Review: The Case of the Lucky Legs

The Case of the Lucky Legs
The Case of the Lucky Legs by Erle Stanley Gardner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another fun Perry Mason tale, this time with a bunch of people searching for a crooked movie screen test promoter. Paul Drake shows he doesn’t quite have the backbone Perry does in this one, and Perry still doesn’t see the inside of a courtroom in the story. I’m assuming he’s going to have to go to court in one of these sooner or later – I mean, it is kinda what he’s known for.

A good mystery tale, with a bunch of turns and plenty of evidence for readers to cull through until the killer becomes obvious.

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Review: The Case of the Sulky Girl

The Case of the Sulky Girl
The Case of the Sulky Girl by Erle Stanley Gardner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not a bad story or mystery, though this series is rather dated, as the characters are driving cars with chokes and going to speakeasies. And Perry Mason has yet to be shown in a courtroom; I don’t know if Gardner handled his law cases like this, but the early Perry tales so far have been very hard-boiled. Fun, mindless reads.

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Review: The Case of the Velvet Claws

The Case of the Velvet Claws
The Case of the Velvet Claws by Erle Stanley Gardner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Interesting first book in the long-running series that was the basis for the popular TV show starring Raymond Burr. It’s a bit strange that, being a lawyer, Mason acts more like a hard-boiled gumshoe in this one, and doesn’t get near a courtroom. That aside, it’s a fairly good mystery tale, and a bit on the old school side, and a bit dated (the text mentions that Perry kept the choke on in his car when going around a corner). Gardner’s a decent writer though, and the take holds up.

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Review: Groucho Marx, Private Eye

Groucho Marx, Private Eye
Groucho Marx, Private Eye by Ron Goulart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a fun little novel and a great start to a new series. Ron Goulart has captured the era perfectly, and has Groucho Marx *on* all the time, as most people probably would expect him to be. He also has managed to contrive a very servicable li’l mystery at the same time.

I have no idea how this series slipped under my radar. Definitely looking forward to getting the next volumes in this series!

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Review: Doc Savage: The Sinister Shadow

Doc Savage: The Sinister Shadow
Doc Savage: The Sinister Shadow by Kenneth Robeson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not a bad pulp adventure, but the teaming of the two big pulp stars of the thirties was a bit of a let down – I know it’s Doc’s series, and that it’s a hard team-up to manage, but I just think he got the upper hand too easily. And, strangely, this is mostly a Shadow adventure instead of a Doc Savage story, not that that is a bad thing. There’s a good section of the book where you’re not sure who’s fighting who or why, but the story itself was very enjoyable – I’m only a short way in reading the original Shadow pulps and Will Murray has the style down to a “T”.

Let’s face it: If you’re a pulp fan, you’re going to want to read this, and you should. The two mythos are merged pretty seamlessly, and you get immersed in those halcyon days without a lick o’ trouble.

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Review: Rainbow’s Edge

Rainbow's Edge
Rainbow’s Edge by Angelo Dirks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If there is one indie author you can never go wrong with, it is Leland Dirks (and his partner Angelo, of course). Leland’s work can be easily compared to the best of what the “traditional publishers” can put out, now or anytime – he’s that rare independent author that stretches beyond mere genres and is readily capable of producing true literature. Leland has a handle of making his characters so human and so believable that when you start reading one of his books, you get so drawn in you don’t want to put the book down.

Rainbow’s Edge is definitely one of those books. This is just a simple story of two people finding themselves again after years apart. But the way it is written, well, it draws you into a special world – a time long gone with both the bad and the good of any era – and the journey you will take into these lives will surprise you, especially when you get to the end.

Like all of Leland’s books – like any truly good book – you get a little angry when it’s over because you want more. After a bit of soulful review about what you just read, you realize it was just right amount of story – you’ve read just what you need to read about these characters. That’s what made them like people to you.

Definitely recommended!

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Review: It Sounds Impossible

It Sounds Impossible
It Sounds Impossible by Sam J. Slate
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent book on the history of radio as a medium. The authors were both involved in radio broadcasting early on, and interview a number of individuals from the field in this book of rather interesting anecdotes. The sections on Phil Lord and Jimmy Wallington are very interesting, and I have to say that I learned quite a few new tidbits about the golden age of radio. Definitely recommended, if you can manage to find a copy.

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