Sunday, December 01, 2013

The Horror Fiction Review has weighed in on The Dead Sheriff. The  review is here, about halfway down the page. I've been a huge fan of HFR since it was a printed 'zine, and to get a nice review from them is a big thrill.

If the review moves you to order a copy of the book, you can do that here.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Doc Savage: The Miracle Menace

When I heard about the new “wild” adventures of Doc Savage, I had some misgivings. I thought the price was a bit high and I was afraid the larger page counting would lead to story padding. The original Doc novels were lean adventures (even leaner as the series aged).

Also, when author Will Murray wrote several Doc Savage novels for Bantam books in the early 90s, I thought they were rather hit and miss.

My thinking has changed.

It started with Skull Island, Murray’s story of Doc Savage meeting King King. It took place early in Doc’s career, before he had officially begun his life’s work of crusading again evil. The novel was a grand adventure, with an exciting plot and a wealth of detail about Doc’s family and his unusual upbringing. I had no qualms with the size or the price or the writing.        

Now comes The Miracle Menace.

In the latest Doc novel, Murray tells two stories that finally converge into one epic. In the first thread, out of work magician Gulliver Greene and his assistant Spook Davis encounter strange happenings in La Plata, Missouri (the hometown of original Doc Savage author Lester Dent) involving a murdering midget, a suspicious religious cult, telepathy and the rumor that Christopher Columbus is alive and well in 20th Century Missouri. In the parallel story, Doc Savage and his aides investigate a mansion in the Missouri woods that disappears and appears at random.

When the two sections of the novel finally come together, Murray dishes out an explosive finale, including shocking revelations about the past of some of the characters and the appearance of a villain from an earlier Doc novel. The secret of the vanishing house proves to be one of the most amazing mysteries of Doc Savage’s career.

Wild adventures, indeed.

With Skull Island and The Miracle Menace, I was as captivated and entertained as I was when I first discovered Doc Savage as a kid. Back then, those classic James Bama covers drew me in with the promise of action and mystery. Now Joe De Vito paints Doc’s covers and the last two have been spectacular.

I have gone back and found that some of the earlier Murray Doc novels that I had a problem with have magically gotten better.

Apparently the 12 year-old inside of me has issued an order to relax and enjoy the new Doc Savage novels. The older I get the more that kid seems to get the best of me.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Silent Night: A Spenser Holiday Novel by Robert B. Parker and Helen Brann

One of the final projects begun by author Robert B. Parker before his death in 2010 was this novel featuring his ageless sleuth Spenser helping a homeless boy during the Christmas season. Parker wrote only 17 pages before his passing, and since the book was under contract, his longtime agent Helen Brann stepped in to finish the novel, with the consent of Parker’s family.

To my surprise, Brann captures the voice of Spenser almost perfectly, as well as those of Susan and Hawk. In fact, Brann may write a better Spenser than Ace Atkins, the author selected to carry on the series. There are no real surprises in the book (just as there were none in Parker’s last several novels). On the other hand, I never read the books for their innovative plots. Like most of Spenser's readers, I came back for the characters and Parker's unique authorial voice.

Speaking of the plot, Brann handles the story pretty well, including the requisite holiday moments that aren’t nearly as out of place as I’d feared.

The one facet of the book where I found Brann lacking was the action scenes, which are light on detail. Despite that, the novel stands on its own, as good as the last few Parker-written Spensers. It was nice to revisit these beloved characters again, particularly knowing the book contains Parker’s last few Spenser pages.

It wouldn’t break my heart if Brann alternated with Atkins on future Spenser novels.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Pod of Horror #70

The stake has been pulled from the heart of Pod of Horror and our moldy slumber is over. We’re back with PoH #70, featuring horror writer Jonathan Janz, author and Stephan King expert Bev Vincent, Jason L. Keene’s Moonshine Matinee and all the news that fits in the Call of Kalanta. Pod of Horror # 70 is produced and hosted by Mark Justice. You can listen here.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Here's the first trailer for the next Cap movie, coming out in April in the U.S. This introduces the Falcon.

