My Blog

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

Friday, December 30, 2011

Pulp Echoes Review

Pulp Echoes (Pulp Thriller)
By Tom Johnson
ISBN #978-0-9826795-8-6
230 Pages
Price: $15.50
Rating: 5-Stars

This short story collection consists of seven stories of varying lengths. Each pits a heroic figure against some evil mastermind out to do some dastardly deed. In the first entry, we have a story between novelette and short novel featuring the costumed crime fighter known as The Black Ghost. In this fast-paced yarn, “Carnival of Death”, a British intelligence operative is following a large drug shipment from India to somewhere in the States. The city is never named, but probably on the East Coast. Wounded, the operative seeks out The Black Ghost for help, and the city’s paladin learns that an old nemesis is protecting the drug shipment, and she’s determined to destroy The Black Ghost. This is a sequel to “The Spider’s Web”, published in 2010.

The second story, novelette in length, features an interesting heroine this time in her debut adventure, “A Cat Among Dogs”, and is set in the 1930s. Crime lords are extending their dirty hands across the city, and innocent people are victimized. Donning a strange costume with a Robin Hood hat, she raids the dens of iniquity, taking money from the pockets of the mob bosses. War is declared against her, and the mob and police alike are after the woman behind the mask of The Black Cat.

“Blind As A Bat” is an interesting short story about a character from the 1930s that was the forerunner of Bat Man. Framed by crooks on a murder charge, a famous detective is sent to death row. But honest men conspire to fake his execution, and in doing so The Bat was given life. In this story an insidious Chinaman is kidnapping young white women for white slavery. The Bat is quick to respond.

The fourth story, “Till Death Do Us Part”, is another character from the 1930s. Tough man, Nibs Holloway is assigned to safeguard the arrival of a famous necklace worth a fortune, but when he meets the ship he finds the carrier dead, and the jewels missing. Plus, it seems a notorious master crook called Doctor Death, is also after the necklace. People die during the hunt for the missing jewels, and Nibs Holloway plans for the evil doctor to meet his demise.

The next story is a debut adventure also, though it takes place in the mid 1940s. “Terror In The North Country” features Captain Anthony Adventure and his team of world adventurers. A Canadian girl seeks help from the Adventurers in finding her missing father in the wilds of Canada. After telling the girl to contact the authorities, they quickly change their mind when she tells them her father was kidnapped by a Sasquatch. It doesn’t take the team long to unravel this mystery!

“The Crimson Clown – Killer” features another gentleman thief from the 1930s who robs from dastardly crooks. The money goes to charities, except for a small operating fee that he pockets. However, this time the Crimson Clown is accused of murder, and must escape the law and find the real killers. It might take a real magician to pull the rabbit out of this hat!

The last story is an interesting tale of Old California. In late 1700s, with Spain ruling Mexico, Spanish soldiers kill a young girl’s husband and family, and take her land. A master with sword and bullwhip, she dons a mask and leads Mexican bandits against the Spaniards, taking their gold amidst a lot of swordplay. She is called Senora Scorpion by the Spaniards, and her sting is with whip or sword. Though the bandits she leads wishes only gold, her dream is to drive Spain out of California. This has similarities to Zorro.

I am selective in the books I review, and normally don’t read multiple author anthologies or short story collections. Seldom do you find either that will hold up, due to the variety of material, and different author contribution to the content. As an independent book reviewer, I have the option of selecting what I read, not what is pressed upon me. Being familiar with this author’s past work, I was willing to take a chance on PULP ECHOES, and I’m glad I did. The stories do hold up in this short story collection, and the author keeps the reader entertained throughout.

Originally titled ECHOES FROM THE PULPS, the author takes the reader back to the 1930s and ‘40s, when fantastic characters dominated the print media called “pulp magazines.” Added to the book is information on the history of pulps, and its current status among followers, with listings of research books and new stories of old characters. This is an intelligent overview of a little known print media that has influenced other medias over the years, and appears to be evolving into the electronic age today.

Entertaining And Highly Recommended.

Terry Roberts
Reviewer (SF, Etc.)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Grottos of Chinatown

Grottos of Chinatown
By Arthur J. Burks
ISBN #978-1935031086
Off Trail Publications
189 Pages
Price: $16.00
Rating 5-Star

After returning from the Far East, Dorus Noel becomes an undercover agent for the police department in New York City. He had spent years in the Far East, and had the torture scars to prove it. But once touched by China, he was unable to give that world up. Manhattan's Chinatown contains the most insidious crimes and criminals imaginable, and is a society of strange alliances, a place of dark menace and mystery. It is an urban nightmare of secret passageways riddling the district like rabbit warrens, a new world under the shadow of China's past.

This volume collects the eleven Dorus Noel stories from the pulp, All Detective Magazine (1933-34). Also included is extensive new information on All Detective and the fascinating career of pulp-writer Arthur J. Burks by John Locke.

Burks’ stories are short, with little time to truly examine the characters, but they are presented with clear images of evil. Fu Manchu like masterminds, with insidious murder inventions, including mysterious poisons and venoms, along with unimaginable death traps. All Detective aimed at the short story, with strong villains and heroes, and endings with a twist. The author was a retired Army Lt/Col from WWI who had traveled extensively in the Far East, and brought his knowledge of the East to the stories with him.

Dorus Noel works for a mysterious “Chief”, whom he has never seen. He does know the police commissioner, but none of the police know he is an undercover agent. However, all of Chinatown knows who Dorus Noel is, and though most respect him, the oriental villains fear and hate him. In each story someone is out to kill him before they start their insidious crime wave.

