March 2009

A 1001 MIDNIGHTS Review
by Newell Dunlap:

MANNING COLES – A Toast to Tomorrow.

MANNING COLES Toast to Tomorrow

Doubleday Crime Club, US, hardcover, 1941. Earlier UK edition, published as Pray Silence: Hodder, hc, 1940. Many reprint editions, both hardcover and soft. US paperback editions include: Bantam 118, 1947; Berkley F873, Jan 1964; Rue Morgue Press, 2008.

   In Germany in March 1933, a bit of a puzzle crops up concerning a radio production called “The Radio Operator.” On the surface, the show is nothing more than blatant Nazi propaganda. But to the British Foreign Office, it is much more.

   It seems the Morse code used as a background sound on the. show is actually a code used by an undercover British agent during World War I. Why, then, is it suddenly being used again after all these years-especially since the agent who used it is now dead? A puzzle indeed.

   For answers, the novel flashes back to January 1918, and we follow the life of an amnesia victim who adopts the name Klaus Lehmann. Lehmann, like most Germans, has a rough time of it in the postwar years.

   He meets Adolf Hitler, joins the Nazi party, and works his way up through the party ranks, all this before he remembers his true identity. He is really Hendrik Brandt. No, that isn’t right. He is really a British intelligence agent named Tommy Hambledon, who was posing as Brandt, and who is now posing as Lehmann. And what a position for a British agent to be in!

MANNING COLES Toast to Tomorrow

   The name Manning Coles is a pseudonym for Cyril Coles and Adelaide Manning. Under this pseudonym they produced numerous books and stories, but none of their characters was more popular than agent Hambledon. This book is the second in the Hambledon series. In the first, Drink to Yesterday (1941), Hambledon winds up his World War I experience and suffers the beginning of amnesia.

   The subsequent books — among them Operation Manhunt (1954), The Man in the Green Hat (1955), and The House at Pluck’s Gutter (1968) — came to rely more and more on formulaic plots and stock settings, and from the Fifties on,the series lost much of its appeal.

   Coles and Manning also collaborated on a series of satirical ghost stories featuring a defunct pair of cousins, James and Charles Latimer, and their equally dead pet monkey, Ulysses. Published as by Francis Gaite, these include Brief Candles (1954), The Far Traveler (1956), and Duty Free (1959).

   Reprinted with permission from 1001 Midnights, edited by Bill Pronzini & Marcia Muller and published by The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, 2007.   Copyright © 1986, 2007 by the Pronzini-Muller Family Trust.

As a spillover from hunting and collecting books, I accumulate a good many duplicates, which I then list for sale on Amazon. Every so often, I update a complete listing of these books on my own website, and this afternoon I did just that.

Go here to take a look, if you think you might be interested. There’s a quantity discount offered of 20%, but if you mention this blog, take the full 20% off, no matter how many books you buy.

JONAS WARD – Buchanan’s Black Sheep.

Fawcett Gold Medal; paperback original. First printing, February 1985.


   I’m sure I read some of the first Buchanan books when they first came out, but since that was well over 50 years ago, I hope you’ll forgive if I don’t remember many of the details. In fact, you might as well say none of the details, and if you don’t, I will.

   So when I picked this book up in a spare moment last week, it was as if I was reading about the character for the first time, and yet (as it turns out) it was the next to the last of the series. Which must have made Gold Medal a small stack of money over the years – a small stack large enough to keep bringing the books out, even after the original author died, a fellow named William Ard, who was probably better known then as now as a mystery writer, under his own name and a few others.

   Science fiction writer Robert Silverberg completed the sixth one, Brian Garfield pinch hit for the seventh, then William R. Cox wrote all the rest. (For some more on Cox, go here to read my comments about a mystery novel he wrote, a yarn called Death on Location (Signet, 1952).)

   Thanks to Pat Hawk, whose list of the complete series he posted on the WesternPulp Yahoo group, here below is the full Buchanan bibliography. Although some were reprinted later in various large print and library hardcover edition, each of the books appeared first as a paperback original. I’ve added the Gold Medal code numbers and the full dates, whenever I could find them.

The Name’s Buchanan. Gold Medal 604, 1956. Filmed as Buchanan Rides Alone.
Buchanan Says No. Gold Medal 662, April 1957.
One-Man Massacre. Gold Medal 742, February 1958.
Buchanan Gets Mad. Gold Medal 803, 1958.