Here's the film's official description: 

After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier finds Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy—the Winter Soldier.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

New Story

Actually, it's a novelette (shorter than a novella, longer than a short story) in Volume 4 of Jim Anthony, from Airship 27th.

Jim Anthony was a Doc Savage imitator for a short time during the pulp era. He was super-strong, super-smart, rich, etc. Unlike Doc, Big Jim loved the ladies. He had a Native American grandpa and a secret hideout called the Wigwam. For a while his stories were wild and wacky. Later, he was tamed down and turned into your run of the mill pulp detective. 

My story (and, I presume, the others in the book) is set during the "fun" era. I know I had fun writing the story. I don't produce much pulp fiction anymore (yeah, The Dead Sheriff is pulpy, but I consider it equally part of the horror genre) so it was a hoot to read the story again. It was written several years ago and, in my biased opinion, it still holds up.

Here's an Amazon link for ordering it.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mark In Mayberry

Even though I haven't posted in a while, my Department of Justice column continues to appear each week in the Ashland Beacon.

In this week's edition, I recall a recent trip to Mayberry, where things have definitely not remained the same. You an read it here on page 2.

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Little More Movie News

Here's an article a local paper, The Daily Independent, ran on Sunday.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Looking No More

Graveside Tales, the publisher of Looking at the World with Broken Glass in My Eye, is gone. Or "on hiatus", as it was put to me. 

The company is apparently also closed off from all communications, so this next part is an assumption by me. Once the online booksellers run out of copies of the book, your only choice will be the secondary market. If you would like a copy, this would seem to be the best time to buy.

Here's the link to order from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Here's The Pub, Baby

Pub, as in publicity. Here's the official press release for the movie.

Justice’s “Lonely Street” Set For Film Adaptation

Ashland, KY –– Local radio personality and writer Mark Justice is set to have one of his short stories adapted by local filmmaker Jason Jenkins. The story, a horror tale found in Justice’s collection
Looking at the World with Broken Glass in My Eye, is titled “Hell is a Lonely Street” and focuses on a murdered cop who finds himself in a very unusual afterlife. Jenkins will write and shoot the adaptation this Fall in the Tri-State area, likely with local actors and crew. He hopes to have the project fully completed by year’s end.

Justice hosts The Breakfast Club weekdays on 105.7 WLGC. He also writes a weekly column for the Ashland Beacon.

In addition to the collection. Justice has written The Dead Sheriff: Zombie Damnation, the first in a series of supernatural western novels and three books in the Dead Earth science fiction/horror series, co-written with David T. Wilbanks.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Tuna Time

It lasts about ten seconds at our house.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Movie Mania

It looks like one of my short stories will soon be turned into a short film. A talented local filmmaker is planning to lens the tale "Hell is a Lonely Street" from my collection Looking at the World with Broken Glass in My Eye.

I've seen this guy's work, and I'm can't wait to discover what he does with my creepy little story.

I'll keep you updated on the progress of the movie. 

Meanwhile, if you'd like to read the story, you can order the book here.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

In Case You're Interested

My column in this week's Ashland Beacon is a script for a new TV show about the inner workings of my favorite little newspaper. You can check it out on page 2.

On Tuesday, that edition moves to the archives and in the new issue, I'll have a special column about my 31st wedding anniversary.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Father's Day Tribute in Pulp

Dad was a big fan of westerns, and he introduced me to many TV, cinematic and literary cowboys. On Father's Day, it seems fitting to honor him with a few good western pulps.

And for a slightly more humorous take on life with my father, you can check out this week's edition of  my newspaper column. It should be up for a couple of more days. It's on page 2.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Sunday Pulp

Summer always puts me in a pulp mood. While reprints are great, sometimes there's nothing like the feel and smell of crumbling pulpwoody magazines to scratch that itch. Now I just have to decide what to read. To carefully read.

