Tagged: Jack Tunney

ROUND TWO-Andrew Salmon Guest Reviews FELONY FISTS!


A Review of Paul Bishop’s FELONY FISTS

by Andrew Salmon

Back in the day, sports pulps, including boxing pulps, were as common as Westerns or Romance magazines on newsstands everywhere. People thrilled to action-packed, fist-flying tales of fictional sports heroes in action. And anyone who knows their pulp history might tell you that those days are over.

Well, they haven’t read Paul Bishop’s Felony Fists!

Move over James Ellroy, there’s a new kid roaming the dark alleys of 1950s Los Angeles. Part of the Fight Card line from Fight Card Productions, Bishop’s Felony Fists, published under the byline Jack Tunney, tells the story of Patrick “Felony” Flynn a hardnosed police officer with the LAPD and boxer. Flynn can’t resist a good scrap and is trying to parlay his impressive arrest record into an invitation to the Hat Squad – the elite crew of detectives keeping La-La Land’s streets clean. So when Chief Parker wants to put a crimp in Mickey Cohen’s plans to take over the fight game, he turns to the best boxer on the squad. Flynn’s task is no piece of cake. He has to beat Cohen’s title contender and beat him soundly.

What follows is one delicious slice of bygone Los Angeles. Felony Fists is a winner on every level. The book is lean, mean and authentic and it’s one no fan of hardboiled fiction will want to miss. The boxing scenes are visceral, bloody and you feel like you’ve gone toe to toe with Flynn’s opponents by the time you’re through. Throw in some fine police work, corruption, intrigue, blackmail and deception and Felony Fists lays out an irresistible buffet.

Paul Bishop is the real deal, folks. If you’re a pulp fan, boxing fan or just love a hard-hitting, down and dirty mean streets pot-boiler, then Bishop has your poison. Without doubt one of the best New Pulp releases of 2011. This was my first Bishop work and it won’t be my last. I give Felony Fists my highest recommendation. Do not miss it!

Derrick Ferguson Has THE CUTMAN In His Corner!

Back during the heyday of the Classic Pulp era there were magazines devoted to just about every type of genre you could think of or that publishers thought they could sell to the entertainment hungry public.  Most of us are familiar with the hero pulps, the western pulps, the science fiction pulps, the horror pulps.  But there were far more than that.  You had your spicy pulps which was a safe name for what was pretty much soft core porn.  There were gangster pulps, railroad pulps and sports pulp.  And a sub-genre of the sports pulp was boxing pulp stories.
If you’re at all familiar with the boxing pulp genre it’s probably because of Robert E. Howard and his champion boxer character Sailor Steve Costigan.  Even though Howard is best known as the creator of Conan, King Kull and Solomon Kane he wrote more stories about Sailor Steve Costigan.  
It’s probably inevitable that in the New Pulp Renaissance we’re enjoying right now that the pulp boxing genre should also enjoy a revived popularity and it’s a genre that’s well represented by the the Fight Card series of books in general and THE CUTMAN in particular.  It’s the second book in the series but you don’t have to have read the first one in order to enjoy it.  The books are credited as being written by Jack Tunney but that’s a “house name”.  The first book “Felony Fists” was written by Paul Bishop and THE CUTMAN was written by Mel Odom and it’s a terrific read.
First off, it’s set in Havana, Cuba during a period of history that fascinates me; the period when American organized crime worked hand-in-hand with the Batista regime, turning Cuba into a playground of illegal activity.  It’s here that the cargo ship Wide Bertha docks and it isn’t long until one of its crewmen, the two-fisted Irishman Mickey Flynn runs afoul of the henchmen working for small-time gangster Victor Falcone.  And this in turn leads to Mickey having a beef with Falcone himself who has aspirations of moving into the big time by currying favor with Charles “Lucky” Luciano.
The boxing angle comes into the story due to Falcone’s sponsorship of savagely brutal  backroom boxing matches which is dominated by his fighter, the human buzzsaw “Hammer” Simbari.  Simbari is a bloodthirsty sadist who derives extreme satisfaction from beating men half to death in the ring and the inevitable battle between Mickey and Simbari is written with a great deal of tension and suspense as we’ve seen what Simbari can do and so has Mickey.  And he’s not all that sure he can take Simbari.
Not that he has any choice.  In a series of plot twists I wouldn’t dare reveal here, the fate of Wide Bertha and her crew rests on Mickey’s exceptional boxing skills, skills learned from the legendary Father Tim of St. Vincent’s Asylum For Boys in Chicago.  Mickey’s got no choice but to climb into the ring with this near unstoppable fighting machine.  
THE CUTMAN has got a lot going on besides the boxing.  There’s a whole host of supporting characters that added greatly to the flavor and atmosphere of the story.  Colorful, delightful characters that reminded me of those great supporting actors in those classic black-and-white Warner Brothers crime/gangster movies of the 30’s and 40’s.  In fact, that’s exactly how THE CUTMAN reads, like an old fashioned Warner Brothers movie.  The crime elements are interwoven with the well written fight scenes and there’s even a romantic subplot with Mickey and a lusty gorgeous Cuban barmaid which doesn’t go the way romances in this type of story usually go.
So should you read THE CUTMAN? I certainly would recommend it.  It’s a solid page turner that does exactly what I think a pulp story should do; keep you asking; “what’s going to happen next?”  It’s very well written with snappy, slangy dialog and good descriptions of the fight scenes.  At all times we know exactly what’s happening and why.  I’m most certainly going to be reading “Felony Fists” in the next few days and keeping my eye out for future volumes in the Fight Card series which are available as e-books only.
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 299 KB
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Fight Card Productions (November 11, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0066E93MK