A great read, and thoroughly enjoyable.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Horror In Gold

Horror In Gold
By Kenneth Robeson (Lester Dent & Will Murray)
ISBN #978-1618270238
309 Pages
Price: $24.95
Rating 5-Star

A sudden wave of deadly explosions in New York brings Doc Savage into the case. The heads of innocent people explode. Hands or fingers fall from their body. It appears that someone is using a machine to make gold explode. Bank vaults are destroyed. Gold becomes too dangerous for people to own. A mysterious woman is seen in a purple robe with what looks to be a newsreel camera at every scene. The first 200 pages of the adventure take place in New York, but moves to Alaska for the final 100 pages where a mysterious scientist, John Merlin is working near a volcano. He is the inventor of the machine that is causing such havoc in New York.

This is another topnotch Doc Savage adventure Will Murray has put together using notes left by the late Lester Dent. There was some dialogue and text that seemed very odd. It just did not sound like Dent or Will Murray at times. Sadly, Pat is ordered, over the telephone, to Florida and doesn’t make an appearance except by radio at the end of the story, which was another disappointment for me. Evidently, Pat isn’t scheduled to be in the next story, either. Also, Renny and Johnny are in Alaska and don’t join the team until the last 70 pages of this 300-page adventure. Nor would Dent have Monk actually strike Ham in anger, which he does at the end of Chapter 19!

Of the two stories so far, “Desert Demons” is my favorite. With all the oddities in this story, I couldn’t help but wonder if Murray isn’t giving us a peek at what’s to come with Doc’s new image? But that being said, everything about “Horror In Gold” is another fantastic adventure of the Man of Bronze, and highly recommended.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Double Danger Tales #64


Compere had not been able to get Peggy away from the door leading to the stairwell, and he knew that danger lay in that direction. He increased his deadly fire, but had become a non-moving target himself. A bullet from one of the gangster’s guns clipped the little gas container on his belt, and suddenly two skull-faced apparitions appeared, one on each wrist of his hands. With a slight movement of his wrists, the gas-filled balloons were disconnected and flew from his outstretched arms with a loud hiss, each flying in opposite directions.
The appearance of the banshees was so sudden, gangsters turned their fire on the two escaping gas balloons, and Compere accounted for another four hoodlums as their guns had been diverted from him.
Unfortunately, his luck was running out. He heard a light sound from behind, a short sigh from Peggy, and then he felt the cold hard steel of the barrel of a revolver digging into his spine. A vicious voice grunted from behind, "Drop your cannons, friend, or this girl gets a bullet in the head!"

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cold War Medal

A friend of mine just notified me that the Cold War Service Medal has been approved. I added a link to the article in the "Links" menu. The website is just in case the link doesn't work. CONGRATULATIONS ALL YOU COLD WAR VETERANS!!!

Finally, a medal after all these years!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Betrothal, Betrayal, And Blood

Betrothal, Betrayal, And Blood (Crime Novel)
By JoAnna Senger
ISBN #978-1-937769-08-6
Price: $15.50
205 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“A Smooth And Entertaining Read.”

In San Tobino, a small town on the Central Coast of California, the popular resort hotel, Milady’s Manor becomes the scene of gruesome murders. Leads are few in this sleepy little community, and the police are stymied. It seems the murders are set up to follow the popular rooms different décor. The DinoWorld Room is set up as a prehistoric landscape, and then there are the Marie Antoinette Room, the Gibraltar Room, and the Lucretia Borgia Room. Each murder is enacted according to the rooms’ décor. What could be the motive, the authorities wonder?

The negatives of this book are cosmetic for the most part. There is little mystery, as we meet the killer before half way into the book. However, even that wasn’t necessary. The title alone tells us the plot. If it didn’t, the cover would have. A broken wedding ring, with a husband and wife inserted within the circle of the ring, and a handsome stranger standing alone outside the ring’s perimeter.  If I had seen this book on a paperback spinner rack, I would have passed it by for I knew the story without opening it. And that would have been a shame.

The author’s writing is superb, and the story keeps the reader’s interest from the opening page to the final chapter. We follow the police investigators, as well as the sordid adulterous affair that leads to the gruesome murders. An added compliment to the tale is the diary entries of a witness. Another nice aspect is the inclusion of a female private detective, and I would be surprised if we don’t see her in future novels of her own series.

The plot is good, though over-used in these type crime novels, but Ms Senger’s story-telling ability, and characterization is what captures the reader throughout. I can’t help but wonder what a new title – say, “Murders At Milady’s Manor”, or a simple “Murder In Room 313”, and a cover illustrating the crime scene from one of the picturesque rooms would do for the book? But with or without a cover, this novel is topnotch, and well worth the read!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pulp Echoes Now Available

PULP ECHOES by Tom Johnson presents seven new stories in the pulp tradition, both new and original characters: The Bat returns in “Blind As A Bat,” The Crimson Clown returns in “The Crimson Clown – Killer,” and Nibs Holloway battles Doctor Death in “Till Death Do Us Part.” The Black Ghost is back in “Carnival of Death,” Captain Anthony Adventure in “Terror In The North Country,” The Black Cat in “A Cat among Dogs,” and Senora Scorpion in “Senora Scorpion.” If you like the real thing, you’ll love PULP ECHOES.