Buchanan’s Revenge. Gold Medal 951, January 1960.

Buchanan On the Prod. Gold Medal 1026, August 1960.


Buchanan’s Gun. Gold Medal D1926, 1968.


Buchanan’s War. Gold Medal R2396, March 1971.
Trap for Buchanan. Gold Medal T2579, 1972.
Buchanan’s Gamble. Gold Medal T2656, January 1973.


Buchanan’s Siege. Gold Medal T2773, August 1973.
Buchanan on the Run. Gold Medal M2966, May 1974.
Get Buchanan! Gold Medal M3165, December 1974.
Buchanan Takes Over. Gold Medal M3255, May 1975.
Buchanan Calls the Shots. Gold Medal M3429, December 1975.


Buchanan’s Big Showdown. Gold Medal 13553, 1976.
Buchanan’s Texas Treasure. Gold Medal 13812, 1977
Buchanan’s Stolen Railway. Gold Medal 13977, 1978.
Buchanan’s Manhunt. Gold Medal 14119, 1979.
Buchanan’s Range War. Gold Medal 14357, July 1980.
Buchanan’s Big Fight. Gold Medal 14406, May 1981.
Buchanan’s Black Sheep. Gold Medal 12412, February 1985.
Buchanan’s Stage Line. Gold Medal 12847, March 1986.

   As for Black Sheep, the one I read last week, Tom Buchanan, whose travels have taken him all over the West, takes sides in still another range war in this one, this time on the side of a sheep rancher and his family.


   On the other side, a big cattleman intent on running the little guy off the land with any means he sees fit, either fair or foul, mostly foul – in terms of hired gunmen who also think that taking Buchanan down will mean a big boost to their reputation.

   That’s the story in a nutshell, but of course there’s a lot more to it than that. Cox, which is how I’ll refer to the author, is interested in characters, and not only in the major players going head to head over the grasslands, but the women involved, of whom there quite a few, and the Indians – both those who ride renegade against both sides, but others also who for reasons of their own have taken allegiance with the sheepman and his family.

   Siding with Buchanan is his companion – over the course of several/most/all of the books? – a black man named Coco Bean and a good person to have next to you in a fight, whether in the squared circle or on the open plains.

   There is little action for most of the book, only a few small scattered (but often deadly) skirmishes. Buchanan tries his best to end the impasse without gunplay, but with cattle rancher Jake Robertson egged on by his own ego — as well as an outside factor or two — resolving the matter peacefully proves to be next to impossible.

   And in the end, gunplay is what ends (and saves) the day – fast, furious and fatal for many of the participants – but I have a feeling that it may have come too late for many readers of the day, who may have become impatient with too much palavering and the romantic subplots, which are fine as far as they go, but neither are the characters quite deep enough to make this literature as well as a pretty good old-fashioned western.

by Francis M. Nevins


    At the thought of Graham Greene reading Perry Mason novels the mind boggles, but we now have documentary evidence that he did — and apparently so did his friend and fellow titan of 20th-century English literature, Evelyn Waugh.

    “Maybe we’ve been wrong about Perry Mason,” Greene wrote to Waugh on September 29, 1951. I’ve just been reading an early one — perhaps the first. The Case of the Velvet Claws. He kisses Della [Street] right on the lips & when his client notices the lipstick, he says ‘Let it stay.’ His client’s a girl & at one time he pushes her roughly onto a bed. He also makes her faint by third degree & slaps her with a wet towel to bring her round… [I]n the next case he drinks some red wine with a little French bread.”

    The letter can be found on pp. 191-192 of Graham Greene: A Life in Letters, ed. Richard Greene (Norton, 2007) but it’s never mentioned in the Index.


Greek Coffin

    The three men and the lovely Asian woman arrived a few minutes early that Saturday morning. I was reminded of the invasion of Ellery and Richard Queen’s apartment in the first pages of The King Is Dead (1952) but these invaders — Japanese director Naoto Tanaka and two camera operators and a female interpreter — were on a more prosaic mission: to shoot some footage with me for a documentary on Ellery Queen, one of a series of four that are being made for Japanese TV. (The subjects of the other three are Poe, Agatha Christie and Raymond Chandler.)

    They stayed for half a day and as far as I can tell the filming went well. At one point I was asked to name my two favorite Queen novels. This was almost impossible for me even when the director made it clear that I could exclude the four originally published as by Barnaby Ross.


