This blog no longer functions correctly(not able to add JPGs. videos, or links to a post). Text only and That won’t do. I started a new blog, BIG DADDY’S PLACE, and the address is:
What makes it difficult is his superiors don’t believe his information or just don’t care. To keep them from stopping him, he quits, turning in his badge, and heads out to meet up with a friend on the force who’s meeting him at the station with his valise and ticket.
The tall target of the title is the new President-elect who’s headed for his inauguration in D.C. with a stopover in Baltimore for a speech beforehand.
The time is 1861 and it’s Abraham Lincoln’s assassination he wants to stop. He finds his friend murdered and the film is him looking for a killer on a train.
Will Geer plays a train conductor(this was before he was blacklisted for ten years for refusing to co-operate with HUAC), a very young Ruby Dee as Rachel, a slave maid, Marshal Thompson as a southern killer. and Adolphe Menjou as a militia colonel aboard the train.
Oh, one final note. This film was 1951. In a bit of a coincidence, the man trying to stop the assassination of Abraham Lincoln is named John Kennedy.
For more overlooked movies, drop in on Todd Mason over at Sweet Freedom.
2: Ironhorse – Robert Knott – continuation of Robert B. Parker’s western series with Cole and Hitch. I liked the Parker books, but then I like westerns.
3: Sixkiller, U. S. Marshal: Blood For Blood – William W. Johnstone with J. A. Johnstone the latest in the Walmart only for a year western series. I have to find my copies on the secondary markets with a less than pristine copy and more expensive at the same time. Don’t know why I continue to pick this, and other series, up. They are good though.
4: Charming – Elliott James: this sounded interesting when I read a review, so I latched onto a copy.
and the ebooks:
5: Trouble Man – Ed Gorman: an old western offered by James Reasoner’s new Rough Edges Press.
6: The Ravine – William Meikle: a weird western from a favorite author.
7: The Burglar Who Counted Spoons(review copy) Lawrence Block
8: The Remortal(review copy) – Ramsey Isler: a young street kid is offered immortality. All he has to do is kill his benefactor. Liked this one.
9: Stone Soldiers # 1: Mythical(review copy) – C. E. Martin: a military unit that fights monsters.
10: Stone Soldiers # 6: Armageddon Z(review copy) – C. E. Martin: latest in the military/monster series.
11: Bookscout – John Dunning: a short piece by Mr. Dunning. I always though his writing style great and he wrote a lot about books. He’s gotten another short work if I like this one.
12: Time Fall(review copy) – Timothy Ashby: a thriller I was asked to give a chance.
13: Legend of The Dawn western trilogy – J. R. Wright: all three novels in one ebook: BEFORE SUNDOWN, AFTER THE DAWN, and LEGEND OF THE FALL.
How would you like to be immortal? Basically, that was the offer given to teenage street kid Telly when he was rescued by a strange man named Van while being pursued by a drug dealer he’d ripped off for a few bucks.
There are only four immortals in the world. No one knows exactly, but there are legends. In the ancient past, some of the Gods wanted to offer immortality to mortals. As punishment, they were condemned to live among them.
There were a few rules. You can tell no one about it. You can’t harm another immortal. After fifty years as an immortal, one can try to move back to Godhood.
To do that, one must pick a successor and begin the training, after first exchanging blood. That sets off changes in the soon-to-be immortal. They don’t need to sleep. Or eat. And therefor no bodily functions. Drugs and alcohol don’t affect them.
When it’s time for the Ascension Rite, the old immortal is weakened and the successor is on the cusp, He must kill the master with the Amaranth Dagger, two thrusts into the heart, the only way an immortal can die.
Telly begins his training and meets the other three immortals. They don’t like Van and have plans of their own. You see, Van is different from the others. They all have aristocratic backgrounds, the only one born in this century traces his family line back to Julius Caesar, one of them. Van was merely a slave in his pre-immortal days.