The long awaited pulp anthology is now Available on NTD and Amazon. Print copies at $15.50. Ebooks will be available soon. This 238-page short story collection is pure pulp action and fun.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tales of Masks & Mayhem V4

Coming soon from NTD

Edited by Ginger Johnson, the long awaited fourth volume in the popular pulp anthologies, Tales of Masks & Mayhem will finally be released. This large volume contains "The Hooded Hunter" by Max Scarlatti, "Prophet of Peril" (a Masked Avenger story) by Lamont Wentworth, a new Crimson Mask story, "The Crimson Mask's Justice" by Frank Johnson, Doc Atlas returns in "His Master's Voice" by Michael A. Black and Ray Lovato, and Tom Johnson's Black Cat story, "Partners In Crime" rounds out the issue. With a great cover by Matt Lovato, this is a must for all pulp fans.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Doc Savage Review

Doc Savage: The Desert Demons
By Kenneth Robeson (Will Murray & Lester Dent)
ISBN #978-1618270016
Price: $24.95
270 Pages
Rating: 5-Stars

After twenty years, Doc Savage and his crew are back to fight evil and punish evildoers in a brand new adventure. Using notes from the late Lester Dent, Will Murray brings a rip-roaring, fast-action, grand slam tale for readers of the Man of Bronze. Something like a red tornado is descending on people, planes, and automobiles, turning them into salt. Doc, while at his Fortress of Solitude sends his aides to California to investigate. Meanwhile, his adventurous cousin, Pat Savage is already there. And to make matters worse, it appears the demon has killed her.

Doc and his aides are in top form, and Murray’s writing style captures Lester Dent’s perfectly. Six more novels have been announced, but Murray says there will probably be more. A special note should be made of the fantastic cover by Joe DeVito. It’s great to see the Man of Bronze, Monk and Ham, Pat, and all the gang back in this new series. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

G-Man Companion Now Available

Now available on Altus Press and Amazon. This 414 Page volume contains my research into the Dan Fowler series, plus some new material identifying early reprints. It will also reprint two novels from the series, which Will Murray and I consider two of the best in the series, plus a Fowler novel by Robert Sidney Bowen that didn’t make it for the series. Paperback is $34.95. Hardback edition coming soon.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Shadowhawke From K.G. McAbee & Tom Johnson

Deposed from her Balkan kingdom, the Spider Lady rules a new kingdom in America. Taking over the New York underworld, she operates from a hidden underground cavern. Those who oppose her are forced into her deadly web. But one man and his fighting team take up the trail to bring justice to the Queen of the underworld. The Shadowhawke!

With the ever-rising cost of pulp-related books, Tom Johnson re-launched his old Fading Shadows imprint to see if it was possible to produce a book for under $10.00. With Gail McAbee’s birthday coming up in November, Tom chose their action-packed pulp story, “Shadowhawke: First Flight” as an experiment. This 128-page (4 x 7) paperback is the result. Printing isn’t cheap, but we’ve eliminated the middleman. With only a few copies ordered for this experimental product, Tom is offering them on a first come basis at $7.95, plus postage. This was not meant for regular sales and is not available on Amazon or in bookstores. Contact Tom at for ordering information while they last. Available now in very limited supply.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Doc Atlas

The Incredible Adventures of Doc Atlas by Michael A. Black & Ray Lovato is a 270-page Omnibus containing five adventures of Atlas and his companions: The Riddle of The Sphinx, Desert Shadows, Killer Gorilla, Arctic Terror, and The Satan Plague. Stories collected from original printings in Gary Lovisi’s Gryphon Doubles and Tom & Ginger Johnson’s Double Danger Tales.  The cover for this beautiful issue is done by Geof Darrow, interior art by Tim Faurote and Matthew Lovato. A must have collection! Available on Amazon.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The World of Suzie Wong

I was just a lad when I first read this book, and then I had to see the movie. I think I fell in love with Nancy Kwan in that film! I've always had a special attachment to this book cover. The day of great book covers may be gone now, and that's a pity. Although it's been too long for me to remember much about the novel, at the time I was fascinated with The World of Suzie Wong, and loved the book by Richard Mason.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Kill Me In Tokyo

Kill Me In Tokyo by Earl Norman (Norman Thompson) from 1958. This novel kicked off the Burns Bannion series, though the karate champ didn't catch on until the 1960s. Only nine thrill-packed stories were published by Berkley, followed by Erle Editions in Japan. After nine stories set in Japan, Norman changed the locale to Hong Kong, and published a final novel, Hang Me In Hong Kong, featuring a new character named Rick Shaw.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Executioner Comic Book

Here is The Executioner comic book #1, just one item of over 2000 (paperbacks, hardbacks & Digests magazines) that I have for trade from duplicates I've accumulated over the years. Although I am mainly interested in SF Digest magazines, there are a number of paperbacks, hardbacks. and comic books I am interested in. However, in comic books I'm looking for Classic Illustrated. Anyone wishing to see my lists of swaps, send a private email to and put Swap List in the Heading. I would like to see what you have to offer also. I have over 2000 comic books also, but they are not cataloged yet.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Return Of The Shadow

In 1964, the US Army sent me and other soldiers to an Air Base in Turkey during a NATO Exercise - during the Cypress Crises. At the time I was reading spy novels, but had just got hooked on Edgar Rice Burroughs. A friend thought I would be interested in a certain paperback on the rack at the AFB Stars & Stripes store. That paperback was Walter B. Gibson's "The Return of The Shadow", and my friend was correct. I was instantly a fan of The Shadow from that point on. This is the cover of that very paperback I bought at the Stars & Stripes, still in my book collection. I understand that Tony Tollin, of Sanctum Books, will be reprinting this lost gem in 2012, with interior artwork this time by Mike Kaluta. I will probably buy the new edition, but that old Stars & Stripe purchase will always be on my bookshelf.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Shadow From Jove

Here is The Wealth Seeker reprint from Jove Books. The cover is by Jim Steranko. A shame this paperback series didn't last longer. The Steranko covers were masterpieces of art. There was also a series of Tops Trading Cards released with Steranko's Shadow covers. Again, I wish there had been more. Here is Tops #L 9.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Dangerous Corpse

