Awards & Reviews

Pulpfest #1 is now over, and was a great success! There were over 350 attendees, plus 100 dealer’s tables, and lots of pulps. Bill Thom was the winner of the first Munsey Award, which replaces the Lamont Award. He wasn’t in attendance, so Matt Moring accepted for him Bill received the Echoes Award back in 1996, and was overdue recognition from the pulp community for his dedication and service to our community. So the Munsey Award was well deserved.

Speaking of the Echoes Award, the 2009 Echoes Award went to Matt Moring for his dedication and service to the pulp community. It’s good that our people are being recognized for all that they are doing within the community today. Let’s remember to congratulate both Bill and Matt for these awards, and thank them for their service to the community!

Some more good news, apparently Altus Press books sold very well from Mike Chomko’s tables. Good news for me, I heard that a lot of copies sold of both The Phantom Detective Companion and The History of The Purple War. And I understand that Matt picked up a lot of pulp treasures this year. He also gathered up some F&SF magazine give-aways for me, since I’m stuck in the middle of nowhere and can’t get copies. Thanks, Matt!

After over two months, there’s still no review of Eden’s Children, but Ginger and I did review a couple of books, so I thought I’d Post them this time around.


PAST SINS (Police Procedurals)
ISBN #978-1-890096-40-3
By John L. French
Padwolf Publications, Inc.
$16.00 paperback
216 pages
5-Star Rating

Baltimore Police Department cop, Matthew Grace wasn’t beyond planting evidence to convict the bad guys, and when he’s forced to leave the Force, becomes a licensed P.I. “Past Sins” contains 17 masterfully written short stories featuring John French’s popular detective that originally appeared in such magazines as Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Detective Mystery Stories, Classic Pulp Fiction Stories, and several others over the years.

The author is a crime scene supervisor with the Baltimore Police Department Crime Laboratory, and each story rings with reality while entertaining the reader. The writing is superb, and Matthew Grace comes alive in these stories of hardboiled police cases, based on the author’s experiences on the streets of one of the most dangerous cities in the country. Each crime is different, and a subtle clue leads Grace to the climax in every adventure.

It’s refreshing to read a police procedural by an actual crime scene investigator with such credentials as John French. You won’t find soap opera dialogue or sloppy police techniques in these stories, and the clues are based on real evidence often found at the scene of crimes, not made-for-television episodes. After reading “Past Sins”, the reader will want to learn more about Private-Eye Matthew Grace, and his pals on the Baltimore Police Department.

Ginger Johnson, Editor

Detective Mystery Stories

DREAM ROOM (True Crime)
ISBN #978-0-9818400-2-4
By Chet Nicholson
Oakley Publishing Company, Inc.
$17.95 paperback
417 pages
3-Star Rating

Chet Nicholson’s writing is superb, and his storytelling keeps the reader turning pages!

The author has dramatized actual events surrounding the so-called Dixie Mafia that operated in the Gulf Coast and Deep South from the 1940s through the later half of the century. Although based on real life events, Chet Nicholson tells the story in a fictionalized dialogue as he follows the reign of crime from the early stages of murder and robbery to gambling, prostitution, and dope.

The story is told in short sequences as the characters are fleshed out, until small-time hoods become crime lords ruling the South. The author keeps the reader turning pages as he unravels the long years of terror. It’s as dirty as any criminal enterprise anywhere. That it lasted for so long can be credited to our lenient judicial system, and the bribery of police officials.

This book is a must for readers interested in True Crime. If you read it as a work of fiction, or as actual accounts of the Dixie Mafia, you are in for a treat. The author takes you on a roller coaster ride that doesn’t let up, and you’ll find a thrill on every page!

From a great cover to the author’s story-telling ability, this is an interesting account of a violent period in the South. Chet Nicholson is an intelligent writer, and the sequences keep the reader involved. However, the dialogue is one of the drawbacks to an otherwise fine story. These characters are, for the most part, uneducated southern gangsters. The dialogue makes them sound like college graduates out for a good time; there is a lot of cussing, but the characters would have been more realistic with more southern background in their language.

Tom Johnson, Editor
Detective Mystery Stories

Phantoms And Such

August 4, 2009

Unsung Pulp

August 4, 2009