(NOTE: A complimentary electronic copy was provided for purposes of review).
Ironically, although I starting blogging as a comics blogger, I'm finding myself increasingly drawn to pulp fiction. Much of it is the poor quality and inappropriate shenanigans of certain Distinguished Companies, but when I had the opportunity to review The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume 1 by Barry Reese, well....life got in the way, until now.
And I regret that, because after reading it this past week, I have to state that this is a really great book.
Don't let the John Byrne-style cover by Anthony Castrillo fool you: Lazarus Gray (published by Pro Se Press) is not a pastiche, not a parody - it's a pretty strong set of tales. It would be easy to dismiss this as "Richard Benson as played by David Bowie"....but that would be patently unfair. Reese takes some of the stalwarts of pulp fiction (action hero, band of assistants, various supernatural elements) and weaves some fine, enjoyable tales.
Plus, the great advantage is that there is a distinct lack of nostalgia - concepts that would have been out of place or even extreme back in the "classic" pulp era fit well in these tales. This isn't the kind of book I would give, say, a ten year old....but I can heartily recommend it for older readers. People who are seeking alternatives to some of the less-than-stellar modes of entertainment.
(Plus, Mr. Reese is no slouch when it comes to knowing his pulps - he is the mastermind behind The Shadow Fan podcast, which...if you're not listening to it already, you really should be)
The first volume of Adventures of Lazarus Gray is available in paperback (via Createspace) and Kindle (and yes, you can actually read it online via Kindle Web reader). If you like great pulp, you'll dig this book. If you want a good read, you'll dig this book. And you have no excuse not to read this book.