A Special All Pulp Report and Release from Paul Bishop (www.bishsbeat.blogspot.com)
I’ve been a pulp fanatic for as long as I can remember, but not just for the hero pulps.  The aviation pulps and the western pulps also caught my imagination along with the sports pulps . . . Wait? Sports pulps?
Yes!  Sports pulps!  While hero, adventure, weird menace, western, and aviation pulps are still hot collecting commodities, the sports pulps, like the romance pulps are mostly forgotten.
In my typical walking to the beat of a different drummer way, the sports pulps have become my passion.  Street and Smiths Sport Story Magazine, Sports Novels, Fifteen Sports Stories, Dime Sports, and Thrilling Sports were among the best of the many sports pulps that proliferated between the late ‘20s and the mid ‘50s.
Baseball, track, and basketball strories dominated the early years of sports pulps.  As football caught the American imagination, it too became a fertile source for the sports pulps. Horseracing, hockey, car racing also had their popular place in the sports pulps. Eventually, as the sports pulps proliferated, stories of almost any sporting contest – from log rolling to canoeing to powerboat racing – found their way between the pages.  Even stories of soccer, rugby, and cricket can be found if one looks hard enough.
Pride of place in my collection of sports pulps, however, goes to Fight Stories Magazine.  During the pulp era, boxing was even more popular than baseball both in the actual arena of sports and in the fictional creation of endless fisticuff dust-ups.  There remains something elemental about one man pitted against another that continues to capture the imagination. 
The history of fight fiction both on the page and on film is crowded with tales both filled with the desperation of noir and the triumph of the underdog.  Even today, as mixed martial arts (MMA) fighting becomes popular, fight films and fiction have accepted the transition and continue to tell stories of fighters.
Started in 1928, Fight Stories Magazine – subtitled, Fact And Fiction Of The Ring – was the first of the sports pulps dedicated to a single athletic endeavor.  While most of it’s fiction took place in the pro ring, there was also room for tales set in military outposts, carnivals, and anywhere else two men could find room to square off.
Reading Fight Stories Magazine today is still a joy.  Both the fiction and non-fiction pieces were a cut above the rest of the pack and hold up better than most pulp tales.  In particular, the retro-fight examinations and fighter profiles by Jack Kofeod could be reprinted word for word today in any fight interest zine; and fisticuff tales from the likes of Robert E. Howard (most often featuring his slugger Sailor Steve Costigan) remain brilliant storytelling.
So, imagine my delight last year when I came across a gem of a new novella, Smoker, by Mel Odom when cruising the virtual boxing fiction titles for my Kindle.  Smoker was a cool fight tale, set in the ‘50s, with a supernatural twist – but it read like it could have been the lead tale in Fight Stories Magazine or Knockout Magazine – the other all boxing stories pulp.
Mel Odom is a prolific writer, but while I was familiar with his work, our paths had somehow not crossed over the years on the conference / organization / convention circuits.  Undaunted by this, I tracked Mel down by email.  Before long we were yacking on the phone like we’d known each other for years.
We had tons of stuff in common from comic books to favorite authors to television shows, but we we’re in total sync with our love of the tough guys who populated the pages of Fight Stories Magazine and the many other boxing stories from the sports pulps.
While we agreed we liked modern bozxing tales, we lamented the fact nobody was writing fight stories anymore like those from the pulps: two-fisted tales zipping along with lots of ring action and heroes fighting for more than just a championship or a monetary purse.
One thing led to another, as things do when writers talk, and we decided we were the perfect guys to write those tales.  We also believed we could reach our niche audience by through using the new e-publishing platforms, which have reinvented the publishing market and have made the 25,000 word pulp style novellete, an endangered speicies, viable again.
Thus our Fight Card series was born – two-fisted pulp-style tales to thrill and chill . . .
We decided to set the tales in the ‘50s because it was an era we both loved and felt comfortable writing about.  We wanted to emulate the tales from back in the day by striking the same tone and atmosphere existing then.
While Mel’s writing style and mine are different, we embraced this as a way to distiguish each of the novels. We decided to make the main characters from each of our efforts brothers.  Mel’s character, Mickey Flynn, is a merchant marine sailor who’s tough as nails. My character is Mickey’s younger brother Patrick Flynn, an LAPD detective on Chief Parker’s infamous Hat Squad. The brothers grew up in an orphanage in Chicago where they were taught the “sweet science” by Father Tim, a tough ex-cop turned fighting priest.
We were surprised, when we talked about the project with other writers, by their response – they wanted in on the action.  They remembered and loved these stories as much as we did and couldn’t wait to put on their virtual gloves and get in the ring with us – apparently there are going to be a lot of orphans trained by Father Tim at Our Lady Of the Glass Jaw, the nickname of the orphange.  As a result, we have some top notch tales from top notch writers scheduled to appear over the coming months.
Fight Card debuted this past weekend with the publication of Felony Fists from me and The Cutman from Mel.  In an effort to unify the series on the various e-platforms, we have published the novels under the pseudonym Jack Tunney as an homage to Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney – two of the great heavyweight champions.
Next up in December is Eric Beetner’s Split Decision, a gem of a noir tale that would have been snapped up as a Gold Medal original back in the day.
Mel and I had a blast with our first entries in the series, and we’re already planning the next round for our characters.
If you like tough guys, boxing, noir, crime stories, and pulps, we know you’ll find something to enjoy in these tales.