Tag Archives: Justice #2

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.

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.

Dorothy Dunn’s Blue Note

muders webA story from Justice Amazing Detective Mysteries #2, July 1955: “The Blue Note” by Dorothy Dunn.

A alcoholic PI, whose wife has left him, picks up a gun moll in The Blue Note tavern. She seems overly affectionate, and when he takes her home, he finds out why. She’s about to be snuffed and hopes her new bo will save her. The tone of Dunn’s near-noir story is excellent. Her tough PI is headed for the life of a skid row bum until the one redeeming element of his life resurfaces, giving him the strength to face his demons and maybe turn his life around.

Dunn wrote dozens of detective stories for pulps and digests including Black Mask, Detective Story Magazine, EQMM, and The Saint. Her novel, Murder’s Web was published by Pocket Book 1951).

John D. MacDonald’s In a Small Motel

justice2The opening story from Justice Amazing Detective Mysteries #2, July 1955: “In a Small Motel” by John D. MacDonald

A paranoid robber with a suitcase full of loot takes a room at the Belle View Courts and ignites the passions of the motel’s proprietress and her two suitors. Described on the back cover as “…a novelette about nice people—and the unpredictable little demons who lurk in the darkest corners of their minds.”