Shock Mystery Tales July 1962

shock_7_1962“Soft Brides for the Damned!” by James Barnett
“Black Chapel!” by Richard Shaw
“Vengeance of the Devil’s Mistress!” by Art Crockett
“Handmaidens of the Monster!” by Alan Lance
“Evil Stalks the Night!” by F. X. Fallon
“Night of the Walking Dead!” by Jim Arthur
“In the Name of Terror!” by Larry Dickson
“The Crypt Speaks!” by Harvey Berg
“Satan’s Ballet!” by Bill Ryder

Ambrose Bierce’s A Horseman in the Sky

horseman_skyStories from Suspense Magazine #2 Summer 1951: “A Horseman in the Sky” by Ambrose Bierce

Bierce’s stories feature wit, irony and a healthy dose of skepticism about the human condition. Perhaps his most famous short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” was first published in The San Francisco Examiner. The Examiner was also the original source for this story, a fine example of the writer’s talent exploring a favorite theme of his: war—in this case the American Civil War.

Nostalgia Digest Summer 2017

ND_sum_2017_500The swimsuit issue, with a gorgeous Elizabeth Taylor cover, is out on newsstands now for your beach-reading pleasure. The balance of the suntanned beauties inside include Ann Miller, Marilyn Monroe (via ND Summer 2007 cover repro), Ellen Drew, Susan Hayward, Betty Grable, Alice Faye, Ida Lupino, Dolores Del, James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Gloria Grahame, Mary Martin, Fred Allen, Portland Hoffa, Buster Keaton, Lucille Ball, Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, and Debbie Reyolds.

Hello, Out There in Radioland! by Steve Darnall
“A Few Moments with . . . Harry Shearer” (uncredited)
“Lucky Town” by Bill Jackson “How a veteran of children’s television became the Mayor of Cartoon Town”
Paul Muni “The Actor’s Actor” by Stone Wallace
“A Mid-Century Night’s Team” by Clair Schulz (Chicago White Sox)
Helen Forrest “Little Girl Blue” by Ted Mosser
“How the West was Won . . . On Radio!” by Jack French
“Once More onto the Beach . . .” Swimsuit pictorial
“Abbott and Costello Meet the War Bond Kid” by Jeffrey S. Miller
Mail Call

Plus, the Radio Program Guide for Those Were the Days

Editor: Steve Darnall
Nostalgia Digest Summer 2017
5.5” x 8.5” 64 pages, b&w interior
$4.50 on newsstands
Four-issue subscription $17
Eight-issue subscription $30
Nostalgia Digest website

Suspense Novel #2

suspense_novel_2The second Suspense Novel was an original, The Case of the Lonely Lovers by Will Daemer, published in 1951. A pseudonym, Will Daemer, is an anagram for Wade Miller, the writing team of Robert Wade and Bill Miller, who also wrote as Dale Wilmer (another anagram) and more famously as Whit Masterson and Wade Miller. Perhaps their most famous novel as Whit Masterson, Badge
 of Evil (1956), was the source of Orson Welles’ screenplay for his film noir classic Touch of Evil (1958).

The Wade/Miller team wrote over thirty novels together. Their lifelong friendship began in childhood; they attended San Diego State together and even enlisted in the US Air Force in unison. Both writers were born in 1920. Bill Miller died much earlier, in 1961, while Robert Wade lived to the age of 92, until his death in 2012.

After 1961, Wade continued his writing career as a solo novelist and a movie and television scriptwriter. He was honored with several awards over his career, including the Private Eye Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1988.

The Case of the Lonely Lovers opens with a dark-eyed, young woman, one Betty Ackerman, dressed in a gayly flowered frock, running for her life. She chances upon an isolated house, its reluctant owner, Robert Muir, and his massive dog, Kahn. Only the mystery of what and why loom larger than the danger and desperation hinged on her disagreeable host, reluctant to help a damsel so obviously in need.

She explains she was kidnapped and how she only escaped by a stroke of luck. She pleads for him to believe her, to which he replies, “It doesn’t make any difference whether I believe you or not.”

A knock interrupts their strained conversation. A voice through the door, a police detective yells, “We’re looking for an escaped prisoner by the name of Betty Ackerman . . . I’d like to take a look around.”

But the ornery churl shares his aversion to the needs of others freely. He denies the detective entry, seeing it as the shortest route to end further interruption and investigation. Betty is quick to capitalize, and ekes out permission to stay the night, as he grudgingly unlocks one of the upstairs bedrooms for her.