    Since the early EQ novels (1929-35) were so radically different from those of the third period (1942-58), I argued that I should be allowed to pick two from each and chose The Greek Coffin Mystery and The Egyptian Cross Mystery from Period One and Ten Days’ Wonder and Cat of Many Tails from Period Three.

    Tanaka then insisted that I opt for one from each of those periods. When I went for the Coffin and the Cat, he beamed, and said that those were his favorites too. Whatever footage from our interview winds up on the cutting-room floor, I suspect that bit will survive into the finished film. Of which I’ve been promised a DVD.


    Just about everyone knows about the sign on Harry Truman’s desk, but how many know of its possible connection with mystery fiction? The story is briefly told on page 481 of David McCullough’s 1992 biography Truman.

    “In the fall [of 1945, soon after FDR’s death and Truman’s unexpected rise to the presidency], Fred Canfil had given him a small sign for the desk. ‘The Buck Stops Here,’ it said. Canfil had seen one like it in the head office of a federal reformatory in El Reno, Oklahoma, and asked the warden if a copy might be made for his friend the President, and though Truman kept it on his desk only a short time, the message would stay with him permanently.”


    The obvious follow-up questions are: Where did that warden get the sign? Was he or the person who had it made for him aware that a sign with an almost identical message figures in a mystery novel published just a few years before FDR’s death?

    Five Alarm Funeral (1942) was the first novel in what became a long series about New York fire marshal Ben Pedley, written by super-prolific pulp writer Prentice Winchell (1895-1976) under his most frequently used pseudonym, Stewart Sterling.

    At the beginning of Chapter Three, Pedley tells his assistant Barney that on the arson murder he’s presently investigating the Police Commissioner “has to pass the buck to somebody.” Barney: “You’d ought to have a new sign up on the door there….” Pedley: “What kind of a sign?” Barney: “‘The Buck’ — it oughta read — ‘Stops Right Here.'”

    Perhaps Truman’s next biographer will look into the connection, if any, between this passage and the most famous sign in recent presidential history.

Reviews by Allen J. Hubin.

   When I still had my book collection (sold in 1982) I read and reviewed a number of Golden Age British mysteries, and stuck the reviews in a file. Some of the reviews were published somewhere, but here is a bunch that weren’t.


   Elaine Hamilton’s Murder Before Tuesday (Ward Lock, 1937) is better than average Golden Age material, presenting a number of intriguing characters with mysterious and intertwined relationship and satisfying plotting.

   Inspector Reynolds of the Yard does the detecting, what little there is, and fair play is not emphasized. Vanda Quayne well qualifies as a murderee. She’s a dancer who preys on people, sowing discord and hatred liberally in her path. She comes to London to perform despite threatening letters, hires a secretary, inflames passions, and, in due course, provides us with our corpse.

   The landscape is littered with suspects, a nosy reporter turns up who treads on all available toes, and Reynolds whisks a least likely suspect out of his hat at the end.


    W. W. Masters and his only work Murder in the Mirror (Longmans, 1931) are about as obscure as they come, but the story is not without merit.

   The theme is psychic or supernatural menace, with which battle must be waged; I was reminded of the later books by Jack Mann. And quite a nice surprise climaxes the story.

   We begin with a man playing cricket — but playing while in mental turmoil for he can remember nothing of who he is or where he came from or how he happens to be in the game. We later meet his friends — pals from Oxford — and learn with whom, or with what, they are now locked in deadly, unavoidable combat. Babylon, magic, mind control and murder are all effectively worked into the story.


   Nat Gould was, I gather, regarded as England’s (and maybe Australia’s, too) premier horse racing writer during his active years. At least some of his work was criminous, but of particularly thematic interest here is the rare volume of short stories, The Exploits of a Race-Course Detective (John Long, 1927).

   Those exploits comprise the first 6 (out of 15) tales in the collection. Crime stories they are (the other 9 are not), but of real detection they contain practically nothing. The sleuth is Valentine Martyn, the titular detective. He has a daughter, and we know that for her true love will out.

   The villain of the linked stories is a “sharper,” Luke Darton. Martyn foils his schemes each time, and we know that in the end Val will put him away. Each story has to do with racing; there is much of the jargon and milieu of the day, but no suspense and not much interest for present-day readers.

— To be continued.



JASPER FFORDE – The Well of Lost Plots. Viking, hardcover, February 2004. Penguin, trade paperback, July 2004.

   —, Something Rotten. Viking, hardcover, August 2004. Penguin, trade paperback, July 2005.