Friday, June 07, 2013

New Columns

Over at Horror World, I devote my column to a review of Stephen King's new novel Joyland. Read it here, if you're so inclined. 

And my weekly newspaper column tackles reader mail. It's on page 2.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Now Reading

My Phantom Detective reading has been spotty, and prior to this I hadn't read any of Laurence Donovan's Phantoms. Donovan, a Doc Savage ghost, as well as the man behind the Skipper and Whisperer (first series) novels, has a pretty energetic style here, giving these Phantom yarns the feel of Doc adventures, hence the title.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Just Downloaded to my Kindle

Part of me is amazed that I can read classic pulps on my phone. We're living in the future.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Now Reading

I'll admit it--one of my guilty pleasures is The Suicide Squad by Emile Tepperman.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Current and Future Reading

For those who are interested in this sort of thing.

Reading Now

Reading Next

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

I'll be spending some time today with my wonderful mother and, if you're fortunate enough to still have your mother, I hope you can do the same. 

For a tribute to my own mom, check out my column in this week's Ashland Beacon. It's on page 2.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Doc Savage: Skull Island

Before I launch into this, I want to cover a couple of things, in case I review more of these new adventures of Doc Savage.

First, the books cost too damn much. $24.95 is a hefty tag for a trade paperback. There are probably some financial necessities at work here. They’re selling to a niche readership, so they won’t be moving Stephen King numbers. Also, everybody has to make money. I get it. I just wish the price was closer to $14.95, so I don’t have to do so much soul-searching (and wallet-searching) before I order.

Secondly, these new Doc novels are generally (with a couple of exceptions) way too long. One of the appeals of the original Doc pulp novels (and most pulp novels, for that matter) was the length. You could easily cruise through one in an afternoon or two. The best of Lester Dent’s Doc Savages was the literary equivalent of being duct-taped to a rocket and blasted to the moon. Again, I’m assuming publishing conditions demand a longer product to justify the price. I’m just not sure the Doc Savage fan is getting the best possible product.

Now that I’ve gotten my objections out of the way, I’ll tell you that neither complaint applies to Doc Savage: Skull Island.

This is an original novel by Will Murray, author, pulp scholar and agent for the estate of the late Lester Dent, Doc Savage’s original main scribe.

The novel in brief: Doc Savage meets King Kong.

The novel begins after the fall of Kong from the Empire State Building where, as we all know, Doc Savage operates from the 86th floor. Doc was out of town during Kong’s rampage, but returns during the aftermath, and it falls to the Man of Bronze and his crew to remove the great beast’s corpse. Kudos to Murray for the nice role given to Renny, my favorite among Doc’s men, who engineers Kong’s transportation out of midtown.

Doc reveals to his men that he has met Kong before, and that he and the big ape saved each others’ lives.

The rest of the novel is the retelling of that saga from 1920, when Doc, a veteran of the Great War, joins his father to search the seas for Doc’s grandfather, the legendary and near-mythological clipper captain Stormalong Savage.

To reveal any more of the plot would deny you the delight of this excellent adventure.

Murray has been writing Doc novels since the 90s, and this is easily his most ambitious and most successful. Unlike many of the Murray’s earlier Docs, this one does not feel bloated, nor does it suffer from the slightly disjointed narrative that has occasionally occurred, I assume,  from trying to make Dent’s original prose fit into a Murray novel.

Instead, Doc Savage: Skull Island reads like one of Murray’s Destroyer novels: loose, fast-paced, thrill-a-minute. If this is what he can do with Doc when freed from the constraints of following 80-year-old plots and discarded bit of Dent’s novels, then I hope Murray can find a way to produce more Doc Savage novels whole-cloth from his imagination.

