After reading Steve’s recent review of “No Rest for Soldiers,” the first story in the October 1936 issue of Black Mask, I pulled out my copy and just finished reading it cover to cover. Not a stinker in this issue. Giving a rating of four stars for the highest, I rate them as follows:

   “No Rest For Soldiers” – John K. Butler – 4.

   “Jail Bait” – Roger Torrey – 3. Although a complete rip-off of the The Maltese Falcon without the “Falcon” to look for (main tec’s partner is killed and he’s going to find the killer, though they didn’t like each other), this is still a pretty good story. I’m not a great Torrey fan but this story works for me.

   “Heat Target” — Russell Bender — 4. Really well written! I don’t think I’ve ever read a story by Bender. I’ll now go see what else I can find that he wrote for Mask.

   “Sail” — Lester Dent — 4. I can’t count the times I’ve read this story over the years. I still wish that he had written more than two stories for Mask before Shaw got the boot. As good as it gets!!

   “A Ride In The Rain” — W.T.Ballard — 4. One of my favorite Mask writers. If anyone out there has not read Ballard, do yourself a favor and try him. Holds up continuously, time after time!

   I really think this is a top issue of Mask from beginning to end. Steve, let us know how you feel after you finish your copy.

   Added later: Just checked on Russell Bender. He only wrote two others for Mask, though lots more for other titles: October 1938 and July 1940. I have both and will be checking them out soon.