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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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Guest Post by Diana Rubino BOOTLEG BROADWAY

BOOTLEG BROADWAY, a story of debauchery and a little romance
by Diana Rubino
Booze, music, sex, murder, Prohibition… NewYork…what a time to be alive!

With FROM HERE TO 14TH STREET set in 1894, I needed to set this a generation later, which happened to be the 1930s—with Prohibition and the Great Depression as the backdrop. This is the first book I ever wrote where I created the characters first, with nothing to do yet. The plot developed the way it did because of who they are. My goal was to get the protagonist Billy McGlory into one mess after another. This era couldn’t have been more suited to Billy’s adventures, a few of which he barely escaped with his life.


In this sequel to FROM HERE TO 14TH STREET, Vita and Tom McGlory and their three children are struggling to make ends meet.

It's 1932. Prohibition rages, the Depression ravages, and Billy McGlory comes of age whether he wants to or not. Musical and adventurous, Billy dreams of having his own ritzy supper club and big band. On the eve of Billy’s marriage to the pregnant Prudence, the shifty "businessman" Rosario Ingovito offers him all that and more. Fame, fortune, his own Broadway musical…it's all his for the taking, despite Pru's opposition to Rosie's ventures.

Meanwhile, Pru's artistic career gains momentum and their child is born. Can anything go wrong for Billy? Only when he gets in way over his head does he stop to wonder how his business partner really makes his millions, but by then it's far too late…

Nicknames from real life:

As in FROM HERE TO 14th STREET, a lot of characters have nicknames like Piggy Balls and Dirty Neck Bruiso. I sat around the table with my surviving aunts and uncles who were then in their 80s and 90s, and they rattled off these nicknames from ‘the old days’ in Jersey City like they made them up yesterday. That was a standard Italian neighborhood custom, everybody had a nickname. Some were more descriptive than others. But you didn’t just ‘get’ a nickname. You had to earn it.  

Some more nicknames from the old neighborhood:

Bruno Chicken Body
Butta Jeans
Charlie Burp
Chick a la zoo
Dirty Dicky
Dirty Neck Bruiso
Frankie Butch Butch
Gravel Gertie
Hoo Hoo
Jazzy Lou
Jijji Balls
Johnny in for the pot

My fav passage from BOOTLEG BROADWAY (which made my aunt cringe):

Pru had kept closemouthed all day about what she was giving him for his birthday. He badgered and hounded her, but she wouldn’t give in.
As Ma began divvying up the rum cake, the doorbell rang, and Da came back with a long box. “This thing’s heavy. What’s in here, Pru? Billy’s tombstone?”
Billy cut the ribbon with the cake knife and slid the lid off. Wads of tissue paper filled the box. As he removed the last layer of covering and revealed what was inside, they all gasped—a sculpture of a naked man, in all his masculine glory—and fully aroused. He had one hand on his hip and one foot upon a pedestal on which was inscribed in bold letters, “BILLY.”
“Oh, crap.” His face turned red hot.

Where Did I Begin?

This was the first book I ever wrote where I created the characters first, with no storyline whatsoever. All I knew was that it was during Prohibition, and I wanted to get the main character, Billy McGlory, into one mess after another.

Here’s a prime example of that, in this excerpt:

