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Too Hot to Handle: A Spicy Pulp Trio por…
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Too Hot to Handle: A Spicy Pulp Trio (edição 2023)

por Bobby Underwood (Autor)

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Membro:MickeyMole
Título:Too Hot to Handle: A Spicy Pulp Trio
Autores:Bobby Underwood (Autor)
Informação:Independently published (2023), 258 pages
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Too Hot to Handle: A Spicy Pulp Trio por Bobby Underwood

Adicionado recentemente porMickeyMole, Matt_Ransom

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Mostrando 2 de 2
Three great stories in one beautiful package.

LUCKY PENNY is a riveting story that takes you back to 1940’s Los Angeles.

“Los Angeles and the surrounding area had palm trees and an ocean, but it had always seemed to me about as real as a Poverty Row movie set. In reality, as opposed to the publicity, Los Angeles was more akin to the goings on in a bad B movie, which Hollywood churned out faster than a Bob Feller heater made it from the mound to the plate. Los Angeles passed itself off in movies and advertisements as a glamorous paradise, but anyone who’d spent five minutes there realized the greenery might as well have been plastic, its beaches made of quicksand. There were few angels in the City of Angels as far as I could tell, but a whole lot of folks playing for the other team. The town was filled with two-legged creatures passing themselves off as human beings; the rest were real people who’d bought into the dream, but become disillusioned by what they’d found there. Sure, a ton of women out that way looked great from a distance, more than a few of them even from up close. The ones I’d encountered and spent any time with on my prior visits, however, had turned out to be about as real as an Andy Hardy movie.”

This is a perfect narrative in a style of vintage pulp, but it’s more than that. Although it has a noir element, it has more of a mystery feel with a spicy underpinning. Underwood combines all these elements better than anyone I’ve ever read. The collective parts add up to something much larger. His writing is up on another level above even the best pulp that’s ever been published. Even in this vibrant piece of 71 pages, his characters are fully developed with brilliant dialogue and description. The following quotes display some of the artistry from this extremely enjoyable story.

“Penny didn’t have to be confused about love and sex any longer. She no longer had to wonder which it might be, because it was both. Each time we willingly and enthusiastically entangled soft flesh and hard bone with one another, desire and love were so entwined the two became one, just as we did.”

“‘I was worried when you left me alone on the streetcar,’ she said softly. ‘I thought if I never saw you again, it would all be like a dream I’d had…you know, not real, not something I could cling to and hang on to. Then when I saw you standing there in front of the circus waiting for me…it was like I’d been dead, and the sight of you being real brought me back to life.’”

“...the circus was a world of mothers enjoying a rare day out in a new dress; a world of small children eating cotton candy and hot dogs while laughing at circus folk dressed like Keystone Cops, who were running up and down the ticket line in comically oversized shoes; a world of small smiling faces filled with bright-eyed wonder at the mysterious and magical sounds coming from just inside the tents; a world of tiny hands tightly clutching strings tethering their cluster of colored balloons to them so they wouldn’t fly skyward.”

Describing this story as riveting doesn’t really do it justice. I was so totally absorbed, I felt I was actually living in the time and world Underwood so vividly created. Fantastic story, all the way around. I enjoyed it immensely.

HAVANA:

“What happened on that tiny island off the coast of Cuba called Flowering Cay at times seems like a half-remembered dream, one of those groggy remembrances that you’re never quite certain you didn’t just imagine. Other times I can recall it with such clarity it is as if it happened yesterday. Sitting in front of my typewriter as the palms sway gently at the urging of the trade winds, I almost wish I could forget everything. But then I think of Faith.”

So begins this fantastic narrative written by Private Dick, Mike Reynolds. Author Bobby Underwood is definitely in his element here, producing a present day tale that could have been perfectly at home in the Weird Menace or Spicy Detective magazines of the 1930s. For those familiar with those pulp stories of old, you’re in for a treat here. This tale is written better than most of those. Underwood’s story-telling ability is right up there with the best, and includes the best dialogue you’ll find anywhere. Even in a short work like this (29 pages in the Kindle edition), there’s a lot of detail that really adds to the atmosphere. Speaking of atmosphere and description, it reminds me a lot of Chandler’s THE BIG SLEEP.

“Seeing Faith Ellison up close I realized the photos of her in newspapers and magazines didn’t really do her justice. She was small but lush, bordering on voluptuous. Her hair was bright blonde and it looked real, as did her million dollar smile -- in her case, millions.”

“Her voice was like silk being dragged across smoldering hot coals -- husky, but undeniably feminine.”

“Flowering Cay’s airport had been carved out in the middle of the jungle and could not have seemed more out of place than had Wilt Chamberlain attempted to jockey a triple-crown prospect to victory.”

