator, but that’s in keeping with The Shadow novels, in which secondary characters led the story, while the hero stayed in the background. But Valdor does not always stay in the background, as, like The Shadow, he has to come to the rescue of the blond, Arlene Jennings, a few times. Definitely a fun read. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson
Detective Mystery Stories



Sunday, July 26, 2015

Honor Among Thieves

Honor Among Thieves (Historical Adventure)
By J.M. Aucoin
CreateSpace
ISBN #978-151272379
Price $12.54
378 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“Swashbuckling Adventure At Its Best.”

Set in 1609 France, after the religious wars, ex-soldier Darion Delerue de Tarbes now rides with Captain Jaspart de Tremear and his Falcon Highwaymen, seeking coin and adventure. Men of courage and horsemanship, and quick with a blade of steel or pistol, the action never lets up. Darion is thrown into a fight now that could impel France into another war. Will he end with honor,  or go down in defeat as a rogue bandit?

This was a rollicking good read, with lots of sword action. The author did his research on 17th century France, and his writing puts the reader into the romantic tale of political intrigue, as well as personal honor. Except for the profanity, this novel could have been published in ARGOSY or ADVENTURE in the days of pulp magazine thrills, and stood beside the classics like THE THREE MUSKETEERS. For me the profanity was the only mark against this well written action yarn. I read to escape the world and its faults, and that includes the wide use of profanity in today’s literature. Other than this drawback, I highly recommend this swashbuckling adventure to all fans of the genre.

Tom Johnson

Author of PANGAEA: EDEN’S PLANET

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Real Dangerous Ride

Real Dangerous Ride (Thriller)
“Kim Oh #6”
By K.W. Jeter
Editions Herodiade
ASIN #BOOV73HRMI
Price $2.99
136 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“Exciting Chase From L.A. To San Francisco.”

While Donnie, Kim Oh’s paraplegic brother is in San Francisco attending a technical geek conference Kim has taken an assignment that offers good pay. All she needs to do is transport a package from L.A. to San Francisco. Her invisible contact has set her up with a billionaire named Dalby, who pays her half at the start, with a promise of the other half when she delivers the package. The package is sealed, and she’s warned not to open it, nor told what’s in it.

With her .357 in hand, she races off on her Ninja bike, knowing things are never as simple as they may seem, and is alert for trouble. Trouble starts almost immediately on the freeway, as a muscled-bound driver in a muscle car attempts to run her down, nearly killing her. Escaping from him, she’s attacked by another group in a fake ambulance. Apparently there are two opposing teams after the package, and she must protect it from both.

We follow Kim’s thoughts as she works her way from one set up to the next, wondering if she will make it to the destination, or even if she was supposed to from the beginning. It appears that Dalby may have set her up for a fall, and wants to know why, and how she can turn the tables on him while staying alive.

This was another nice action novel featuring the small Korean accountant-turned-assassin, Kim Oh. Although it seems the stories are becoming shorter, there is enough action to keep the reader interested, and I love a fast-paced quick read anyway. As usual, the author knows how to pace the action, and keep the plot moving on a smooth course. Highly recommended for mystery and thriller lovers.

Tom Johnson

Detective Mystery Stories

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hang Me In Hong Kong

HANG ME IN HONG KONG by Earl Norman. This is a Rick Shaw novel, published in 1976 by JADE ORIENT. Earl Norman (Norman Thompson) wasn’t a polished writer, but his novels set in Japan and Hong Kong were lots of fun. Thompson, a karate black belt himself, wrote excellent fight scenes, with some nice plots. Berkley Books published six of his Burns Bannion novels in the US, then Norman self published five of them in Japan, plus three not released in the US, and sold them through the military bases PX and Stars & Stripes to US military personnel in the Orient. Nine novels in all, featuring Burns Bannion, then a final novel featuring Rick Shaw that is extremely rare. Does anyone have this book for sale, trade, or will photocopy it for me if they don’t want to sell it?


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Jennifer Chase Interview

Jennifer Chase Interview

I first became aware of Jennifer Chase through Reading Addiction Blog Tours, when they offered her novel, DARK PURSUIT for review on PULP DEN. I’m very picky about the books I read for review knowing that there’s so much junk out there, but everything about this story seemed to grab my interest, so I signed up for the Blog Tour and was soon reading this exciting novel. I felt my readers would be interested in this author, so I approached her to see if she would be interested in an Interview.

