Hancock Tips His Hat to Nick Kismet-Espionage, Action, Magic-All in One Spot!

TIPPIN’ HANCOCK’S HAT-Pulp Reviews by Tommy Hancock
by Sean Ellis
Published by Seven Realms Publishing
Published 12/10

Pulp is a wonderful field.  It encompasses so many genres and focuses on so many different types of heroes, villains, and characters.  You can have action, crime, magic, adventure, even romance and humor in the stories that erupt from the volcano of pulp fiction.  What’s even better is when all the lava and ash and such mingle together and what you get when it hardens is a character and a story that has it all. 

Sean Ellis’ Nick Kismet in THE DEVIL YOU KNOW is the result of a perfect pulp eruption.

Kismet, a consultant for the Global Heritage Commission, is basically a one stop man of action/adventure/troubleshooting/globehopping.  In this novella, you get a hint of his history and background, enough to know that if Ellis had written him back in the 1930s and 40s, then Kismet would rank right up there with The Saint and The Falcon. 

This particular story has Kismet getting a call that hints at giving him information on Prometheus, a shadowy group that he’s tracked in past cases.  At first Kismet thinks the half message he receives is nothing, but he can’t resist following it up.  Keeping the meet suggested in the message, Kismet gets involved in what appears to be a tug of war between a traditional Mafia family and Colombian drug cartels led by a seemingly immortal priest who wears an ancient biblical artifact full of evil.  I say appears because by the time Kismet rescues the girls, fights commandoes, runs from attack dogs and ATVs, and basically incites a shootout at a mansion, what Nick is really involved in turns out to be something altogether different.  And awesome.

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW is a fast paced tale that starts at the beginning and doesn’t stop.  The only real criticism I have is that maybe it starts too quickly in the high octane vein and the reader has to spend some time catching his/her breath to figure out just what is going on.  Ellis allows for this, though, less than halfway through the tale, so this again is just a minor issue.

Like your heroes able to do just about anything, think on their feet, and ready to answer any call or even half messages?  Then Kismet is your man.  Ellis combines a modern pacing and today’s world with a pulp archetypal hero who is unabashedly a jack of all trades, a man’s man, and here to do good.   Wow.  

FOUR OUT OF FIVE TIPS OF THE HAT-Leslie Charteris, meet your successor.