"The Dangerous Corpse" is the basic plot Norman Daniels used for the missing 1953 Black Bat novel, "The Celebrity Murders". Read The Black Bat Companion for more information on this story that ended up as a paperback after the Black Bat series ended. Now available at Altus Press and Amazon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Black Bat Companion

The Black Bat Companion by Tom Johnson is now available from Altus Press and Amazon. This is a huge research book covering the series of the popular pulp character that ran from 1939 to 1953 in Black Book Detective. Lots of information revealed on the authors and missing stories, as well as the German stories. Visit Altus Press, or order the book from Amazon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dark Lake - Review

Dark Lake (Mystery)
By Louise Gaylord
ISBN #978-0984144198
Little Moose Press
191 Pages
Price $16.16
Rating: 4-Stars

“Well-written and smooth reading!”

Allie Armington, Houston lawyer and private investigator, returns to the Adirondacks for the summer festivities with her family, but upon arrival finds murder instead of pleasure. Her favorite aunt is lying face down in water, and her cousin is hooked on Meth. The town fathers don’t want unwelcome attention to hamper the festival, and force the authorities to declare the death a suicide. Allie is determined to prove it’s murder, and to bring the guilty party to justice.

This novel was so smooth, and easy to read, I was at the end before I knew it. It’s a very nice story as well, but weak as a murder mystery. Allie really does nothing to solve the case, except walk around wondering who the murderer is, and who can she trust. I knew the killer as soon as the person was introduced, and figured out the set up, but not why it was necessary to kill Allie’s aunt. The police are pathetic, most under the control of the town fathers, one just wanting to bed Allie. At the end of the story, she merely asks the murderer why he killed her aunt, and he confesses. So much for great detective work. For the readers, the killer explains everything to us. The police arrive to make the arrest, and the local town folks thank Allie for solving the crime, though the police likely knew by then.

The reader won’t be challenged in this mystery, but it is well worth the few hours of reading pleasure they will get from such a well-written story.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Captain Satan

Captain Satan was a short-lived pulp hero series from Popular Publications, only lasting for five issues. Written by William O'Sullivan, it featured a Robin Hood type, young rich man about town, who robbed from crooks. However, instead of giving to the poor, he divided the spoils between himself and a strange assortment of assistants. Oddly, except for his lieutenant, Slim, some of the aides disappeared after only one or two appearances. An F.B.I. agent suspected who Satan really was, but never caught him.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Conversation With Heroes

The Old Pulp Hermit sent me an envelope containing the following discussion he conducted with several famous pulp figures recently on tape. He mentioned that these men visited him at the Gotham Rest Home, where he now resides. It must be nice having friends who will visit you at a Rest Home. Maybe that’s something we should all think about. Well, with no further delay, here is the Round Table discussion with some pretty big names in the pulps.

Conversation With Heroes

The Pulp Hermit: With such distinguished guests, I felt it a perfect opportunity to discuss our favorite subject, the pulps. Gentlemen, there has been much talk today that the writers of the pulps were not as professional or sophisticated as writers today. And the product they produced was less than exciting or interesting than the stories being written today. Would you care to comment?

The Phantom Detective: Robert Wallace and G. Wayman Jones were both highly educated, and were able to bring my Casebooks into focus, showing the danger and excitement of my murder investigations. I don’t think the ones saying such nonsense about the stories have ever read one. End of statement.

The Black Bat: The Phantom is correct. I knew Mr. Jones personally, and he was as intelligent as any one writing today. Maybe more so, from what they are saying! Let them investigate the type of crook I was involved with. Especially the Nazis, and I’ll bet they’ll become an Ostrich darn quick.

Secret Agent X: Not exciting? Not Interesting? Wait till I tell Brant House about this. The truth of the matter is, he’s already upset because of some of the stuff they’re passing off as my cases. Some of the people they are saying I met, I never knew. Who are all these people helping me with my cases? Phew!

New Masked Guy: What was the question?

The Pulp Hermit: Yes, what “X” just said brings up a good point. I don’t remember any of you guys ever needing assistance from one another. Each of you was quite capable of solving the case on your own. In fact, in one case recently, X was in a fight with another of Gotham’s heroes, and they basically fought to a draw. How could it be otherwise? That’s why it’s a bad idea pitting you guys against each other.

The Phantom Detective: Certainly. We are the best, that’s why we do what we do. The Black Bat or X would just get in my way, so why would I ask them for help?

The Black Bat: I don’t need any help. Don’t get in my way.

Secret Agent X: Someone actually thinks I need help. Who?

New Masked Guy” What was the question?

The Pulp Hermit: For my last question, what do each of you think of new writers creating new stories about you? Evidently, they aren’t taking any of them from your personal Casebooks.

The Phantom Detective: Well, really, what they think is new cases is probably cases that just weren’t revealed in our Casebooks. Remember, the magazines ceased publication before all of our stories were revealed to the public. The concerns I have are that they be honest about my companions and me. I heard someone had me taking drugs in order to bring villains to their end. I never used drugs! One writer had me dumping Muriel for someone else, then turned Miss Havens into a murderer. Please!!!

The Black Bat: (laughing) They have me hearing voices, Phantom! And I argue with myself. Plus, I now kill execution style. Forget gangsters, I’m now fighting the supernatural; alien floating heads, no less! Remember, it was you who said these guys never read one of our Casebooks; no wonder they don’t know anything about us. And they’re writing our exploits?

