Back in 2015 I was pretty thrilled by Gardner Fox’s old historical The Borgia Blade. You can find that review here. I was quite pleased by that one, and a little surprised, as I had abandoned his Kothar sword-and-sorcery stories after several heroic efforts on my part. The Borgia Blade was in a whole different category, as you can see from my review.
I’ve since read another by him still far better than Kothar, but not in the same class as The Borgia Blade, which was so good I’ve continued to search for more gold in his body of work, aided by a list from my friend Morgan Holmes (sword-and-sorcery scholar extraordinaire) that had a whole slew of Fox’s historicals under his own name as well as those written under pseudonyms.
First up (just as soon as I finish some other books) is The Bastard of Orleans. After that will come another Gold Medal paperback, perhaps Terror Over London. I’ve never shared the fascination with Jack the Ripper that many people have, but Chris Hocking tells me that this book is supposed to have a good reputation. Read More
I intend to discuss them, and some of my other favorite Wade Miller titles, with Chris Hocking in an upcoming post. As I think we once mentioned, don’t go reading discussions, because many of those who discuss the novels carelessly reveal the solution to the mystery. And these really are so tightly plotted you’ll be hard pressed to know what’s going on until the end, so that kind of indifference is inexcusable. These are highly crafted mysteries.
I was just eager to read them — I didn’t mind if my editions were mis-matched, hence the different cover styles and sizes. You’re lucky. So long as you don’t mind e-books, you can find the whole set right here.
We’re not big video game players in my house. Every winter my wife and son break out some old video games — usually Zelda or Zelda like bright, friendly adventure/quest games from older platforms — and that’s about it. We’re not up on the latest graphic breakthroughs or gameplay techniques, so that if someone states that a game has “dated graphics” or has puzzles that are “too simple to solve” I’m generally not worried: A. even dated graphics usually look just fine to us, because they’re probably at least as good as the ones we’ve seen played B. people who regularly play games are more used to solving certain puzzles a certain way, and we haven’t seen them.
This winter, though, we didn’t play much. I guess we were tired of the same old games, finally. I wasn’t able to track down any new ones, and so the wife and son in particular were still wanting a fun diversion.
On Memorial Day I woke early, fully intending to play some of my solitaire wargames, probably Heroes of Normandy. But I turned instead to the revision of a World War II short story I’d been working on, the second of two I’ve written about the United States Airborne.
As I’ve grown older and grown a little wiser, I’ve come to appreciate the sacrifices of our veterans, many of whom were not as fortunate as my father, who made it back home (to be clear, he wasn’t in the airborne). I’ve been thinking about these men and women a lot more in the last year as I’ve been researching World War II, and as I spent a pleasant day with my family yesterday, I tried to savor all the things that I might once have taken for granted. Including the simple joy of all four of us being together and having fun. Even that is a freedom that I might not once have appreciated, and one that might not have been available without enormous risks taken by men and women whom I have never met.
Thank you, veterans.
When Chris Hocking and I set out to talk hardboiled fiction every Monday it turned out we (or maybe it was just me) were a little too ambitious. It was hard to keep up the steam, and to keep reading NOTHING but hardboiled for months and months. But we’re returning to discuss great hardboiled fiction as an occasional feature of this web site.
Originally we were discussing all books from this list in order. From here on out we’ll be skipping around. We’ll be trying to cover one subject a month, and I’ll also be trying to provide advanced notice. If you want to see our previous hardboiled discussions, you can access the master list here. Today we’re discussing the well-named Mammoth Book of Private Eye Stories. Read More
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