Tom: Jennifer, thank you for sitting down with me for this interview. First, I want you to know that I was really impressed with your novel. Your writing and characters were topnotch, and your story telling technique kept my interest throughout. But before we get started, if you will, how about telling everyone a little about yourself, your family, and where you live, etc.

Jennifer: Thank you so much Tom.  It is fantastic for any writer to hear such praise about their book.  I’m basically a California girl, born and raised in the Golden State enjoying the outdoors and beach. I have always lived close to the coast, which is where I get some of my best ideas.  I am married along with my constant companions of dogs and cats to keep me company as I work.   


Tom: From reading DARK PURSUIT, it is easy to tell you are an experienced writer, and this appears to be the 5th novel in the series featuring what you call the phantom detectives. How did you get your start, and can you tell us a little about your background?

Jennifer:  I have managed to write in some form or another with creative writing, article writing, screenplays, and now novels.  My work background has not been as creative, but rather in business management and more recently criminology.  Storylines and ideas for books are never far from my thoughts – even when I was a little girl. I feel that writing fiction rounds out my life and makes me the most happy.

Tom: What writers influenced you, if any, and whom would you say your writing style most resembles? Your plot and characters certainly drive the story, but would you say your stories are more plot driven or character driven?

Jennifer:  There have been so many writers over the years that I have loved and they have helped to inspire me.  Basically, you will find books in my reading space written by Dean Koontz, Jeffrey Deaver, Lee Child, Vince Flynn, and David Baldacci just to name a few.  I love thrillers, whether the storyline is more vigilante, action-oriented, horror infused, or political, I enjoy all of them.  I have been enjoying many new Independent authors too. 

One of the aspects of writing thrillers that I have tried to maintain is finding my own unique voice.  My writing is somewhat different in the way I write my action scenes – my background in screenwriting has helped me to create a slightly unique voice in novel writing.  I love to try and put the reader right there in all of the action.  However, any writer will tell you that all of the books read in our lifetime have had some influence on writing style.  As far a plot or character driven, it depends upon the storyline.  For my Emily Stone series, it is definitely character driven with a close second to the plot.        

Tom: Have you written any short stories, or would you consider them? Although most of the venues have dried up, there are still a few good markets, such as Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine where short stories and novelettes are welcome, plus, the occasional anthology for mystery stories. However, fans will want to know something about your other novels leading up to DARK PURSUIT, so tell us about the previous stories without giving away any spoilers.

Jennifer: I enjoy short stories.  Many times, I jot down brief ideas that would make a short story rather than a full-length novel.  I love to read short stories, especially when I do not have enough time to read a lengthy novel.  I have written two short stories: FIRST WATCH, a horror short and NEVER FORGOTTEN, an Emily Stone short when she was a teen. 

My first novel COMPULSION begins the Emily Stone series, but originally I began writing the story as a screenplay and decided to switch and write the novel.  The idea for the stories and Emily Stone character came from my own experience with a violent sociopath that lived next door to me, who threatened my life on a regular basis.  I know it sounds more like movie than real life, but trust me, there are people out there just like what we see on television and in the movies.  From that experience, I met all types of people in law enforcement and realized the limitations of dealing with someone like this, and well, a storyline and character began to develop.  A woman with a previous law enforcement background covertly hunting down serial killers, and anonymously emailing cops with the information of the investigation felt like a storyline that I could write endless books: DEAD GAME, DARK MIND, DEAD BURN, and just released DARK PURSUIT. With each book, I create a different type of serial killer that she must track and ultimately locate with enough evidence, forensics, and profiling.  Also, each book is written to stand alone.  

Tom: In DARK PURSUIT we see that the human monster is worse than any imaginary creature we might dream of. To find that such horrible monsters exist in real life, one merely has to open a newspaper or turn on the national news on any given day. Mass murderers, child molesters, and stalkers sometime stay below the radar of the police, and they can be your next-door neighbor. As you show in your novel, the police are not always effective. Besides dark thrillers, do you consider writing other genres down the road, such as police procedurals, or CSI novels?

