Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Horace McCoy

Date: 27 Jan 2002


Re your comment below:

> He was one of the successful writers of "Black Mask"
> (starting there end 1927) but his success came
> mostly
> from a series with Jerry Frost sort of ace pilot of
> a
> squadron named "Hell's Stepson's".

Lest people get the idea that the Jerry Frost stories were military fiction, "Hell's Stepsons" was the nickname of a squadron that was officially designated the "Texas Air Rangers. Captain Frost was a Texas Ranger assigned to command the air arm of the Lone Star State's famed law enforcement body. The fact that, at the time, the Rangers HAD no air arm did not deter McCoy in the least.

The Frost series notwithstanding, many regard a non-series story entitled "The Mopper-Up" to be McCoy's best BLACK MASK submission. Based loosely on the Prohibition-era town-taming activities of real-life Rangers like Frank Hamer and others, it is the story of a Ranger who arrives in an oil-boom town that has been overrun by gangsters and racketeers and proceeds to clean the place up. Sort of RED HARVEST in miniature. It's been reprinted in Bill Pronzini's THE ARBOR HOUSE TREASURY OF MYSTERY AND DETECTIVE STORIES FROM THE GREAT PULPS.


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