I liked this book. Author Ramsey Isler has given us a metaphor of religion disguised as an adventure novel that is quite satisfying.
Would recommend this one. Can be found HERE.
Everyone wanted Dan Carver(Manuel Guitian). The vultures were gathering, both the “legal” and criminal. You see, Carver was about to get out of prison after twenty years. He’d been a gold shipper in his younger days and had apparently diverted a shipment of forty bags to a hiding place he wouldn’t reveal. He hadn’t spoken of it in all that time.
The legal vultures were the prison warden and Carver’s old partner, now apparently the mayor of the small town where the prison was located.
The criminals were a motley bunch: Preacher(Indio Gonzales), Apache Joe(Juan M. Solana), Travers(Luis Indoni), Jed Spotless(Ricardo Moyan), and the smartest of the bunch, Trash Benson(Spaghetti vet Anthony Steffen), our erstwhile hero.
Carver’ cell mate, Paco(Daniel Martin) is planning to break out and knows nothing of Carver’s history, though Carver believes different, thinking him placed there to worm the location of the gold from him.
Just as he’s breaking out, via a rope made of bed sheets, another such falls beside him, Trash Benson coming into the prison to get Carver out. Paco had left him tied up in the cell with the guard he’d tricked into coming in. They go back to get him and escape.
This sets off a chase with the gang of outlaws pursuing them, as well as the prison warden and a gang of guards, all the while with an unwilling Carver. They keep double-crossing each other, such that they are soon afoot, and the old man reluctantly agrees to split the gold with them. Albeit with a few dividends. He has to be carried, riding Paco piggyback most of the time.
Making progress until they come upon a wagon load of women, Molly’s Women of Ballet said the painted wagon, but the way they were dressed tells us their real profession. Carver is surprised to see Molly, who with a bit of prodding, remembers him and that he was a regular customer. Which gave the old man an idea. “Nothing like a woman to revitalize a man!”
The strain is too much and he has a heart attack. Benson gets him to write down the location of the gold, then tells Paco to memorize it, then burns it so no one else can get it. Unfortunately Paco can’t read and neither can Benson.
All they know is there’s something about a statue.
Then the run into the outlaw band of Hombre de Rojas(another spaghetti vet, Fernando Sancho), who’s somehow gotten word of a statue and is threatening the villagers who refuse to tell him where it’s hidden.
Benson and Paco have to outwit the bandits, the gang following them, and find the gold.
Not a bad film, though it came as the spaghetti western genre was starting to fade a bit. The writing credits had several hands listed, not always a good sign: Juan Bosch(who also directed) and Fabio Piccioni, screenplay, and Bosch, Picccioni, and Renato Izzo story.
Owen Daybright had been a a part of Acorn, the Strobie ranch for fifteen years, since he was eleven. Old Arch had plucked him, an orphan, from the railroad crew for one reason. He wanted a companion for his son, Lee, a wild, short tempered boy. He hoped Owen would be a calming influence.
No such luck. The wo hated each other and once Owen nearly killed Lee in a fight. Arch knew the truth of it.
Owen was foreman now and because of his great regard and affection for Arch, he looked after, and cleaned up after, Lee even though they didn’t like each other.
That’s what he was doing when he ran into Lily Fasken’s brothers, delivering groceries and five hundred to the mother of the new baby. He wants the name of the father. Lily won’t say and neither will Owen.
An older Faskin brother arrives, sent for, and the pair keep pressing Owen, fighting, threatening to kill him, but Owen doesn’t talk
It’s also round-up time and the Acorn ranch is part of a massive gathering, broken up into two divisions, Lee heading one, Owen the other.
Before it’s all over, Lee is conspiring with the Faskins, telling them Owen is the father, and planning his murder. He’s out to sell the Acorn part of the herd and disappear with the money, desert his wife who he’d hurriedly married when Lily became pregnant, and dumping Jen, his fiance at the time. Edith was more malleable than Jen(who’d known Owen and Lee since they were all kids).