Ed Lynskey, on MysteryFile. com, quotes the back cover copy from Evil Come, Evil Go, about Wade and Miller’s writing process. In part: “After discussing an idea at length, they outline extensively.” For me, this technique shows prominently in the tight plotting of The Case of the Lonely Lovers.

Tension builds masterfully as the fog of mystery behind “The Case” slowly clears. A conspiracy, with Betty unknowingly thrust into its center, in the fight of her life. As the main plot heats up, Wade and Miller simultaneously fuel the romantic triangle of Betty, her boyfriend Glen Proctor, and Muir, as she steadily thaws the cold heart of her reluctant host.

Most of the prose is purposefully composed, driving the plot, character depth or the emotional impact of the action. But a few lines stand out as more poetic, like this one near the climax: “She blamed the thin fog that had been sucked inland by yesterday’s heat and drifted like a grey broth at the windows.”

Like the first Suspense Novel, The Case of the Lonely Lovers is a terrific read, one that seems perfectly ripe for a new printing.

Mystery Weekly Magazine June 2017

Mystery_Wkly_6_2017_500Mystery Weekly Magazine is a joint venture from Charles F. Carter (Publisher) and Kerry Carter (Editor), based in Ontario. “The name Mystery Weekly refers to the stories published in our weekly newsletter. These sample stories are intended to build awareness of our paid monthly issues, which include our weekly stories plus bonus stories and content. Our monthly magazine is delivered to subscribers in PDF, Mobi and ePub formats, and is distributed worldwide through Magzter and Amazon in digital and print formats.”

“The Juggler’s Brew” by Arthur Davis
A birth injury takes control of a man who transforms into a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde murderer.

“Karma” by Jim Farren
A bank heist getaway goes horribly wrong.

“Too Good To Be True” by C.M. West
Artist, Tru Jameson, gets in deep when he answers the call of a friend who ran away with the circus. Evie’s partner in her knife-throwing act has disappeared and she asks Tru for back up in finding the rumored, illicit after-hours show.

“Polly” by Antony Mann
What do you do when the girl you love doesn’t love you back? Murder is always an option.

“The Feast” by Natalie Satakovski
A cell of the Melbourne mafia meet to discuss the issue of a recalcitrant member. With the Don’s power waning, and each party harbouring his own ulterior motives, the conversation at dinner takes them to places they could never have imagined.

“The Ring of Truth” by David Afsharirad
Truth is stranger than fiction when a young tennis pro woos and wins the wife of the world’s most famous author.

“Dogged by Death” a you-solve-it mystery by Laird Long

Mystery Weekly Magazine June 2017
Publisher: Chuck Carter
Editor: Kerry Carter
7.5” x 10” 68 pages
POD $4.75, Kindle $2.99, Magzter $1.99
Mystery Weekly Magazine website

Morpheus Tales #30

MT-30There have been two issues since I last posted anything about Morpheus Tales. Issue #30 was published in May 2017. The digest seems to have shifted from a print and digital model to strictly digital.

A year ago when I exchanged emails with MT editor, Sheri White, she reported her readership was about 50/50 print and digital. She also said, “I think digital sales continue to grow, and we’ve built a large back catalogue of issues which continues to sell, which doesn’t get so much attention in print, unless we do special offers, which we do regularly. Print seems to need to be pushed, digital sales just seem to come in steadily.”

Perhaps that explains the shift.

Morpheus Tales is also publishing a line of books, some of which are available in print and digital and some digital only.

Morpheus Tales website

Weirdbook #35

Weirdbook-35_500The second issue of Weirdbook’s new quarterly schedule has arrived. Editor Doug Draa received over 350 submissions, so you can bet those that made the cut are gems of bizarre, horrid, adventurous, fantastical weirdness.