“The run-down hotel would have been more at home in a doom-laden Cornell Woolrich story than a tourist spot in the Caribbean. My room smelled of stale cigarettes and fresh sex, as though someone had recently had a smoke after a good romp with one of the island’s prostitutes. It could have been worse, I suppose; it might have smelled of stale sex and fresh cigarettes.”

Something else I love about this story is that it contains a nice taste of the supernatural. The perfect way Underwood presents it makes it seem completely natural.

RUNNING HOT:

“She didn’t have a clue the effect she had on men-- she wasn’t wired that way. She didn’t realize how amazing she was, all put together, much less what to do with it all. I did, but it made me feel a little guilty just to think about it.”

Veteran of WWII, Neale Campbell’s assessment of Connie Mitchum, shortly after meeting her for the first time. He’s immediately smitten with her, as she is with him. But, there’s a problem. She’s married to Neale’s boss. Neale’s the type of guy who wouldn’t mess with another man’s wife, but when he learns of how she’s being mistreated, he knows he’s got to do something about it.

“My name on Connie’s lips sounded like angels singing in my ears. If there existed a single moment I could point to and say, ‘That was the moment I fell for her,’ that was it. From that point forward, my fate was sealed…”

As Neale puts his plan in motion to rescue Connie from her twisted husband, he meets and befriends a teenage girl with her own set of problems. This becomes a subplot in the novel, and it is a wonderful addition to an already super story. Neale’s interactions with Francine, and his actions on her behalf, is one of the best narratives I’ve ever read. That beautiful story within a story just made me smile all over.

RUNNING HOT is saturated with nostalgia, circa 1940s. The references to popular culture back then are smoothly woven into the fabric so perfectly, I felt like I was immersed in the time and setting. I was happy to see so many of my favorite things from the period. From Ted Williams and Stan Musical, to Beverly Gray, Alan Ladd in Box 13, and William Bendix in The Life of Riley. All the references were accurate to the times, and they added a lot of fun for this nostalgia buff.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear this gem was written during the times in which it was set.

As in all of Underwood’s work, there’s a lot going on-- much more than you would expect from a paperback novel of only 131 pages. It’s thick with atmosphere and perfect dialogue. What’s more, the reader gets a great story and a wonderful feeling when it’s done. I seldom find books that give me as much pleasure as this one did.

If you want to read some really well-crafted pulp fiction reminiscent of the best that genre has to offer, you’ll find it here in this top-notch collection. Superb! ( )
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
1 vote | MickeyMole | Oct 28, 2023 |
Three great stories in one beautiful package.

LUCKY PENNY is a riveting story that takes you back to 1940’s Los Angeles.

“Los Angeles and the surrounding area had palm trees and an ocean, but it had always seemed to me about as real as a Poverty Row movie set. In reality, as opposed to the publicity, Los Angeles was more akin to the goings on in a bad B movie, which Hollywood churned out faster than a Bob Feller heater made it from the mound to the plate. Los Angeles passed itself off in movies and advertisements as a glamorous paradise, but anyone who’d spent five minutes there realized the greenery might as well have been plastic, its beaches made of quicksand. There were few angels in the City of Angels as far as I could tell, but a whole lot of folks playing for the other team. The town was filled with two-legged creatures passing themselves off as human beings; the rest were real people who’d bought into the dream, but become disillusioned by what they’d found there. Sure, a ton of women out that way looked great from a distance, more than a few of them even from up close. The ones I’d encountered and spent any time with on my prior visits, however, had turned out to be about as real as an Andy Hardy movie.”

This is a perfect narrative in a style of vintage pulp, but it’s more than that. Although it has a noir element, it has more of a mystery feel with a spicy underpinning. Underwood combines all these elements better than anyone I’ve ever read. The collective parts add up to something much larger. His writing is up on another level above even the best pulp that’s ever been published. Even in this vibrant piece of 71 pages, his characters are fully developed with brilliant dialogue and description. The following quotes display some of the artistry from this extremely enjoyable story.

“Penny didn’t have to be confused about love and sex any longer. She no longer had to wonder which it might be, because it was both. Each time we willingly and enthusiastically entangled soft flesh and hard bone with one another, desire and love were so entwined the two became one, just as we did.”

“‘I was worried when you left me alone on the streetcar,’ she said softly. ‘I thought if I never saw you again, it would all be like a dream I’d had…you know, not real, not something I could cling to and hang on to. Then when I saw you standing there in front of the circus waiting for me…it was like I’d been dead, and the sight of you being real brought me back to life.’”

