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.