I've read a few more stories in this volume, not to be
confused with its superior predecessor, The Mammoth Anthology
of Pulp Fiction.
Bill Pronzini's "The Pulp Connection" is another story I'd
read before, and it's certainly not an action story. It
features his "nameless" p.i., but it's a cozy locked-room
story from EQMM.
Bruce Cassiday's "Brush Babe's Poison Pallet" is the real
thing, action pulp of the purest ray serene, from All-Story
Detective. Opening paragraphs:
"It was a street of crooked turnings
and twisted doorways and sagging roofs. It was a crooked
street walked by crooked people and watched over by crooked
devils in the sky. A brooding and evil darkness stood guard
above it, shutting off the light from the heavens.
"Many men had come down this twisting, narrow, tortuous lane and hand never come back. It was a street of lost souls, a street of barter where the costiiest memories were traded for the cheapest coin. The roadway to hell, this stree.
"Last Mile Lane, Greenwich Village, Manhattan."
Plenty of babes, booze, and bullets to follow.
Next up is "The Gangsta Wore Red," which was originally
published in France in 2000. I'm not familiar with the
author, Michael Guinzburg, but his story is out there, for
sure. Overwrought, Jim Thompsonesque prose, with a brilliant,
crazy, bad-ass cross-dressing narrator out for revenge on the
whole world. Ultra-violent, tough, grotesque.
Then comes "Caravan to Tarim" by David Goodis, from that
famous pulp, Collier's. (Just kidding. About the pulp part,
that is.) Different from any story I'd read by Goodis, this
one is a desert adventure tale. OK, but not what I was
"The Lady Who Left her Coffin" is from Dime Detective and
stars Hugh B. Cave's investigator of the occult and
supernatural, Martin Lane. Like the Cassiday story, this one
has plenty of action and some seat-of-the-pants
Frank Gruber's "Death at the Main" is about cockfighting and
the detective is Oliver Quade, the Human Encyclopedia. This
one is from Thrilling Detective. Smooth and fast. Gruber may
have been an SoB, but he could write an entertaining story.
Though once again the plotting might bring a few
My favorite so far is "Red Goose" by Norbert Davis. It was
published in Black Mask, and Ben Shaley is a satisfactory
tough detective. This one has a stolen painting and more
The biggest rip-off in the collection is Charles Willeford's
"The Next Five in Line." I will now tell you what the editor
did not until the end of the
"story." It's not a story at all. It's the beginning of an unfinished novel, and I think it was awfully unfair of the editor not to put a note to that effect at the beginning rather than at the end. I think I'll put this anthology aside for a while now.
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