Monday, July 22, 2019
“A Piece of Something Big” by Harry Reed: Curtis Kruger is locked up in an Arizona jail when a mob lawyer bails him out and brings him to California where he’s to do a job for the mob capo B.J. Baldoni. Baldoni claims that his daughter is enamored with a black boxer, and he wants Kruger to beat the boxer up. Kruger may be small, but he has a kung fu iron fist. While serving in the Navy in Japan Kruger had boxed, but after discharge remained in Japan to study karate, eventually calcifying one of his hands into a deadly weapon. He does beat up the black boxer, but that gentleman ends up dead from the strike of an iron fist, and Kruger is tagged with his murder. There is a lot of mystery behind what is going on. Thankfully, Kruger has a buddy in the police department who knew him in the Navy, and believes he is being set up. In fact, there is a Japanese karate expert with an iron hand in the background who wants Kruger dead, and he’s waiting around to do the killing himself. There is quite a bit of karate in the action, and even the background reminds the reader of Burns Bannion, an ex Army Ranger who stayed in Japan to study karate. I’m sure the Bannion novels were a model for this novel, and it is a good story. The book was published in 1972, shortly after the Bannion run, and copyright by Josephine Reed, which may mean Harry was dead by the time the book was released. That, or Josephine Reed wrote the book, which I highly doubt. The writing is too masculine. It is a very good read.
Thursday, July 18, 2019
The Tokaido Road by Lucia St Clair Robson. Promoted as a Japanese erotica and martial arts novel, I would question the claim of erotica, as it just wasn’t there. However, martial arts fans will enjoy all the action. This is feudal Japan, probably in the 1400s. When her father fails to bribe the official, Lord Kira correctly, he is removed and his name pulled from record. He commits suicide, which is the only thing left for him to do. However, his daughter wants his named revenged. Kinume Asano, known as Cat, and her mother have no way to survive, so Cat sells herself to a pleasure house. But Lord Kira is keeping an eye on her, and serves her a blowfish not properly prepared. Her client eats the fish and dies, but she knows it was meant for her. She changes clothes with the dead man and escapes. Now she must travel the Takaido Road to reach her sensei, Lord Asano’s samurai, and her master. The story is Lady Asano’s journey down this long and dangerous road, the adventures she has, and the friends she meets along the way. Of course, Lord Kira has his samurai harassing her along the way, but they don’t know that Cat is a master samurai also, and she makes them look like fools. However, the journey is hard and dangerous, and the companions she meet teaches her many things, like how to be humble, and trust in others. Even love comes hard for her, until she discovers how others see her, and are willing to suffer hardships for her. This was an exciting read, and I felt there could be only one ending to the journey. I kept dreading the final page, knowing it could only end one way. I will say no more, as I would give the end away, but I encourage readers to read this yarn to the last page. The action and adventure will keep you turning the pages. Highly recommended.
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Joel Jenkins: He lives in the misty reaches of the Great Northwest, shadowed in the perpetual gloom of the Rainier Mountain. This former rock vocalist for such bands as Static Condition and Red Die #5 enjoys spending time with his family, weightlifting, weapons collecting, and oil painting. Joel wrote The Dust of Death, featuring Eel & Adder. The story first appeared in
DDT #28, and later reprinted in TALES OF MASKS & MAYHEM Vol 3.