Heading south on Madison Avenue, I heard the siren. I glanced into the rearview mirror and saw the unmistakable Greyhound radiator ornament of the Lincoln behind me. Cop car. All the gangsters drove Lincolns, which had a top speed of 80, so the cops had to get Lincolns to keep up with them. I tried to get the hell out of his way—he must've been going to a robbery or a diner or something. I pulled over, and he pulled up next to me. Oh, shit. It was me he was after.
I rolled down the window and asked sweetly, "Yes, sir, what can I do for you, sir?"
"License and registration please."
"Uh—what's wrong, officer? Did I commit a traffic violation?" As the son of the ex-Chief of Police, I should have been real comfortable around cops, but to tell the truth, they scared the hell out of me. The cops my father knew weren't the crooked ones. They were the straightassed ones, just like him, who fought Tammany and made a career out of busting crooks. They didn't have a price, like the rest of them. Hardnosed bastards, some were frustrated politicians and not smart enough to get into law school, so they enforced the laws from behind their badges. Hell, I was all for law and order, but these guys sometimes took it too far. "Your back license plate is missing."
Relief drained me. "Oh, drat. It must've got stolen. You know this city—just crawlin' with thieves."
"License and registration, please," he repeated, in what passed for a more menacing cop voice. Now he assumed his cop stance, pudgy fists on meaty hips, waiting while I dug through the glove compartment, tossing aside all the crumpled up sheet music and junk crammed in there. Oh, that's where my emergency pack of cigarettes was, and that old box of prophylactics! But damned if I couldn't find the registration.
"Uh—I can't find it, but it's my car, honest. I mean, it was a gift to me, but it's been paid for, it's not stolen or anything. I can probably find it in my penthouse. You wanna follow me there? It's only two blocks aw—"
"Step out of the car, please."
Uh-oh. I felt my bowels burning. I had two briefcases bulging with two shitloads of money in the back seat.
He poked his head into the car. "What's in the briefcases?"
"Uh—I dunno. I'm doing an errand for somebody."
"Yeah, I'll bet you dunno. Step aside, please."
"Hey, you got a search warrant?" I demanded.
But demanding a search warrant from a New York City cop was like demanding a shot of Scotch from Satan in the middle of Hell.
I didn't want to look. I turned my head and flattened my palms on the roof of the car, like I was being searched. I heard the clicks as he sprang the latches and his not-so-surprised "mm-hmmm" as he checked out the contents.
"Who you doing this errand for, sonny boy?"
What was with the "sonny boy"? He wasn't much older than me. I knew he just wanted to put me down. Screw that. I've been called a lot worse by much better cops than him. He obviously didn't know who I was. "Uh—I'd better get a lawyer or something."
"You'd better come with me."
"Look, uh—you wanna just take a few bills outta there and forget it?” I asked, real generously. “I mean, uh—we're all in this mess together, ya know—"
"Bribing an officer of the law is a very serious offense, sonny boy. You'll have to come with me. Park your car there, please."
"Here? But there's a hydrant here. I'll get a ticket."

 I CONSIDERED THESE TITLES BEFORE I CHOSE BOOTLEG BROADWAY (feel free to use any of these if you’re writing a book set during Prohibition or the Depression—it was a tough decision)

Headin' for Better Times
How Strange
If It Ain't Love
If I Had You
Never Let the Same Bee Sting You Twice
Opus One
Puttin on the Ritz
Say it Isn't So
See if I'll Care

Somebody Loves You
Take the A Train
Thanks for the Memory
Under the Moon
When Dreams Come True
Wherever you Are


The Stork Club - Ralph Blumenthal
Once Upon a Time in NY - Herbert Mitgang
Incredible NY: High Life & Low Life - Lloyd Morris
The Night Club Era - Stanley Walker


Contact Diana:

Amazon Author Page

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Long Cold


“The Long Cold” by O’Neal De Noux. NEW LaStanza novel just released. Cover art by Dana De Noux. Thirty years ago, fourteen year old Lenore San Luna was murdered. Unsolved, her case was long forgotten until her cousin Gina Badalamente, daughter of the boss of the New Orleans Mafia, approaches the one man La Cosa Nostra may tolerate to look into this case – former NOPD homicide detective Dino LaStanza. The most dangerous private eye in the city turns down the case. His beautiful, wealthy wife Lizette is relieved. He’s tangled with the Mafia in the past and it didn’t end well. However, when LaStanza learns of the connection between Lenore and his family, he will take on the dangerous, haunting investigation of this long cold murder case. Available in paperback from Amazon for $10.93 at'Neil+De+Noux

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Collaborator Affair

The Collaborator Affair (International Spy)
“The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
By Jill Thomasson
37 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

Following the TV episode, THE GENIUS AFFAIR, from Season 4, Illya Kuryakin is assigned to impersonate Colonel Nexor, basically his twin, who Illya killed in the previous episode. One of U.N.C.L.E.’s agents has been discovered in a group of Nazi collaborators, and not knowing that Nexor is dead, they want to swap the U.N.C.L.E. agent for him. Illya takes the assignment, but is quickly uncovered as an imposter. Now Napoleon Solo must rescue Illya before the Nazi agents kill him. Disguising himself as a THRUSH agent, he flies a captured THRUSH helicopter into the compound. But now the Nazi’s have two U.N.C.L.E. agents in their midst, and it may be impossible for Solo to escape with his Russian partner.