   —, Thursday Next: First Among Sequels. Viking, hardcover, July 2007. Penguin, trade paperback, July 2008.

   In the third and fourth of the Thursday Next alternate world fantasy detective series, Thursday first escapes into an inner world, a maelstrom where classic texts are in a constant flux, threatened from without and within (Lost Plots), then in Something Rotten returns to her native English town of Swinton, accompanied by her two year old son Friday, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and Pickwick, her pet dodo, in search of her eradicated husband, Lamden.


   She also has to deal with the possible end of the world, a rather full plate for the resourceful Thursday.

   First Among Sequels, number five, begins fourteen years after number four. Thursday, her husband and two children, are living what appears to be something of a normal life in Swindon. Her SpecOps Division closed down in 1992 and she’s now working for Acme Carpets, or so her husband is meant to think.


   SpecOps has gone underground/undercover and Thursday is still traveling to the Book World, which is, as usual, in some turmoil and threatened with extinction if the nefarious plans of the Goliath Corporation are successful.

   In addition, Thursday is threatened with her most challenging enemy yet, her fictional self. And then there’s a continuing problem with her sixteen-year-old son Friday who refuses to accept his “ordained” role as a member of the time-traveling ChronoGuard.

   I found numbers three and four to be less fresh, and funny, than the first two entries, but First Among Sequels immediately captured my interest and convinced me that these are the most engaging comic novels currently being published.

ELIZABETH GUNN – Crazy Eights.

Worldwide, paperback reprint; March 2006. Hardcover edition: Forge, February 2005.

   This isn’t the first appearance of Jake Hines, whose case this is, by any means — and I’ll get back to that in a minute — but this is the first one that he’s has been involved in that I’ve happened to read. So before starting the review itself, I’ll begin with some small bits (or bytes) of information.


   Hines, who tells the story, is the chief of detectives in Rutherford, Minnesota, and the woman who’s living with him is Trudy Hanson, a forensic scientist at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in St. Paul, about eighty miles away. They must have gotten together earlier in the series, since the story begins with them well-ensconced on their farm, located halfway between their two jobs.

   They get along well, and as you probably have realized without my telling you, a certain amount of shop talk takes place at home – or in other words, all the crime news in the area seemingly filters one way or another through one of them.     FOOTNOTE 1.

   Here’s a long quote to help further this introduction along, from page 10, which is about where the story itself begins, as the reader finds Jake being woken up at four in the morning:

   Coming out of the shower five minutes later, I stood by the bed, looking down at the sweet curve of her shoulder while I buttoned my shirt, thinking how it would feel to wake up and find her gone from there. I never quite get over the luck of it; I was rescued as a foundling from a Dumpster, an ugly duckling that grew into an ugly duck, with indeterminate brown skin and a mixed-race face that looks like it was made by a committee. But this smart, beautiful blonde likes me. Go figure.

   And as I promised, here are the earlier entries in the series:

      Triple Play. Walker, hc, September 1997. Dell, pb, November 1998.


      Par Four. Walker, hc, December 1998. Dell, pb, December 2000.

      Five Card Stud. Walker, hc, May 2000. Worldwide, pb, July 2001.

      Six-Pound Walleye. Walker, hc, June 2001. Worldwide, pb, July 2002.


      Seventh-Inning Stretch. Walker, hc, June 2002. Worldwide, pb, June 2003.

      “Too Many Santas” A short novel (or long novella) contained in How Still We See Thee Lie, no editor stated, Worldwide, November 2002.

      Crazy Eights. Forge, hc, February 2005. Worldwide, pb, March 2006.

   Some questions remain to be answered. For example, what happened to the “first two” books in the series? Will they ever be told?

   Also notice the short gap in continuity and the save by Forge Books when Walker canceled all of their genre fiction categories, I believe, including mysteries, or is there more of a story there? Gunn’s paperback publisher at the time, Worldwide, an imprint of Harlequin, must have helped the cause in the interim, publishing a non-numerical shorter entry in the series as they did.

   But in any case, there is some history behind the characters, and when you come in late, you have to get used to dealing with it really quickly. But the author does it right, and the paragraph quoted above is a good part of what does it.


   What is unusual –- I can’t think of another instance –- is that the story that follows –- the one about the case that Jake is called out on (at four in the morning) –- jumps right from Chapter One and into Chapter Two, which begins with the courtroom trial of the second of two small-time hoodlums who kidnapped and killed Shelley Gleason in Chapter One. Time elapsed: a year and a half later.