Doc Savage fans will love the many bits of lore revealed over the course of the book, from family history to the name of Doc’s mother. Fans of adventure novels will cheer a story that reads like Clive Cussler with the boring parts removed. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if Murray tried his hand at a mainstream adventure thriller in the near future. Doc Savage: Skull Island is that good. For King Kong aficionados, there are many nods to the 1933 film, and the action on Skull Island is worthy of Burroughs or Robert E. Howard.

I only have one gripe: the author is inordinately fascinated with Doc’s trilling sound, the one affectation of the original pulp novels that I’ve always detested. On the other hand, if you’re down with the trill, then this book is practically blemish free.

Doc Savage: Skull Island is mandatory reading for Doc fans, and well-worth the price. It should be the same for anyone who loves a good, old fashioned adventure novel.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Best News of the Week

From Variety: 
‘Iron Man 3′ Director Shane Black Eyeing Sony’s ‘Doc Savage’ As Next Film

Read the full article here.

Come back tomorrow for my review of Doc Savage: Skull Island.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sabrina and Me

Just because it makes Monday a little better.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


My latest column for Horror Word is mostly about the writing of Dead Earth: Sanctuary. You can read it here.

In this week's column for the Ashland Beacon, I try to answer reader mail. It's on page 2.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Monday, April 01, 2013

Judging Dead Earth

The first review is in for Dead Earth: Sanctuary, courtesy of Hellnotes. You can read it here.

And since I've run the cover of the book several times in posts, I have opted to give you a photo of a kitten with an automatic weapon.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

You Have Found Sanctuary

Or you will, when you click this link.

Dead Earth: Sanctuary is the third book in the series written by David T. Wilbanks and me. The first was the introductory novella Dead Earth: The Green Dawn. The second was Dead Earth: The Vengeance Road. Both are available by clicking on the titles.

For those who don't relish scrolling down a few entries, here's the book's description:

After stopping a madman who controlled an undead army and barely surviving the destruction of the aliens responsible for the plague that decimated humanity, Jubal Slate leads a small band of humans across the shattered landscape of America, fighting off the forces of the living and the dead. The group races north pursuing a legend, a post-apocalyptic fairy tale: a town protected from the walking dead. Tired of the war and his nomadic life, Slate follows the path to Sanctuary, even while doubting its existence. Along a journey filled with hordes of zombies, Slate and his companions face new enemies and find themselves pursued by the final weapon of the vanquished necros. Is sanctuary even possible on a dead Earth? And if so, is the cost more than Jubal Slate is willing to pay?
Even after alien invasion and zombie armies, Slate will discover that the worst horrors are home grown.

Here are some other Dead Earth: Sanctuary links to make it convenient for you to purchase the book in whatever format you prefer:






I hope you enjoy the novel, which is chock full of action, blood and guts and zombies, and maybe--just maybe--some nice character moments. As always feedback is appreciated.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Dead Sheriff in Rue Morgue

Rue Morgue is one of the best magazines covering the horror field. For my money, they're the best, because they cover comics, music and books, in addition to films. So to find out that they reviewed The Dead Sheriff, however briefly, is a pretty big deal to me. Here's the review. If you're a horror fan, please support Rue Morgue. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dead Sheriffs and Pickles

Geek's Podcast has a nice review of The Dead Sheriff. Peruse it here.

And this week's column in the Ashland Beacon is another stirring tale from deep within the Pactolus Pickle Processing Plant. You'll find it here on page 2.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The King Rises Again

I'm a little behind in reminding you of this. It's been a crazy week here at Casa de Justice, causing the schedule to swirl right down the toilet. 

This week's column in the Freakin' Ashland Beacon concerns another encounter with the semi-retired King of Rock .n. Roll, Elvis. You can read it here on page 2.

Friday, February 01, 2013

New Dead Earth

The little zombies 'n' aliens series that keeps on giving is back. Or, will be back soon.

I don't have a release date, but Audible lists the audiobook as being available on March 26.