VENGEANCE VALLEY was published in 1949 and made into a film in 1951 starring Burt Lancaster as Owen Starbright. It stuk pretty close to the novel until the end, cut out a character or two, and made Jen Lee’s wife.
Liked this one.
I always look forward to a BEAT TO THE PULP collection. David Cranmer and Elise Wright have put together a tough set of crime stories, most having previously appeared in David’s online magazine and one more.
A fine set of writers, only one new to me, but all guaranteed to give you stories worth the read.
1: ONE ASHORE IN SINGAPORE – Andrew Nette
2: DOE IN HEADLIGHTS – Patti Abbott
3: GUNPOINT – Fred Blosser
4: FAIR WARNING – Hilary Davidson
5: THE FOLLOW-THROUGH – Chris F. Holm
6: GRANNY PANTIES – Sophie Littlefield
7: THERE YOU ARE – Keith Rawson
8: THE BLOW JOBS – Josh Stallings
9: THE SPEED DATE – Kieran Shea
There’s even a story with real life Pinkerton Charlie Siringo. If one likes crime fiction, you can’t go wrong here. Available as book or ebook here.
Hank is a Colmarian, a fourth degree mutant who lives on the space station Belvaille. And has for a hundred and thirty-six years. He’s big and hard to hurt, skin so tough it repels small arms fire. He works as a negotiator among the station inhabitants. He carries two weapons: a four barreled shotgun, the bottoms loaded with buckshot, the tops with small steel pellets, four of each, and a Ontakian pistol, once owned by his several greats grandfather. Hank had never fired it, but it was reputed to be super powerful.
Belvaille is the most isolated of Colmarian space stations with all portals to it closed but one. Most of it’s inhabitants are, shall we say, on the lower end of civilization. Criminals that engage in all sorts of contraband and illegal activities.
Hank’s job is to keep things sort of civilized. He’s fair when he needs to be, very nasty when he has to be, and generally keeps things on an even keel.
Then one day, he gets word that the Colmarian navy is coming. With a host of ships, a couple of them Dreadnaughts, a single one capable of destroying Belvaille.
It sets off a panic and dumping, or hiding as much as they can, contraband.
Hank’s job gets harder and he wonders if the coming of the Colmarian Confederation has anything to do with his recent taking out of two Dredel Led, giant robots, that had landed on Belvaille and slaughtered anyone that got in their way before they disappeared into hiding.
But there was much worse coming and Hank will be called on to use all his negotiating skills to save the Colmarian Confederation and his beloved Belvaille.
Action packed, at times funny, I quite enjoyed this SF romp. Available here.
BLONDE INSPIRATION is the story of a man who wanted to be a writer. Jonathan Briggs(John Shelton), Johnny to most everybody, had been raised by his aunt and uncle, wealthy folk, who expected him to take up the family business. The aunt wasn’t happy with his desire to be a writer. “Writing is not work!” His uncle was different. After Johnny moved out, his aunt had gave him the give up this nonsense or leave speech, he left. His uncle visited him in his new one room apartment and slips him two thousand to tide him over until he can get his writing career going.
You see, Johnny had spent three years writing his novel, an historical, and realized he needed something to keep him alive until he could get it sold. He’d decided to write westerns for the pulps. DUSTY TRAILS was a weekly that featured stories by a “Dusty” King(Donald Meek). Johnny copied the style and sent them off, only to have them returned unread. His uncle inspires him to go down to their offices and demand they read his stories.
Phil Hendricks(Albert Dekker) and “Bitsy” Conway(Charles Butterworth) were publisher and editor. A fly by night operation about to go broke, they wangled a deal for $15,000 in a few weeks, but needed to put out three new issues or the deal was off. But Dusty King had backed out. he hadn’t been paid for months and refused to write anymore.