From the Editor’s Tower by Doug Draa
“The Pullulations of the Tribe” by Adrian Cole
“A Queen of Carpathia” by K.A. Opperman (verse)
“The Dead of Night” by Christian Riley
“Mother of My Children” by Bruce L. Priddy
“Queen of the Bats” by K.A. Opperman (verse)
“The Man Who Murders Happiness” by John R. Fultz
“A Handful of Dust” by Tom English
“Taken from the Tcho Tcho People’s Holy Codex” by Frederick J. Mayer (verse)
“Revolution à l’Orange” by Paul Lubaczewski
“Fiends of the Southern Plains” by Patrick Tumblety
“The Pyrrhic Crusade” by Stanley B. Webb
“The Migration of Memories” by Charles Wilkinson
“When Wolfsbane Blooms” by K.A. Opperman (verse)
“Maquettes” by Paul St John Mackintosh
“In the Shadows” by J.S. Watts
“The Dinner Fly” by James Matthew Byers (verse)
“The Spot,” by C.R. Langille
“Schism in the Sky” by Donald McCarthy
“To Roam the Universe” Forgotten and Free” by Janet Harriett
“Rejuvenate” by Lily Luchesi
“Vigil Night” by Lorenzo Crescentini
“Strange Jests” by Jessica Amanda Salmonson (verse)
“Dead Clowns for Christmas” by L.J. Dopp
“The Tale and the Teller” by Darrell Schweitzer

Weirdbook Vol. 2 #5, whole #35 published May 2017
Publisher/Executive Editor: John Gregory Betancourt
Editor: Doug Draa
Consulting Editor: W. Paul Ganley
Production Team: Steve Coupe, Ben Geyer, Helen McGee, Karl Würf
Cover: Grandfailure/Fotolia
194 pages, 6” x 9”
$12.00 in Print, $3.99 in Kindle from
$3.99 from Magzter
Wildside Press website

Weirdbook #34 is reviewed in The Digest Enthusiast book six

Black Gat #11

Black-Gat-11_500Author, publisher, and bookseller, Gary Lovisi is a frequent contributor to The Digest Enthusiast. He is also the editor/publisher of Paperback Parade, which celebrates and educates readers about paperback books of every genre. I imagine seeing his own stories published in the classic PBO format he loves must give Gary a special kind of thrill.

Sherlock Holmes & Mr. Mac is a Black Gat Books Original. It’s the eleventh book in the highly-collectible series, an imprint of Stark House Press. Booklist calls it “A must-read for Holmes devotees.”

Mr. Mac is Scotland Yard Inspector Alec MacDonald. He enlists the aid of Sherlock Holmes to solve two different cases: “The Affair of Lady Wescott’s Lost Ruby” and “The Case of the Unseen Assassin.”

Stark House Press and Black Gat Books are produced in the traditional method of print, then distribute. They are available from crime fiction booksellers, big box online book retailers, and directly from Stark House. Get yours before they’re sold out.

Captain Future Returns

Captain-Future500In the afterword to Avengers of the Moon author Allen Steele writes about his discovery of Captain Future and the Futuremen in a Popular paperback reprint he found on a drugstore spinner rack at the age of 11. His introduction to the series was similar to mine, which is to say, I anxiously awaited his revival of the characters in a new adventure.

Avengers of the Moon is as much a reimagining of the cast’s origin story as it is a new adventure, with both tightly woven together into a seamless space opera. Steele’s novel is remarkably true to the series’ roots, but updates its science and technology from its 1930s era. The entire cast is present and accounted for: Curt Newton, Otho, Grag, Simon Wright, Joan Randall, Ezra Gurney, and Ul Quorn. Each remains true to their character, but updated with current social sensibilities. Even the inane infighting between Otho and Grag, along with their pets Eek and Oog are present, but Steele wisely tones it down several notches. It’s there for a moment of nostalgia, and then he thankfully moves on with the story.

For fans, I think Avengers of the Moon rates five stars. Without the history, a newcomer won’t feel the same sense of wonder as each old friend makes their entrance, and may not have the same appreciation for their characterizations. Despite handling the task very well, it does require breaking into the momentum of the story.

Now that the whole crew has been reintroduced and recast, here’s hoping the next one will rocket us into the future and never let go until its last page.

F. Hugh Herbert’s Perfectly Calm Murder

KISS-2Stories from Suspense Magazine #2 Summer 1951: “The Perfectly Calm Murder”
by F. Hugh Herbert.

A man who has just murdered his much older wife, recounts how he came to the deed and where he slipped up in getting away with it.

Herbert was a playwright and screenwriter. His play, Kiss and Tell ran on broadway for years and was made into a film, released in 1945, starring Shirley Temple as Corliss Archer. A sequel, A Kiss for Corliss (1949), retitled as Almost a Bride, was scripted by Howard Dimsdale. The sequel co-stared David Niven and was Temple’s final film at the age of 21.