Monthly Archives: December 2017

Frederick Lorenz’s Big Catch

Il bacio del banditoA story from Justice Amazing Detective Mysteries #2, July 1955: “Big Catch” by Frederick Lorenz.

Al and his gal, Janie, are beach-side with his pal Vern, fishing for sharks down by the Florida Keys. He-man Vern takes a shine to Janie to form a triangle. Vern brought along some corn liquor and Al’s stupid enough to finish off the jar, which leaves him half-blind drunk.

There’s a bank robbery and loot and another session of shark fishing, but the story suffers from shallow characters and disbelieve too difficult to suspend, too many times.

Lorenz Heller wrote detective fiction under several pseudonyms. Galactic Central lists Frederick Lorenz as the name he used only for the three stories he wrote for Justice. Under his Larry Holden name, he was far more prolific, with dozens of stories that ran in pulps like Detective Tales, Black Mask, and All-Story Detective, to name a few.

There is a novel, Il bacio del bandito (Kiss of the Bandit), written by a Larry Holden and published in 1956 by Longanesi & C. It’s the right year and genre to be the same Holden, but my search was no more conclusive than that.

Mystery Weekly Magazine Dec. 2017

MWM_12_2017_500Outstanding cover by Lisa Sellin for the issue’s opening story with a mechanized rat.

“The Mechanical Rat” by Lawrence Buentello
“Ailanthus on Patchin Place” by Claude Chabot
“Mrs. Walker and the Poisonous Punch” by Katie Ginger
“Not a Smart Way to Start a Negotiation” by Michael McGlade
“Sammy” by Laura Gianino
“True Love” by Steve Schrott
“The Family Feud” A You-Solve-It by Rhonda Howard

Mystery Weekly Magazine Dec. 2017
Publisher: Chuck Carter
Editor: Kerry Carter
Cover: Lisa Sellin
7.5” x 10” 66 pages
POD $4.99, Kindle $2.99 (99¢ with print version)
Mystery Weekly Magazine website

The Digest Enthusiast #7 now in print

tde7front300rgbBook seven is now available in print, just in time for the holidays. Cover guy Rick Ollerman talks digests, fiction, writers, and Down & Out: The Magazine. The cover portrait is the work of Joe Wehrle, Jr., whose name you’ll see a lot in this edition. Joe not only gives us a terrific portrait, but managed to work in some atmosphere and a kick-ass redheaded woman to boot.

Long time mystery writer Josh Pachter provides his fascinating debrief on Espionage Magazine’s 14-issue run from Dec. 1984 to Sept. 1987.

Peter Enfantino continues his entertaining story-by-story synopses of Manhunt 1953 #5–8.

Steve Carper begins an exploration of digests you may never knew existed and others that are collectors’ dreams in “One-and-Dones” part one.

Ever wonder what The Occult Digest was all about, when it surfaces on ebay? Wonder no more. Tom Brinkmann give us the full story with his usual aplomb and attention to detail.

Vince Nowell, Sr. joins us with “When Things Go Wrong: The Lester del Rey–John Raymond Fiasco.” We’re talking Rocket Stories, Fantasy Fiction, Space SF, and Science Fiction Adventures.

The adventures of Telsey Amberdon by James H. Schmitz are explored in “Psience Fiction” by Joe Werhle, Jr., complete with character and author portraits.

tde7back_235Peter Enfantino details the stories of Robert Edmond Alter that appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine from Aug. 1968 to Dec. 1966.

We’ve ramped up reviews this time to cover several recent releases: Black Cat Mystery Magazine #1, D&O: The Magazine #1, Fantasy & Science Fiction Jul/Aug 2017, Pulp Literature #15, Suspense Stories, and Switchblade #2.

Brand new fiction from Lesann Berry (art by Michael Neno), Robert Snashall (collage by Marc Myers), and Joe Wehrle, Jr. (w/his artwork); and cartoons by Bob Vojtko.

News and cover previews from Pulp Modern, Nostalgia Digest, Mystery Weekly Magazine, Switchblade, PulpFest 2018, Wildside Press digests, Broadswords and Blasters, Paperback Fanatic, and D&O:The Magazine; writers Bill Crider, Richard Kellogg, Robert Lopresti, Gary Lovisi, and Josh Pachter; artists Brad Foster and Bob Vojtko; and Marc Myers and D. Blake Werts.