Jennifer: Absolutely.  I am working on another series at the moment that will be a forensic mystery series. I have also written a police procedural SILENT PARTNER, which takes readers along with a police K9 unit.

Tom: You have some very interesting characters, in particular Emily Stone and Rick Lopez, also known as the phantom detectives, a covert investigative agency. Emily, who once served as a sheriff’s deputy, founded the agency. Rick, a former police detective, left the force to become her partner and lover. As a profiler, Emily knows what to look for, and has up-to-date equipment at her disposal to find perps under the radar of law enforcement. I love the concept, and have always enjoyed novels with a strong female lead. You do let her partner have some of the action, though, as Emily tends to act fast, regardless of consequences, which gives the reader an element of tension when she’s put in harm’s way. Was this element intended?

Jennifer: I wanted Rick to be tough too and not let Emily have all the action scenes (and fun).  It is important that each partner have strong points to make their partnership that much stronger.  I am so glad that you picked up on that on how I created tension between the couple when each are in harms way. 

Tom: I’ve been a long-time fan of the pulp era (a period from 1896 to 1953, basically), especially the so-called pulp heroes of the pulp magazines between 1931 and 1953; one of those vigilante characters was called The Phantom Detective, which you call your own detectives. And I should say at this point that the movie PULP FICTION was not a true depiction of the pulp magazine stories. Nor were the paperback men’s action novels that followed the demise of the pulps. The pulp heroes were mostly vigilantes, though a few were police or FBI. The main theme of the pulp heroes – and heroines (there were several women) – was to find and stop criminals that the police could not catch. There were a few good-hearted bad guys who robbed the criminals of their ill-gotten gain, usually matching wits with some super mastermind. Your characters bring back the concept of the 1930’s vigilante hero, and some pulp fans will want to know if you are familiar with the pulps?

Jennifer:  Actually, I am not very familiar, but I love the idea of the 1930’s type of vigilante hero. I wish there were more television shows with that concept, since we are seeing more “vigilante” type of movies currently.

Tom: What do you find to be the most exciting part of the creating process of writing fiction?

Jennifer:  I love research and creating action scenes for my characters. With research, I can learn something new that I did not know yesterday.  With action scenes, it is like a complex jigsaw puzzle where I come up with different means of escape.  These are definitely the most exciting parts of creating a fictional storyline for me.

Tom: Along the same subject as above, what do you find to be the most difficult area in the creating process?

Jennifer: I find that I can be a procrastinator and that can really be difficult for me when immersed in writing a book or a strict timeline.  

Tom: What are you working on right now? A sequel (I hope) to DARK PURSUIT? Or?

Jennifer:  I am currently outlining the next Emily Stone thriller DEAD COLD and finishing the first book in a new forensic mystery series called BODY OF THE CRIME.

Tom: Besides family and writing, tell us about any hobbies or community services you may be involved in, and any other activity you would like to mention.

Jennifer:  When I am not writing, I love to be outdoors engaging in photography, hiking, or training with my dogs.

Tom: What advice would you give other aspiring authors hoping to break into the writing field today?

Jennifer:  Writing is a tough field, but writers should write what they love and not what someone else tells them they should write.  And of course, write, write, and write never taking for granted that you can always improve your skills.

Tom: Where can fans find – and buy - your stories, and do you keep copies on hand for autographs? Please include website and Blogs.

Jennifer:  All of my books are available in both ebook and paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and most retail bookstores can order paperback copies.  I will be having some giveaways in the near future, so visit my site for details.

Blog/Website: authorjenniferchase.com
Emily Stone Series Trailer on YouTube: https://youtu.be/OCbpk4jwtZY

Tom:  And now a question from left field.  If you could, would you choose to live in a parallel universe as one of the people in the places you create?

Jennifer:  That’s easy! I would love to be Emily Stone (maybe for only a day or so) because her motto is “Life was not worth living if you cannot make a difference – right a wrong, catch a serial killer, or save an innocent life.”

Thank you so much Tom for the wonderful interview opportunity.

Tom: Jennifer, thank you very much for consenting to this interview.