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Retirement. Publishers, thank you for the many years of reading pleasure you gave me, but all good things must come to an end. Due to failing eyesight I am forced to retire. I can no longer review your books, and any that you send will be donated to the local library, unread. Do not send any more. I can only read for a couple hours every day, and this does not allow me to finish a book in reasonable time. I will be devoting time to my own books from now on, and reading on a personal level. Books that interest me. I prefer paperbacks and hardbacks, not eBooks. My eyesight has been failing the last few years, and I cannot handle hundreds of review books any more. My books are still available for review. Anyone interested in reviewing any of them, they are found in the Link to Tom’s Books On Amazon. Contact me for pdf copies at

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Crimson Mask Volume One

The Crimson Mask Volume One (Crime Fiction)
By Terrence McCauley, Gary Lovisi, C. William Rosette, and J. Walt Layne
ISBN #978-0615909639
Airship27 Productions
Price $15.29
172 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“Pulp Hero Returns In New Adventures”

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.

Tom Johnson
Detective Mystery Stories

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