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Let me start off by saying this one was a lot of fun.

David Cranmer and Elaine Ash have put together a fine collection of stories from their ezine BEAT TO A PULP. It was started to present stories in the old pulp tradition, colorful, but well written, and most of them do have that punch in the title. It started primarily as crime stories, but went on to include all genres: the only qualification was well written tales.

ROUND ONE has a little something for most any reader: crime, westerns, science fiction, pirate stories, and some that have overlaps: The Unreal Jesse James by Chap O’Keefe twists SF into a western(done well I might add). The bulk of the stories came from the ezine, but they did throw it open for new submissions as well.

You have stories by a wide variety of writers. Long time pros like Reasoner, Gorman, Ardai, and Randisi. Writers that I’ve become familiar with in the last couple of years: Patti Abbott, Kieran Shea, Nik Morton. I could go on and on with writers I should probably be more familiar with than I am. There’s also an unpublished story from Paul S. Powers, THE STRANGE DEATH OF AMBROSE BIERCE, a writer who actually wrote for the pulps back in their heyday. It was found among his paper by his granddaughter, Laurie. A good one.

I had my favorites in the book and, to be honest, one I didn’t much care for(no, I’m not going to mention the title). A list of favorites and dislikes by the next person is likely to be completely different anyway. Nearly four hundred pages of action here.

Finally, there’s a foreword by Bill Crider, an introduction by David Cranmer, and, at the end, A HISTORY OF PULP by Cullen Gallagher.

I liked the book overall and am now ready for round two. I don’t think a firm date has been set for the release. The links at the beginning of the post will keep anyone apprised that’s interested. Besides, the Beat To A Pulp link will take you to a new story every week and the archives has all past tales.

update: Here’s a link to ordering the book when it becomes available.