Secret Agent X: You guys think they’re recreating you! Regardless of what they are doing to me, what upsets me the most is they make Betty Dale a moll, and make her look like a hooker. They don’t even know about the people in my universe. Good grief, I’m running with the Domino Lady and fighting with Dan Fowler. Like I couldn’t whip that fed with one arm tied behind my back!

New Masked Guy: What was the first question again?”

The Pulp Hermit: I hope we can do this again some time. Maybe we could discuss a solution to the problem when we meet again.

As the tape came to an end, I heard four automatics click as rounds were slammed into the chamber of barrels, and I heard The Pulp Hermit ask: “Who was that masked guy who just left in such a hurry?”

Stay tuned, Amigos, there’s more to come from the Old Pulp Hermit.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Journey To The Heart of Luna

“A Fun Beginning For A Great New Series!”

“A Journey To The Heart of Luna” by Andy Frankham-Allen is the first entry in the steampunk series, SPACE 1889, in which steam engines have given mankind the ability of spaceflight in the 1800s. When the British government receives a distress call from a young adventuress, Annabelle Somerset, from the moon, they decide to investigate. Her uncle’s friend, Nathaniel Stone, an inventor, is requested to join the expedition.

Well written with good characterization, but the story moved a bit slow. Most likely due to the need of setting up the series for future adventures. Readers of fast paced action will undoubtedly find this one boring, as it needs to be absorbed at a slower pace to familiarize the reader with the many interesting characters. It works well as a series opener, and the second story, “Vandals On Venus”, in the new ebook series picks up steam with a bang. I highly recommend these adventures of Professor Nathaniel Stone and Annabelle Somerset.

Available on Amazon and wherever ebooks are sold.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Vandals On Venus by K.G. McAbee

When Nathanial Stone gets an emergency message from an old friend on Venus begging for his help, his duty is clear: he must go at once. His ward, Miss Annabelle Somerset, instead of agreeing to stay safely on Earth as he begs, insists on accompanying him to the dangerous tropical planet, home of huge reptiles.

Soon, Nathanial and Annabelle find themselves in the middle of a plot concerning a nefarious German officer, a brilliant English inventor, an Irish guide no better than he should be, a heavily-armed lizard-man and a clever American newspaperman. Can even they prevail against such odds?

Now available on Amazon's Kendal for $2.99, and at all ebook stores.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Three Go Back

Three Go Back is a YA SF novel by Tom Johnson, set in the year 2323. When their teleport vehicle malfunctions, becoming a time machine, it sends three young high school girls back in time on a journey of discovery they never expected. From the Ice Age through the Cretaceous, Permian, Carboniferous, and finally to the beginning of the Earth’s evolution of life, they experience their world’s prehistoric past in all its splendor and terror, coming away with the joy of knowledge and fantastic adventure!

Available from NTD and Amazon. $12.97 paperback, $4.99 Kendle.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Curse of The Phantom Shadow

Following is information on a short film project that our followers might be interested in. There is a link to a short video clip to view a bit of the project.

My name is Mark Ross and I am an independent filmmaker in the Las Vegas area. We are currently in production on our short concept film, Curse of the Phantom Shadow. This movie is an homage to:

Dick Tracy
Spy Smasher
The Shadow
The Phantom
Republic Movie Serials
Comic books
Pulp Novels/Magazines of the 1930s/1940s

Our film takes place in 1948. We have professional actors, some of which have been in Hollywood productions.

Until recently, we were 100% self financed from my personal savings. We are now trying to raise money to finish our production.

I realize you probably get many of requests, such as the one I am about to make. However, a mention on your blog would definitely help us with our fundraising endeavors:

At the very least, I encourage you to review our video, and see if it is a good fit for your audience.

I thank you in advance on behalf of my cast and crew.

Mark Ross

New Doc Atlas Coming Soon

Michael A. Black and Ray Lovato have penned a new Doc Atlas story for Ginger's upcoming V#4 issue of Tales of Masks & Mayhem. This will come after the release of a new Doc Atlas anthology from the authors - Amazon is already taking pre orders for the anthology. I believe it is titled, The Incredible Adventures of Doc Atlas. Here is the interior illustration for the story in Ginger's Tales of Masks & Mayhem V#4. The art is by Matt Lovato.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Echoes From The Pulps

From a comic book historian’s viewpoint of the book, “Comics, Comix & Graphic Novels: A History of Comic Art,” we find this statement, which clearly defines comics as an artistic medium.

“For many years, those interested in the history of the art of comics--from scholars to fans--had very few options. The available books were either filled with glaring errors or far too limited in their scope. Along comes Roger Sabin and his near-definitive history. The best thing about this book is that it begins with a strong foundation--that comics is a separate and unique artistic medium--and goes on to leave practically no stone unturned, from mainstream superheroes to underground work to Japanese manga to the new alternatives to the strong European tradition. There's even an entire chapter on comics by and aimed toward women, hopefully dispelling the myth that comics are just for boys.”

Although literature can be classified as an art form in text, it is not an art medium. There are distinct differences in areas of media, from literature to television, movies, radio, and comics. That each may have influenced the other is unmistakable, but to paint them all with the same brush is also wrong. A simplistic view of mass-market literature can be categorized thusly: Story Papers, Dime Novels, Pulps, Digest, Paperbacks & Hardbacks (yes, there were a number of mass-market hardbacks produced). These were not genres. Genres are westerns, science fiction, mystery, romance, thrillers, action, adventure, etc. Pulp is not a genre it is a mass-market literary media.