Poor Johnny came along at the wrong time. The pair of hucksters had already been told by the printer, “No money, no magazine!” They needed $1400 to satisfy the man. Suddenly Johnny was part owner and chief writer. He had a few stories in hand. All they needed was a couple of more, a question and answer column, cowboy’s corner, and a novel. And they had to be in the next day!
Margie Blake(Virginia Grey) was the magazine’s secretary and the only one with any sympathy for the very earnest young writer and helps him, typing on through the night. They manage to get it done and Johnny is happy at the thought of seeing his name in print. The only problem is that Hendricks and Conway use Dusty King on the stories. He’s upset, but the contract he’d signed was as a ghost writer.
In the meanwhile, the aunt has found out about the two thousand her husband gave him and wants it back. She offers Johnny his old job back, with a five dollar a week deduction until the two grand is paid back.
And the hucksters are pushing him to start on next week’s fiction. Once again Margie helps him and they slave without stop until it’s done. Johnny passes out from exhaustion. Dusty King is angry that they used his name on someone else’s stuff and sneaks into the magazine’s penthouse, drunk. He gets his hands on Johnny’s manuscripts for the magazine and is dancing along the balcony. Johnny and Margie, and the two hucksters arrive just in time to see him toss the pages into the air.
Too tired to do anymore, Johnny is out cold and the two men find his historical novel, stealing it. Margie tries to stop them, can’t, then leaves Johnny a note when she can’t wake him. He’s outraged when he wakes and rushes to the magazine to stop them. He won’t have his novel published in a cheap pulp magazine! He gets into a fight, then heads to the printer, but it’s too late. He tries to break the presses, but only gets arrested.
He’s mad at the two hucksters, mad at Margie, until he learns she got the printer to put his name on the issue. Still not happy about his “baby” being published in a pulp magazine, Johnny gets a rude awakening when he’s bailed out by the new owner of the magazine. Going to monthly publication, he gets hired to write a short movel a month at three cents a word. He’s told his novel is tripe, but perfect for the pulps> The public will buy everything he writes. And he sets down and reads his novel for the first time with a critical eye and realizes they’re right.
But he will write the best pulp stories they’ve seen he vows. And of course, since this would be classed today as a romantic comedy, well you know.
The script was by Marion Parsonnet based on a play by John Cecil Holms and was directed by Busby Berkeley.
For more overlooked movies, drop in at SWEET FREEDOM on Tuesdays.
1: Terror In The House: The Early Huttner, Vol. One – Henry Kuttner: Richard Robinson posted on this one and, being a longtime Kuttner fan, I found a new copy, shrink-wrapped, bubble-wrapped, packed in peanuts, at a very reasonable price.
2: ManHunter’s Mountain – Wayne D. Dundee: I’d already read this Cash Laramie short novel as an ebook, but had to pick up this paperback copy.
3: Death Has A Past – Anita Boutell: Martin Edwards had this one week as a forgotten book. Sounded good, so I jumped on it.
4: White Fire – Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child: the lates Agent Pendergast novel.
5: The Hardboiled Dicks – Ron Goulart: ran aross this one and picked it up.
and the ebooks:
6: Cleveland In My Dreams – Lawrence Block: a short story offered free. How can one pass this one up.
7: Common Ground(review copy) – Richard David Bach: sent by the author. I’d reviewed the frist book in the series.
8: Saint Death – Mark Dawson: another freebie and I liked the series.
9: Staged Fright – Sameer Ketkar: first book in a new series, BODIES.
10: Vampire Siege At Rio Muerto – John M. Whalen: sounded interesting. I picked it up.
11: The Machineries of Mars. Charles Allen Gramlich: once intended for an anthology, TALES OF THE LOST EMPIRE OF SOL, that never reached fruition, Charles gives us a chance to read his very good story. Same story for the next entry.
12: The Pirates of Themos – Tom Doolan
13: The Burglar Who Counted Spoons(review copy) – Lawrence Block: sent attached to an email. Look forward to this one.