   What happened in the meantime? In a very interesting way of telling the story, Gunn lets the reader sort it all out through the ensuing testimony. This is not all that is unique. When the trial is over and the defendant is found –- well, no, I can’t tell you that, but what I can tell you that there is a confrontation between the accused Benny Niemeyer and one of the prosecuting attorneys that has never happened in a work of fiction before, ever.     FOOTNOTE 2.

   This is on page 102, and *whew* there are over 160 pages to go. Perhaps it suffices to say that medium-sized towns like Rutherford MN have a lot of secrets on both sides of the track, and on occasion there are oodles of opportunity for crossover. Most of the rest of the book plays itself out with relatively straight-forward plotting and story-telling. Unless, of course, you consider a relatively innocent skateboard as (also) being a relatively uncommon clue in the annals of detective fiction, as I do.

FOOTNOTE 1. I was curious about Rutherford, so I looked up the town on Google. No such place. The first two references to Rutherford MN were directly related to Elizabeth Gunn’s series of books, which may give Ms. Gunn her own two moments of fame right then and there (or here and now).

FOOTNOTE 2. What I said I couldn’t tell you is the first thing out of the mouth of the blurb-writer who’s responsible for describing the book on the back cover. Do I feel dumb, or what?

— March 2006

[UPDATE] 03-20-09. Since this review was written, there has been one more book in the Jake Hines series, perhaps the last?

      McCafferty’s Nine. Severn House, hc, 2007; trade pb, 2008.


   And the author has started a new series, one with Tucson police detective Sarah Burke as the primary protagonist:

      Cool in Tucson. Severn House, hc & trade pb, 2008.


      New River Blues. Severn House, hc & trade pb, 2009.

   David first posted this as Comment #36 of a recent post he wrote called What Is Noir? – Part 2. Toward the end of the discussion, a conversation between Juri Nummelin and David took a turn toward the movie Kiss Me Deadly. The following is the latter’s most recent statement on the film.        — Steve


   My copy of Kiss Me Deadly (and every copy I’ve ever seen) clearly shows Hammer and Velda escaping into the surf and then the beach house being consumed in a mushroom cloud, so you can read it either way.

   The scene doesn’t show anything but the beach house consumed by the explosion, nor a mushroom cloud as big as the Trinity or Hiroshima ones we have seen on film. It seems to show a small contained explosion that only blows up the beach house. If Aldrich intended Mike and Velda to be killed, I assume they wouldn’t be shown reaching the surf, unless he intended ambiguity.


   Of course, if you want to get realistic they likely both got a lethal dose of radiation when the box was opened while they were in the house, much less when the house went up. But the film seems to show the explosion only consuming the beach house, and Mike and Velda are shown before that in the surf, not the house.

   I still think the death of Mike and Velda is like the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey where viewers wrote their own ending. The only thing supporting the death of Hammer and Velda is that Aldrich and screenwriter A.I. Bezzerides really disliked Spillane and loathed Hammer.


   I have heard there is supposedly a cut where Mike and Velda do not reach the surf (and even that the scene where they do was imposed by the studio), but then again that may be fans reading their own interpretation into the film or even a bad copy edited poorly for showing on television. Again, if the intent of the film is Mike and Velda die, why show them reach the supposed safety of the surf?

   I’m reminded of taking my cousin’s five year old son to see Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. At the end when Newman and Redford are surrounded by the army and decide to go out in a blaze of glory they run outside firing their weapons wildly, the frame freezes on that image. With perfect five year old logic my cousin’s son turned to me and asked: “Did they kill all those guys?”


   The mind is a terrible waste — or whatever Dan Quayle said. Or maybe this is one of those glass half empty, half full things. At least Aldrich doesn’t have Mike and Velda climbing in a lead lined refrigerator like Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

   Or like the argument between Sam Jackson and Keven Spacey in The Negotiator — is Alan Ladd dead or alive in the last scene of Shane? In the case of Kiss Me Deadly and Shane, I think the pessimists are writing their own movie, but you never know, maybe my cousin’s five year old was right and Butch and Sundance wiped out the entire Bolivian army.