 Trying to define what we write today, or see on TV or in the movies, as pulp may be a mistake. Even the so-called New Pulp has not become a mass-market product, though the pulps may influence it. As a writer, I am not writing, “pulp”, though I may be writing new stories about characters that appeared in the pulps. Many of the pulp novels and short stories have crossed over to other medias, including comic books, television, radio, and movies. But The Shadow, Doc Savage, and the other great characters originally were products of the pulps. So we can call them pulp. My character of The Black Ghost was not a product of the pulps, only influenced by them. I can’t really call it a new pulp.

Nick Carter is a product of the Dime Novels, Pulps, Paperbacks, Radio & Television. Each incarnation was slightly different from the previous version. The paperback, Nick Carter – Killmaster series was so vastly different from the early Dime Novel series, the character isn’t recognizable today. These paperback vigilante/spy series have been named Aggressor novels to distinguish them from other genres.

In my upcoming short story collection, PULP ECHOES (original title, ECHOES FROM THE PULPS), I wanted to purvey the message that my stories were merely an echo from the pulps. Nothing more. Like many of the new pulp writers, the pulps also influenced me. Hopefully, this book will show homage to the stories that I loved. Included in the book are new stories of The Black Ghost, The Black Cat, The Crimson Clown, Doctor Death, Captain Anthony Adventure, The Bat, and Senora Scorpion. Some characters originated in the pulps, while others are my own creation, all are echoes from the pulps.

The edits should be completed soon, and the book will (hopefully) be ready by the end of October.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Heroes of Ancient Greece

Stories By Tom Johnson, Michael A. Black, Ralph E. Horner, and Ron Wilber

Two of the greatest of the Greek heroes were Hercules and Atalanta, and both have survived in their own identities, as well as being the patterns for many other heroes of print, song, and screen. But no hero has ever achieved the strength of the mighty Hercules. Nor has any arrow ever flown as swift and true as one shot from the bow of Atalanta! Monsters from the land, sea, and moon face our heroes in these exciting pulp adventures!

This volume contains stories by Doc Atlas creator, Michael A. Black, paranormal author, Ralph Horner, and Tom Johnson, author of the popular Jur novels. Fully illustrated by Ron Wilber, including a three page comic by the artist.

If you like your heroes strong, your heroines beautiful, and the action fast, then go no further, this adventure is for you!

Available from NTD and Amazon.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bad Moon Rising By Tom Johnson

Tom’s 45,000-word short novel about a Recon Team, and the dangers they faced in Vietnam. These men weren’t looking to be heroes, they were only men who wanted to survive and go home. This was originally published by NBI in 2003, but went out of print when they folded. It was picked up by NTD in 2008, and was the lead in their anthology, BLOOD MOONS AND NIGHTSCAPES with Barbara Custer. BLOOD MOONS also contains many of my short Soul Stealer stories, about Angels on Earth. The current edition is available from NTD and Amazon. $13.90 paperback, and $3.50 Kendle.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Guns Of The Black Ghost

Trained by a retired secret agent of the government, Jimmy Malone dons a black hood and cape sending fear into the hearts of evildoers, as he battles the underworld in the tradition of a modern day Shadow or Spider. Burning eyes, a mocking laugh, and blazing automatics announce his entrance into an affray. Gangsters cringe when they come up against the guns of the Black Ghost!

The vast chamber was suddenly filled with a mocking laugh as the Black Ghost issued his challenge to gangdom, and the weird mirth rose to a high crescendo, reverberating throughout the building, echoing like a wild thing in the silent void of space. Gang members stopped what they were doing, and looked about the shop like hunted animals on opening season in the woods. And then a chorus of shouts rang out as they spotted the intrepid fighter in black. “The Black Ghost!” burst from a dozen lips at once, and murderous hands dug for guns beneath their tunics.

Gunfire suddenly blazed as those weapons came up, but the Black Ghost had drawn two heavy automatics of his own, and the machine shop was thundering with the clash of guns as a battle began between gangland and the fighter in black. A wild volley of bullets sang like angry hornets disturbed by a farmer’s deadly spray of insecticide.

This is my tribute to Walter Gibson and his creation, The Shadow. Available from the publisher, NTD, or Amazon. $16.50 print and $3.50 on Kendle.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Early Paul Bishop

I thought it would be fun to post an old magazine with a Paul Bishop short story for his fans.  Here is Issue #2 of Detective Story Magazine, September 1988, from Gary Lovisi. Paul's story is "The Neighbor Hood". The issue also contains material by Michael Avallone and C.J. Henderson, as well as others. The cover is by Ron Wilber, who did a lot of the covers for our Fading Shadows magazines, including Detective Mystery Stories.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Jur: A Story of Pre Dawn Earth

Jur: A Story of Pre Dawn Earth by Tom Johnson & James Reasoner.
Coming Soon From NTD

“We have to go back a bit, to an earlier day when adventure and romance weren't as rare as they are today... that's  a good way to start don't you think....." 

Lost in a prehistoric land that time forgot, a twentieth century couple must survive the dangers of savage beasts and dinosaurs. A young French archeologist disappears without a trace in the jungles of Africa.  An American adventurer with time on his hands volunteers to go find her.  Through the high thrills of adventure and the adrenalin-pumping lows of terror, these two must unite in their fight to survive the jungle as they attempt to find their way back to the world they left behind and discover a love like no other.  Will they succeed?  Only time will tell….

Friday, September 9, 2011

C.A. Murphy

Above is artist, C.A. Murphy's rendition of Richard Curtis Van Loan, The Phantom Detective, in the April 1942 issue.

