More praise for The Golden Goshawk


The Broken Bullhorn gives a thumbs up for our recent title, The Golden Goshawk by H. Bedford-Jones.  In concluding, author Rick Robinson says, "This is Wonderful stuff!"

You can read his write-up here.

It is rewarding to know that readers are enjoying the collection.

(Thanks to James for the tip).

Skull of Shirzad Mir Review


skull_thumbnail_websiteThe Skull of Shirzad Mir—A review by Bill Crider

The Skull of Shirzad Mir isn't a novel, exactly. It's five connected stories about a Moslem warrior named Abdul Dost and an English merchant (who's quite a warrior himself), Sir Ralph Weyand. The first four stories are narrated by Abdul Dost. The final one, by far the longest, is told in third person. Dost and Weyand are unlikely allies, and Dost doesn't quite trust the Englishman, who's impetuous and daring, but Weyand keeps coming up with clever plans that Dost admires after they're successfully carried out.

The stories are colorful, full of action, well-written, and (as far as I know) fairly historically accurate. They're all set in India in the very early 17th century, and Lamb provides notes to two of the stories that indicate he either did a lot of research or was a good faker. I think the former is the case. If you're looking for old-style adventure with hair's-breadth escapes, intrigue, swordplay, horsemanship, and even a bit romance (in the latter two stories), you can't go wrong here.

Bill Crider

This review originally appeared in Bill's blog, "Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine."

To purchase a copy of this book visit our The Skull of Shirzad Mir listing.

Visit our author biography section for a short biography and photo of Harold Lamb.



City of Corpses Review


City of Corpses—A review by Evan Lewiscity_of_corpses_thumbnail_website

Almost The Spider

I expected this collection from Black Dog Books to be good—I've yet to meet a Norvell Page story I didn't like—but I didn't expect these stories to be so Spider-like. Norvell Page, you see, was the chief driving force behind the pulp hero The Spider, penning over 80 Spider adventures between 1933 and 1943.

Most of the stories in City of Corpses were written before Page took on his Spider duties, and offer a tantalizing glimpse of what's to come. That's what makes this book so interesting. While these stories are great reads on their own, they're also fascinating on another level, as we see Page developing themes, props and character traits he would put to good use over the next eleven years.

It might even be fair to call Ken Carter, the hero of these stories, a sort of proto-Spider.

All but one of the stories in this collection appeared in Ten Detective Aces in 1933. And all exhibit that Norvell Page trademark— frantic action from start to finish.

Bodyguard Review


Bodyguard by Roger Torrey—A review by James Reasonerbodyguard_thumbnail_website

Roger Torrey was one of the leading authors of hardboiled detective fiction for the pulps during the Thirties and Forties, starting out in Black Mask and writing for a number of other pulps as well, including Spicy Detective, Private Detective, and Street & Smith's Detective Story. This new volume from Black Dog Books, Bodyguard, is the first major collection of his work.
Torrey's work has two major strengths. One is the easy-going, conversational style in which the stories are told. According to Black Dog Books' editor and publisher, Tom Roberts, reading a story by Roger Torrey is like sitting in a bar somewhere and listening to a guy spin an exciting yarn about something that happened to him. The fact that the guy is usually a private eye, and the story concerns some bizarre case mixed up with murder and beautiful babes, is a real plus.

The colorful characterization of the narrators in most of Torrey's stories is their other strong point. Despite the fact that they all have different names, those narrators are basically the same person: a private detective, often an ex-cop and a lone operative, smart but not infallible, tough but no superman, basically a decent sort but not above a little chicanery and lechery. He'll get beaten up when the odds are against him, he'll be fooled by an attractive woman from time to time, and he'll muddle his way through cases with dogged determination as much as anything else. But in the end, he comes up with the killer every time, of course.


The Golden Goshawk


The Golden Goshawk—A review by James Reasonergolden_goshawk_thumbnail_website

I hadn't read anything by H. Bedford-Jones for a while, but he remains one of my favorite pulp authors (favorite authors, period, in fact), and The Golden Goshawk is a prime example of why.

This is an excellent new collection from Black Dog Books. As usual, publisher Tom Roberts has put together a nice-looking volume, and this time around he also provides an informative introduction about the origins of the four stories reprinted here. The title story first appeared in the August 1928 issue of the rare and sought-after pulp, The Danger Trail, one of the Clayton pulps. By the time the second story, "The Jest of the Jade Joss", appeared a year later in August 1929, the name of the magazine had been changed to Wide World Adventures. Bedford-Jones wrote two more stories in this short-lived series featuring Captain Dan Marguard, but they went unpublished when Wide World Adventures folded. A couple of years later, those stories were published in a different pulp, Far East Adventure Stories. All four of them appeared under the pseudonym Captain L.B. Williams.

What about the stories themselves? Well, they're great fun. Dan Marguard is a free-lance trader, adventurer, and mercenary in the South Seas, skippering an old schooner called the Gadfly. In the course of these yarns, he retrieves a stolen idol, rescues some kidnap victims, walks calmly into the stronghold of a headhunter tribe to retrieve the dried head of an old friend, and prevents a bloody native uprising. In the process, he usually finds a way to latch on to a decent payoff for himself and his two Chinese "elder brothers" who raised him. The stories are smartly plotted and told in Bedford-Jones's usual clean, terse, exciting prose. I don't know how authentic they are in terms of history and geography, but HB-J had the knack of making everything in his stories sound absolutely accurate and believable. He even goes to the trouble in one case of having the supposed author, Captain L.B. Williams, provide an afterword detailing the inspiration for the story, adding another layer to the fiction.

Bedford-Jones was good at this. During the Thirties, he brought back the good captain to serve as half of a joint by-line on his "Ships and Men" series that ran in Blue Book. Those stories all appeared as by H. Bedford-Jones and Captain L.B. Williams. Blue Book, like numerous other pulps, sometimes ran biographical features on the authors who wrote for them, and on the inside front cover of one issue was a biography and an artist's portrait of the wholly fictional Captain L.B. Williams. The editors had to be in on the joke, but the readers at the time weren't.

For fans of pulp adventure fiction, I can't recommend The Golden Goshawk highly enough. Great yarns, a great author, and a little-known character who appeared in hard-to-find pulps adds up to a must-have as far as I'm concerned.

James Reasoner

This review originally appeared in James' blog, "Rough Edges."

To purchase a copy of this book, visiting our The Golden Goshawk listing.