Here's the description from Amazon:

After stopping a madman who controlled an undead army and barely surviving the destruction of the aliens responsible for the plague that decimated humanity, Jubal Slate leads a small band of humans across the shattered landscape of America, fighting off the forces of the living and the dead. The group races north pursuing a legend, a post-apocalyptic fairy tale: a town protected from the walking dead. Tired of the war and his nomadic life, Slate follows the path to Sanctuary, even while doubting its existence. Along a journey filled with hordes of zombies, Slate and his companions face new enemies and find themselves pursued by the final weapon of the vanquished necros. Is sanctuary even possible on a dead Earth? And if so, is the cost more than Jubal Slate is willing to pay?

Even after alien invasion and zombie armies, Slate will discover that the worst horrors are home grown.


I'll let you know when the book is available for pre-order.

Now back to writing the next Dead Sheriff.  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sports' Most Shameful Secret

It's juicing.

Juicing in checkers.

And, finally, somebody's talking about it.

That would be me, and I do it right here on page 2.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Flu Done Shooed

My second bout with the flu (or something that seems very flu-y) has come and gone, so I can peek out long enough to update a couple of things. 

First, my column this week in the Ashland Beacon answers reader questions. As always, it's on page 2.

And, tonight, I'll once again venture into that Internet radio den of despair known as The Funky Werepig, joined this time by my Pod of Horror co-host, the Goddess of Horror World, Nanci Kalanta. You can listen live tonight at 9:00 PM eastern. I'm told there's a chat room, too.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Death of the Death Star

The recent news item about the US rejecting an online petition asking for the government to construct a Death Star caught the attention of a lot of people. I found this on the Tumblr feed of Future Journalism Project:

The White House responds to the Death Star Petition
In response to a petition at We the People, Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, writes:
Even though the United States doesn’t have anything that can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, we’ve got two spacecraft leaving the Solar System and we’re building a probe that will fly to the exterior layers of the Sun. We are discovering hundreds of new planets in other star systems and building a much more powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope that will see back to the early days of the universe.
Besides, he adds, “The Administration does not support blowing up planets.”

Well played. Very well played.

The Artless Art of Whining

I read a lot of blogs, primarily those of writers. I probably read too many of them. But discovering the struggles of other writers makes me feel better when my own writing isn’t going well. Misery loves etc., etc.

I used to read the blog of a writer who had some prominence in my youth. He hasn’t done much in a long, long time and he spews a lot of anger toward publishers. He expresses it on a regular basis, then every couple of weeks he tells his readers how lucky he is because he has a great family, and the evil publishers and Internet trolls who are trying to destroy him can never touch that.

It’s a great sentiment, except that it’s delivered in the tone of a man trying to convince himself, as if he’s chanting a mantra to ward off monsters under his bed.

It makes me a little sad for him, and I’ve decided not to check in on his page as often as I had. I'm sure the gentleman in question is working through some important and long-festering issues, and I wish him all the best with that.

I bring this up to ask a favor: if I ever get mopey and self-pitying here (and face it, we all have our moments) and I go on too long about it, you have my permission to smack me in the head.

Now, since this was a decidedly unfunny subject, here’s a local news reporter who tries to say “asphalt” and says “asshole” instead:

Friday, January 11, 2013

On-Air Justice

Photo by Kevin Goldy/The Daily Independent

My wife is now doing the afternoon show at my radio station. It's great to be able to listen to her again on a daily basis (she's hasn't had a regular show since the late 80s, though she's on the air with me for a segment every morning). 

One of our local newspapers did a story on her return to the airwaves, and you can read it here.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Nothing Butt The Truth

My column in this week's Freakin' Ashland Beacon is all about the true, totally non-embellished story of my butt surgery from some years ago. Yes, I once again unselfishly make an ass of myself for you, my readers. Read all about it on page 2 by clicking here.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

A New Beginning

 My first column of the year for The Freakin' Ashland Beacon, and my first under my exciting new week-to-week contract, is up now. You can read it here. It's on page 2.