Above is his rendition of g-man Dan Fowler, in the August 1936 issue. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Black Bat Companion

Coming soon from Altus Press, priced at $29.95, one of the most beloved Pulp characters, The Black Bat, is finally celebrated with this 340-Page deluxe retrospective. Author Tom Johnson has indexed each issue, listing everything you need to know about the series, along with the following highlights:

1)    A complete reprint of the rejected Black Bat adventure, “The Lady’s Out For Blood.”
2)    A breakdown of the newly discovered final Black Bat story, “The Celebrity Murders.”
3)    All 800 German Black Bat stories newly identified for the English audience.
4)    Nine complete reprints of The Black Bat Golden Age comic book stories.
5)    An interview with series creator Norman Daniels as well as his complete Payment records for the first time.
6)    Featuring additional articles by Will Murray, this is the ultimate history of the series.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

G-Man Companion

Dan Fowler: G-Man Companion by Tom Johnson, Will Murray, Robert Sidney Bowen,  Charles Greenberg, & Norvell W. Page

For nearly 20 years, Dan Fowler and his G-men battled crimedom in the pages of G-MEN DETECTIVE. Now, author Tom Johnson has indexed each issue, listing everything you need to know about the series. Also included are complete reprints of the two best Dan Fowler stories as chosen by Johnson and pulp historian Will Murray: "Give 'Em Hell" by Norvell W. Page and "Bullet Justice" by Charles Greenberg. And reprinted in its entirety for the first time: "I Cover the Murder Front," the lost, rejected Dan Fowler story.
Besides the three complete novels reprinted, this huge tome also features additional articles by Tom Johnson and Will Murray. This is the ultimate history of the series.

414 pages | $34.95 softcover | $44.95 hardcover from Altus Press

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Black Bat

This is the real version of the Black Bat as created in 1939 by Norman Daniels for Black Book Detective. Norman told me, however, that in 1943 the decision came down to turn The Black Bat into a character more resembling Walter Gibson's The Shadow, so the costume was dropped in "Markets Of Treason", Winter 1943/44. From then on, The Black Bat merely wore dark clothes and a hood, the ribbed-cape a thing of the past.  The artist must have never got the word, as they continued illustrating the interiors with the character in full costume. In the final novel, "Hot, Willing, And Deadly", author Stewart Sterling even dropped The Black Bat as well, merely having Tony Quinn (no longer pretending to be blind) investigate the crime. But it was always the character in cape and hood that I remember most fondly.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Phantom Detective

Did The Phantom Detective Wear A Costume?

Actually, no.  He was a master of disguise, and often took on the identity of hoodlums. His identifying trademarks were the domino mask and jeweled badge. In the early 1930s, Richard Curtis Van Loan was usually at a ballroom when some insidious crime occurred. As a rich young man-about-town, he was likely to be dressed in top hat and tails (tuxedo). He would merely put the domino mask on and flash his famous badge, becoming the nemesis of the underworld. But just as quickly, he would discard the top hat and tails, and take the identity of some low-life criminal. As the series progressed, the setting of a ballroom to begin the story was left behind, and so too the top hat and tails. One of the problems with a recent version of the character was giving him the costume of top hat and tails. This happens when you don’t know the character. Whoever proposed the silly costume should actually read the series, and then we would get a true version of The Phantom Detective.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


I thought, for a change of pace, I would post the cover of a 1964 Tarzan novel by Berton Werper. This five-book series ran from 1964 to 1965, and was written by husband and wife writing team of Peter & Peggy O'Neill Scott. Although I wasn't a fan of the new series at the time, I have to admit it was probably better than the new series now coming out of England.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

SF Magazine Podcast

This Thursday, August 16th, Tom & Ginger will join Shelvy Vic and Garrett Prescott on The Book Cave with Art & Ric to discuss science fiction pulp magazines and early SF writers. I began reading sci-fi around 1952, but Garrett and Shelvy were into the genre a few years earlier.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Comment Problems

Folks, I apologize. My Blog will not let me Comment or respond to Comments, and I haven't figured out the problem yet (sigh).  Regarding the recent Comments, EXCITING PULP TALES is only in print at this point, but Altus Press is looking at adding it to Kindle eventually.

K.G. McAbee's story has not been released yet, but is scheduled for August, so may already be available. I'm waiting for her to send me the ordering instructions. As soon as I get the Link to her book, I'll post it on the Blog. Thankfully, so far the Blog is letting me Post (sigh). Any Blog experts in the house? lol

Exciting Pulp Tales - Podcast

Tom & Ginger join Ric and Art to talk about Tom's short story collection of pulp tales in EXCITING PULP TALES on Thursday the 11th of August. Be sure to tune in to The Book Cave and listen in

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Vandals On Venus

“K.G. McAbee Does It Again! Top Notch and Thoroughly Exciting!”

SPACE 1889 & BEYOND #2 is a series I am not familiar with, but to my pleasure I was given the opportunity to read K.G. McAbee’s short novel, “Vandals On Venus”, and can assure the reader, this is a fantastic concept. Apparently, space travel has been achieved in the late 1800s in this alternate universe, and settlements are established on numerous planets and asteroids. For anyone who doesn’t know K.G. McAbee, I can also assure you, this lady has long been my favorite author of science fiction and fantasy. To be honest, she can write any genre, and one of her favorite areas is pulp. When she writes a Solomon Kane, she doesn’t just imitate Robert E. Howard, she becomes Howard. The same is true with Edgar Rice Burroughs. In “Vandals On Venus” I had to look several times to make sure I wasn’t reading a “lost” Burroughs story. Gail McAbee’s story captures the Pellucidar series perfectly, though it takes place in the jungles on Venus.