Although this is fan fiction, the story is as good as anything that appeared in the MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. magazine from RENOWN. I can see it appearing in the magazine back in the 60s, and a shame the magazine isn’t being printed today. With the new movie now out, it would be great if a publisher brought back a magazine like RENOWN and released new U.N.C.L.E. stories. For U.N.C.L.E. fans, I can highly recommend this as a fun story.

Tom Johnson


Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Carnival of Death

The Carnival of Death (Mystery/Suspense)
By L. Ron Hubbard
ISBN #978-1592122479
136 Pages
Price $9.95
Rating 5-Stars

This book actually contains two stories by L. Ron Hubbard: THE CARNIVAL OF DEATH, originally published in the 11/34 Popular Detective, and THE DEATH FLYER, originally published in the 4/36 Fantasy Magazine.
            In THE CARNIVAL OF DEATH, Henry Shreve contacts the government asking for help, as he believes his carnival, SHREVE’S MAMMOTH CARNIVAL is being used to distribute drugs. The Secret Service sends agent Robert W. Clark to act as the carnival detective, and discover the drug connection. Instead, Bob Clark discovers several murders. Men with their heads decapitated, and four African headhunters are missing from the show. Does this have anything to do with the drugs? And who is the young blond man that keeps getting in his way?
            In THE DEATH FLYER, civil engineer Jim Bellamy is returning to camp after working late one night. Following a set of railroad tracks, he’s suddenly caught in them as a train approaches. But the train stops and the train engineer tells him to get on board. But something is amiss. He’s among a train of ghosts. He doesn’t have a ticket, but a pretty young girl approaches and gives him one, then tells him she’s been waiting for him. Ten years ago this train ran off the tracks and fell into a river, killing all on board. It’s up to Jim to stop the train this time, if he can. If not, he might join the dead passengers.
            This was a fun book, both stories topnotch, and though I enjoyed the mystery, I loved the ghost story best. I just haven’t read a ghost story in years, and this one was so much fun, it made me want to read more of them. Guess I’ve been missing something in my reading. Regardless, I highly recommend this to mystery – and ghost – lovers.

Tom Johnson


Monday, September 21, 2015

Real Dangerous Plan

No easy answers. No big international spy secret bank accounts. No superheroes or magic. 

Just her wits, guts…
And a very large gun.
A hit job goes bad -- and to avoid being killed herself, Kim holes up in a remote desert location. But if she believes she'll be safe there, she soon discovers how wrong she can be.
Soon Kim is not only battling a crime boss's lethal crew, but also facing down a Russian munitions expert, who's perfectly capable of blowing up the ground beneath her feet. With fewer resources than ever before, Kim will have to move fast to save not only herself, but her brother Donnie as well...
Fans of action thrillers with a smart, tough female protagonist taking the lead will find a lot to like in the Kim Oh Thrillers. Teen & Young Adult readers will know just how she feels, as she fights to stay alive – and win – in a world filled with crime, suspense and mystery. Each book is a thriller that will capture readers of all ages.
If action adventure is your taste in fiction, with just a bit of dark fun, make a date with Kim Oh now. This is a thriller series with a twist!

Real Dangerous Plan (Action Thriller)
“Kim Oh #7”
By K. W. Jeter
Editions Herodiade
Price $2.99
178 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

The story starts out like the plot of SHANE or a dozen other western plots, where the gunslinger arrives in the town where a rich rancher is pushing the little farmer out. But in this case we’re not in the western movies. Kim is hiding out after she ended up with a broken arm after her previous job. Taking her paraplegic brother, Donnie, to a desert community of old folks down on their luck, she discovers there’s even danger here. The local boss wants the area the camp is sitting on, and his men are harassing them, trying to force the old timers out. One of the old men wants to fight the gang, and keeps pushing the rest to follow him, yet the results are disastrous. Kim decides to step in and do something about it, even though one arm is in a cast. She still has her .357 with her, and plans an invasion of the enemy’s camp, only to run into a Russian agent with his own plans.

This is another topnotch Kim Oh adventure, with a great plot and characters, and Kim and Donnie are at their best, even when at a disadvantage. If we carry the similarity to SHANE further, we can expect a slam-bang ending, and are not disappointed. My only complaint is that I want this series in paperback editions for my shelf. Highly recommended for action lovers.

Tom Johnson

Detective Mystery Stories