Friday, September 24, 2021

James Fritzhand: Nick Carter: Sign of the Cobra

As I said, I was going to post short reviews of some paperbacks I'll be reading in the coming months as I'm making a sequel to my original Pulpografia (2000, in Finnish only), a reference book on American crime and mystery writers published mainly in the pulp and paperback format. Many of the books I'll be reading are men's adventure, a genre I'm not very much interested in, but which seems quite popular nowadays. When I was writing my first book 20 years ago, it was mainly about noir and hardboiled stuff, but the wind has changed, at least according to the sites like Paperback Warrior and Facebook groups like Men's Adventure Paperbacks of the 20th Century

Okay, off to the book I was going to write about. It's a Nick Carter/Killmaster book, written by James Fritzhand. The title is Sign of the Cobra, and it's one of the three Nick Carters Fritzhand wrote in the mid-seventies. All the books take place in Asia, and in them Nick Carter is fluent in taekwondo, which, if I'm not mistaken, he's not in the earlier books. I read on the Glorious Trash blog that the continuity of the Nick Carter series was gone when the series was taken out of Lyle Kenyon Engel's hands, and the writers came up with their own versions of Nick Carter. 

That said, Sign of the Cobra isn't a bad book. It's fluent and readable, and there's just enough old time pulp bravado to keep things interesting, though this isn't as crazy as some of the sixties' installments in the series, for example the books by Manning Lee Stokes. The villain has an artificial arm that looks like a cobra, and it's equipped with poisonous needles! The action scenes are quite good, except when Fritzhand makes someone say something aloud in the middle of a taekwondo strike which makes for a very weird reading. Just how slow is Nick Carter moving? 

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Robert Ackworth: Young Doctor in Town

I've been lately writing a sequel to my first non-fiction book that was called Pulpografia. The working title has been "The Shadow of Pulpografia", but it won't probably be the final name. Well, you could call many of my books sequels to Pulpografia, but this one is made with the same premise: it's a reference book on American crime and suspense writers whose books and short stories were published in Finland in a paperback format or in a pulp magazine or similar periodical publication. 

I've been doing this work on an almost daily basis, with digging up some biographical and bibliographic information on the authors, but now I've been browsing the books and writing something about them. The first one happened to be Young Doctor in Town by Robert Ackworth. Who he? I don't know much about Ackworth, but he was born in 1923 and is most possibly dead by now. He wrote some short stories for the digests in the late fifties, and at the same time he published some erotic-cum-romantic paperbacks (i.e. The Moments Between, 1959). He published as late as 1978, when the novel The Takers came out. It seems to be about Hollywood. Ackworth wrote also some Dr. Kildare novelizations for Lancer. There's also a war novel by him in Finnish (called "One Moment from Hell"), but seems like it was never published in the US or UK. 

He penned also this one-off medical romance. As it was not a crime novel, I didn't feel the need to read the book and thought browsing should suffice. It's about a young doctor called Garner coming into a small town and getting mixed up with the possibly mentally ill wife of the town's big man. There's also romance, but also some critique of the state of medical care in the small town. 

The book was published in 1963 by something called Medical Fiction Books. Does anyone know anything about this outfit? 

I have other work to do and other books to read, but I think I'll try to squeeze some vintage paperbacks in and try to write about them here at Pulpetti. Next up a Nick Carter by James Fritzhand, and another one by David Hagberg!