In “Vandals On Venus”, Professor Nathanial Stone, co-inventor of the aether propeller, has been requested to travel to Fort Collingwood, Her Majesty’s Royal Colony on Venus to assist Geoffrey Forbes-Hamilton in his experiments. To his chagrin, his ward, Annabelle Somerset insists on accompanying him to the dangerous planet. He just knows she will get into trouble – and so do we! This is a fun adventure right out of an Edgar Rice Burroughs pulp tale as only K.G. McAbee can write them! A giant warrior of a reptile race assists the folks, and there are dinosaur-like creatures populating the jungles. Then throw in some really bad Germans and an outlaw Irishman, and you’ve got enough action to satisfy any pulp lover.

These are a series of e-books containing a short novel each, and if the rest of the stories are as good as McAbee’s, I’ll want to read them all!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lot's Return To Sodom - Review

Lot’s Returns To Sodom (Mystery)
By Sandra Brannan
Greenleaf Book Group Press
ISBN #978-1-60832-119-3
320 Pages
Price: $14.95
Rating: 4-Star

(“An Entertaining Read!”)

Liv Bergen returns in Lot’s Returns To Sodom, Sandra Brannan’s sequel to the fascinating In The Belly of Jonah. This time her brother is a suspect in the murder of his girlfriend, and like Nancy Drew she goes about looking for the real killer. In the meantime, there’s another murder that appears to be by the notorious Crooked Man serial killer, which brings F.B.I. Agent Streeter Pierce from Colorado to the Black Hills of South Dakota. There are plenty of suspects, and lots of danger for Liv Bergen.

After a brilliant debut novel, I was a little disappointed in this second entry by Sandra Brannan. It relied too heavily on the first story and brought in the same F.B.I. agent from Colorado, when it might have been best to introduce a new character for this out of state investigation, bringing the original field agent back in a later story. Although we’re told that Liv Bergen’s brother is a suspect in his girlfriend’s murder, he is really never in much danger of arrest, just a “person of interest” since his involvement with the victim. My main complaint against the story was changing the location from the mining community of Colorado to the Sturgis, South Dakota area. I thought the previous book worked better, and I admit I’m not a fan of motorcycle gangs or Sturgis.

However, Sandra Brannan continues to entertain with her style of story-telling and interesting murder mysteries.

Tom Johnson, Editor
Detective Mystery Stories

Friday, July 22, 2011

All Cry Chaos - Review

All Cry Chaos (Mystery)
By Leonard Rosen
ISBN #978-1-57962-222-0
The Permanent Press
Price: $29.00
330 Pages
Release Date: September 2011
Rating: 5-Stars

“Leonard Rosen weaves a web of mystery with many surprising twists!”

For Interpol Agent, Henri Poincare, assigned to Amsterdam during the WTO Meeting, a mysterious explosion in a hotel brings him into a case that takes him across Europe and the United States in an investigation that will task his endurance. A distinguished mathematician appears to have been assassinated on the eve of speaking at the WTO. To complicate matters, a religious cult is preaching the End of Days, while a prisoner locked up behind bars threatens Poincare’s family in France. It appears that two forces may be after secrets the mathematician had on a computer hard drive.

This is an international mystery with a complicated plot and many unexpected twists. The author gives the reader a nice word picture of the many locales visited. The characters were interesting, and though I enjoyed Henri Poincare, I would have preferred to see more of his assistant in action. There were some problems with the story; too much of the action takes place off screen, and we only hear about it. Plus, there were many points when the story slowed down a bit too much. However, over all, this is an outstanding read, and I think the mystery fan will enjoy the complicated plot and fine characters.

Tom Johnson, Editor
Detective Mystery Stories

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In The Belly of Jonah - Review

In The Belly of Jonah (Mystery)
By Sandra Brannon
ISBN #978-1-60832-050-9
Greenleaf Book Group LLC
Price: $14.95
250 Pages
Rating: 5-Stars

“Sandra Brannon’s writing is superb, fresh and entertaining!”

Liv Bergen manages a limestone quarry in Colorado, where she has learned to be tough while caring for her employees. On occasion she hires university students during their school semesters. When one of the students is brutally murdered, it throws her right in the middle of an F.B.I. investigation.

The serial killer has been nicknamed the Venus de Milo murderer for one case where he cut off the arms and legs of his victims. Each killing appeared staged, as if as an art piece, gruesome in every detail. With the hotels filled up, and the bureau profiler turns out to be an old friend, she invites the F.B.I. agents to set up their operations in her home, bringing her under the evil attention of the killer. Would she be his next target?

I was intrigued by such an interesting read, and found the author’s portrayal of characters to be three-dimensional, and down to earth. The writing is smooth, and the story never slows down for long. The author seems to know when to pick up the pace again. The murderer is easily figured out, which may be a let down for some readers, but the investigators must work to discover his identity before he kills again. Not your current trend of wise cracking, gun-slinging hot shot detectives on the make for blond Hollywood stars. This is a well-paced murder mystery, with a gritty setting in rough mining country with a human monster stalking innocent victims. It felt like a mix of Murder She Wrote and Blood Work, perhaps, but a well balance between the two.

One of the most enjoyable novels I’ve read this year!

Tom Johnson, Editor
Detective Mystery Stories

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sneak Peek - Senora Scorpion

Here is a sneak peek of Senora Scorpion drawn by David Burton for one of my stories coming up in PULP ECHOES later this Fall. Senora Scorpion is an outlaw fighting for freedom from Spanish rule in California during the period that Spain subjugated the Mexicans. A lot of pulpy sword fights.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Alias The Whirlwind

Okay folks, Alias The Whirlwind is now available from Altus Press. See the book here or find it at The Whirlwind is Johnston McCulley's clone to his famous Zorro. The complete series is reprinted here for the first time anywhere. It also contains a new story featuring The Whirlwind by Tom Johnson.