“...the circus was a world of mothers enjoying a rare day out in a new dress; a world of small children eating cotton candy and hot dogs while laughing at circus folk dressed like Keystone Cops, who were running up and down the ticket line in comically oversized shoes; a world of small smiling faces filled with bright-eyed wonder at the mysterious and magical sounds coming from just inside the tents; a world of tiny hands tightly clutching strings tethering their cluster of colored balloons to them so they wouldn’t fly skyward.”

Describing this story as riveting doesn’t really do it justice. I was so totally absorbed, I felt I was actually living in the time and world Underwood so vividly created. Fantastic story, all the way around. I enjoyed it immensely.

HAVANA:

“What happened on that tiny island off the coast of Cuba called Flowering Cay at times seems like a half-remembered dream, one of those groggy remembrances that you’re never quite certain you didn’t just imagine. Other times I can recall it with such clarity it is as if it happened yesterday. Sitting in front of my typewriter as the palms sway gently at the urging of the trade winds, I almost wish I could forget everything. But then I think of Faith.”

So begins this fantastic narrative written by Private Dick, Mike Reynolds. Author Bobby Underwood is definitely in his element here, producing a present day tale that could have been perfectly at home in the Weird Menace or Spicy Detective magazines of the 1930s. For those familiar with those pulp stories of old, you’re in for a treat here. This tale is written better than most of those. Underwood’s story-telling ability is right up there with the best, and includes the best dialogue you’ll find anywhere. Even in a short work like this (29 pages in the Kindle edition), there’s a lot of detail that really adds to the atmosphere. Speaking of atmosphere and description, it reminds me a lot of Chandler’s THE BIG SLEEP.

“Seeing Faith Ellison up close I realized the photos of her in newspapers and magazines didn’t really do her justice. She was small but lush, bordering on voluptuous. Her hair was bright blonde and it looked real, as did her million dollar smile -- in her case, millions.”

“Her voice was like silk being dragged across smoldering hot coals -- husky, but undeniably feminine.”

“Flowering Cay’s airport had been carved out in the middle of the jungle and could not have seemed more out of place than had Wilt Chamberlain attempted to jockey a triple-crown prospect to victory.”

“The run-down hotel would have been more at home in a doom-laden Cornell Woolrich story than a tourist spot in the Caribbean. My room smelled of stale cigarettes and fresh sex, as though someone had recently had a smoke after a good romp with one of the island’s prostitutes. It could have been worse, I suppose; it might have smelled of stale sex and fresh cigarettes.”

Something else I love about this story is that it contains a nice taste of the supernatural. The perfect way Underwood presents it makes it seem completely natural.

RUNNING HOT:

“She didn’t have a clue the effect she had on men-- she wasn’t wired that way. She didn’t realize how amazing she was, all put together, much less what to do with it all. I did, but it made me feel a little guilty just to think about it.”

Veteran of WWII, Neale Campbell’s assessment of Connie Mitchum, shortly after meeting her for the first time. He’s immediately smitten with her, as she is with him. But, there’s a problem. She’s married to Neale’s boss. Neale’s the type of guy who wouldn’t mess with another man’s wife, but when he learns of how she’s being mistreated, he knows he’s got to do something about it.

“My name on Connie’s lips sounded like angels singing in my ears. If there existed a single moment I could point to and say, ‘That was the moment I fell for her,’ that was it. From that point forward, my fate was sealed…”

As Neale puts his plan in motion to rescue Connie from her twisted husband, he meets and befriends a teenage girl with her own set of problems. This becomes a subplot in the novel, and it is a wonderful addition to an already super story. Neale’s interactions with Francine, and his actions on her behalf, is one of the best narratives I’ve ever read. That beautiful story within a story just made me smile all over.

RUNNING HOT is saturated with nostalgia, circa 1940s. The references to popular culture back then are smoothly woven into the fabric so perfectly, I felt like I was immersed in the time and setting. I was happy to see so many of my favorite things from the period. From Ted Williams and Stan Musical, to Beverly Gray, Alan Ladd in Box 13, and William Bendix in The Life of Riley. All the references were accurate to the times, and they added a lot of fun for this nostalgia buff.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear this gem was written during the times in which it was set.

As in all of Underwood’s work, there’s a lot going on-- much more than you would expect from a paperback novel of only 131 pages. It’s thick with atmosphere and perfect dialogue. What’s more, the reader gets a great story and a wonderful feeling when it’s done. I seldom find books that give me as much pleasure as this one did.

If you want to read some really well-crafted pulp fiction reminiscent of the best that genre has to offer, you’ll find it here in this top-notch collection. Superb! ( )
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
1 vote | MickeyMole | Nov 8, 2023 |
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