The Digest Enthusiast book seven
152 pages, with over 100 cover images
POD from amazon, Mike Chomko, DreamHaven Books, and Bud’s Art Books
Digital from Kindle and Magzter (Dec. 11)

Magazine of Horror #16 Summer 1967


Magazine of Horror #16 Summer 1967 Cover by Virgil Finlay

“Night and Silence” by Maurice Level (Weird Tales Feb. 1932)
“Lazarus” by Leonid Andreyeff (Weird Tales Mar. 1927)
“Mr. Octbur” by Joseph Payne Brennan
“The Dog That Laughed” by Charles Willard Diffin (Strange Tales Sep. 1931)
“Ah, Sweet Youth” by Pauline Kappel Prilucik
“The Man Who Never Was” by R. A. Lafferty
“The Leaden Ring” by S. Baring-Gould (A Book of Ghosts)
“The Monster of the Prophecy” by Clark Ashton Smith (Weird Tales Jan. 1932)
“A Song For Men That Laugh” by Robert E. Howard (verse)

Honky-Tonk Girl by Charles Beckman, Jr.

honky_tonk_digestLike his short story “A Hot Lick for Doc,” from Justice (July 1955), Charles Beckman, Jr.’s Honky-Tonk Girl is a novel infused with jazz, hard luck, and bad decisions. Published in 1953 in a digest-sized paperback, Falcon Book #44, the book was reprinted by Wildside Press in 2011, with the Falcon cover painting. Gary Lovisi reviewed the novel in The Digest Enthusiast book five. Here’s an example of Beckman’s prose from Honky-Tonk Girl:

“She’d become a familiar sight around the bars and down on the beach. She’d come out of nowhere and she’d be around for a while, and then she’s suddenly disappear. That was the way of these girls.”

Jack Vance and the Golden Girl

luruluStories from Marvel Science Stories May 1951

By far this issue’s most poignant story is “Golden Girl” by Jack Vance. At first only a select few 
are allowed to see the alien female, brought to a small, private hospital by Bill Baxter, the man who found her amid the wreckage of her ship. “. . . it was rumored that the golden woman was beautiful. Young and fantastically beautiful.”

Bill appoints himself her guardian, but of course with no official standing, those in authority are quick to dismiss him. Fortunately, Lurulu, the golden girl herself, prefers Bill’s company to the other strangers vying for her attention—so he stays. And for a time that’s enough, until the story reaches its fateful end.

Vance must have liked the name of his female lead, his final novel, in 2004, was titled Lurulu, a sequel to Ports of Call (1998).

Magazine of Horror #15 Spring 1967


Magazine of Horror #15 Spring 1967 Cover by Virgil Finlay

“The Room of Shadows” by Arthur J. Burks (Weird Tales May 1936)
“The Flaw” by J. Vernon Shea
“The Doom of London” by Robert Barr (The Idler Nov. 1894)
“The Vale of Lost Women” by Robert E. Howard
“The Ghoul Gallery” by Hugh B. Cave (Weird Tales June 1932)
“Lilies” by Robert A. W. Lowndes (“Lure of the Lily” Uncanny Tales (Can) Jan. 1942)

Charles Beckman, Jr.’s A Hot Lick for Doc

beckmanA story from Justice Amazing Detective Mysteries #2, July 1955: “A Hot Lick for Doc” by Charles Beckman, Jr.

“Doc” DeFord, once a rising jazzman, lost his wife to his arranger, plunging him into a deep dive that winds up in Corpus Christie soaked in gin, surrounded by a handful of souls with similar hard-luck histories. Their lives entangle with Doc suspected of murder when he finds a dead drug smuggler instead of the pick-up he expected.

Beckman’s prose flows like a bluesman’s clarinet in this skid-row drama infused with jazz, drugs, sweat, and murder.

The scent of tamales and tequilla drifts in: “It came through the hotel window on a breeze that stirred a curtain faintly. The curtain brushed the nose of Doc Jim DeFord and woke him from a sodden, alcoholic sleep. He groaned and sat up, then grabbed at the bed post as his head swam off his shoulders and floated across the room.”

Pulpetti-Biblio has a long list of Beckman’s stories and pseudonyms.

Joe Wehrle, Jr.’s The Obvious Danger

obvious_dangerArtist and writer Joe Wehrle, Jr. has a story in every issue of The Digest Enthusiast, including book seven, which will be out in about a week. He often creates an illustration or two to go with his stories, like this one for “The Obvious Danger,” which appears in TDE5. Here’s the opening paragraph:

“The evening sun coaxed long shadowy fingers across the mossy ground, deepening the gloom within the small clearing. I had long since laid my book aside, content to just witness the grove’s nightly metamorphosis.”