B. J. OLIPHANT – A Ceremonial Death.   Fawcett Gold Medal; paperback original; first printing, January 1996.


   It was common knowledge, even while the books were being published, that science fiction writer Sheri S. Tepper was also the author of two series of mystery stories, each under a different pen name. The ones she wrote as A. J. Orde featured a Denver CO interior designer and antique dealer named Jason Lynx. There were six of those, starting with A Little Neighborhood Murder in 1989, and ending with A Death of Innocents in 1997.

   In between the Orde books, Tepper was also busily writing six Shirley McClintock mysteries. For these she used the name B. J. Oliphant. This is the fifth of these, with one more to follow, Here’s to the Newly Dead, which came out in 1997. Now in her 70s, Tepper is still actively writing science fiction and fantasy. All of her books in that genre appear to be highly regarded, but I think she’s left the mystery field behind her.

   In Ceremonial Death Shirley McClintock is living in New Mexico, but references to previous adventures suggest that the earlier mysteries under her belt occurred while making her home in Colorado. She’s tall, in her 60s, has a live-in male friend named J.Q. — I have no other details on what their domestic arrangement is precisely — and together they’re the guardian of a very pretty high school girl named Allison. Shirley seems to have been a rancher lady in her past , but they have only a few animals now and accommodations for tourists.


   First to die in this book is a naive sort of woman who’d made a living as a New Age mystic, complete with Native American trimmings. When Shirley finds the body, she discovered that the dead woman had been mutilated in much the same way as some recent slaughtered cattle.

   Being close to Santa Fe — and the nest of ultra-believers living there — the all-but-brain-dead (elected) sheriff is convinced that men (if not creatures) from outer space are responsible. Obviously too many people have been watching too many episodes of The X Files.

   The next girl to die is a classmate of Allison’s, but she was certainly no friend — rich family, too precocious by far — but with Allison in the mix, Shirley has even more reason to get involved, and involved she gets.

   If using this book as a sample of size one can be acceptable practice, Tepper’s prose (as a mystery writer) seems more than a little uneven. Long stretches of strong storytelling are interrupted every so often by a page or two of bad (stilted) dialogue, but then it continues on with looks (much more convincing) into Shirley’s relationships with J.Q. and her surrogate daughter — all combined with a heady brew of western-style philosophies and opinions on popularity, politics, creationists and everything else in the world, and what’s right in it, and what’s not.

   That the mystery seems to get short-shrifted should not seem too remarkable. Whatever a shrift is. But when, say, something like someone’s brake lines are found cut on page 120, shouldn’t warning flares go off right then and there, and not over 100 pages later?

   In spite of the gory opening, categorize this one as a cozy, an agreeable one, and read it for the good parts, of which there are many — especially if you agree with Shirley.

— March 2003

         Bibliographic data:   [Taken from the Revised Crime Fiction IV, by Allen J. Hubin.]

OLIPHANT, B. J. Pseudonym of Sheri S. Tepper, 1929- ; other pseudonym A. J. Orde. Series character: Shirley McClintock, in all.

      Dead in the Scrub (n.) Gold Medal, 1990.
      The Unexpected Corpse (n.) Gold Medal, 1990.
      Deservedly Dead (n.) Gold Medal, 1992.
      Death and the Delinquent (n.) Gold Medal, 1993.

bj oliphant

      Death Served Up Cold (n.) Gold Medal, 1994.

bj oliphant

      A Ceremonial Death (n.) Gold Medal, 1996.
      Here’s to the Newly Dead (n.) Gold Medal, 1997.



DAVID & AIMÉE THURLO. Blood Retribution. Forge, hardcover, September 2004. Paperback reprint: Tor, August 2005.

    — Pale Death. Forge, September 2005. Paperback reprint: Tor, August 2007.

   Lee Nez, a New Mexico state trooper and a vampire, returns in two follow-ups to Second Sunrise (Forge, 2002). In both these novels, he’s still working with F.B.I. Agent Diane Lopez, who knows his “true nature,” but is happy to live with it and her obvious attraction (unrequited) to him.


   In Blood Retribution Lee is still tracked by a vampire assassin from his past even as he and Diane are deeply involved in a case of silver smugglers who are also Navajo skinwalkers.

   In Pale Death a vampire escapes from confinement where the government has been conducting experiments on him, and, maddened by his ordeal, goes on a killing spree.

   I’ve not found any vampire series that gets my whole-hearted endorsement since the early entries in the Anita Blake series. I’ve stayed with this series so far, but its modest virtues are wearing thin and if the publisher doesn’t pull the plug, I may.

    [UPDATE] 09-08.   I did.

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