The Cutthroat by Clive Cussler

Isaac Bell is the main character in a series of Clive Cussler branded books. Co-written with Jason Scott, the series features the adventures of detectives with the Van Dorn Detective agency, modeled after the Pinkertons. The Pinkertons always got their man, the Van Dorns never give up. Mid 19th century high technology always plays a big part in the Isaac Bell novels – steam trains, the telegraph, flying machines and radio all come into play.

The premise of this tale is that London’s Jack the Ripper did not die as claimed by Scotland Yard, but rather found his or her way to the good old USA where he/she continued slashing throats. Taking advantage of the Van Dorn Agencies broad reach in the USA, Isaac Bell uncovers a pattern in the murders of young woman across the country. He appeals to his boss to let him travel to England to pursue further leads and concludes that the location of certain US murders corresponds to the path taken by a theater production of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as it tours the US by rail.

Undercover, Bell arranges to become an ‘angel’ offering to fund the production of a film version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as it wraps ups it’s cross country tour in L.A. Bell’s sweetie Marion is a budding film producer with some creds, so she and Bell hitch the Van Dorn luxury rail car to the Jekyll and Hyde production train and work to suss out who the evil doer is. The dramatic conclusion takes place on the movie set with Bell and the evil doer locked in a deadly saber duel.

Of all the Clive Cussler / Isaac Bell series I have read (and I’ve read them all), this one appealed to me least. Perhaps it was the emphasis on ‘theater’, or the paucity of venues, or character development that didn’t really work for me, or the fact the Jack the Ripper has been done to tatters, but I was disappointed. I mean to say the train visited a lot of cities, but then straight to the theater or back to the train, so not much attendant travel log or interesting local color. Did I want to keep reading? I read two other books in the middle of reading this one, so not so much.

Dave

Vintage Paperback: Stories by the Man Nobody Knows

B. Traven Stories by the Man Nobody Knows

This collectible vintage 1961 paperback of Stories by the Man Nobody Knows: Nine Tales by B. Traven is currently in stock. B. Traven is a pen name and to this day, he remains the man nobody knows. From the lengthy Wikipedia page:

B. Traven (Bruno Traven in some accounts) was the pen name of a presumably German novelist, whose real name, nationality, date and place of birth and details of biography are all subject to dispute. One of the few certainties about Traven’s life is that he lived for years in Mexico, where the majority of his fiction is also set—including The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1927), which was adapted for the Academy Award winning film of the same name in 1948.

Virtually every detail of Traven’s life has been disputed and hotly debated. There were many hypotheses on the true identity of B. Traven, some of them wildly fantastic.

A couple of my favorite “wildly fantastic” theories on B. Traven’s identity:

B. Traven was the American writer Jack London, who faked his death and then moved to Mexico and continued writing his books;

B. Traven was the pseudonym of the American writer Ambrose Bierce, who went to Mexico in 1913 to take part in the Mexican Revolution where he disappeared without a trace.

…And these aren’t even the most hard-to-believe ideas that have appeared since the mid 1920s on this mysterious writer’s identity!

This paperback is in very good condition. Find it in our Rare/Collectible section – our price is $25.00.

–Sharon

Jan Evanovich: Turbo Twenty-Three

Twenty third in the series featuring bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, the entire cast we know and love is assembled once again for a romp around Trenton, NJ. Stephanie, who knows for sure there aren’t regular jobs she would care for, works for Vinnie, who posts bail bonds for the local criminal element. She works with Lula, whose most recent job description was ‘ho. Together they run down bail jumpers for Vinnie and collect a piece of the bond.

In this book, Stephanie is self described as looking like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. She has two ultra masculine boyfriends. Ranger, who was a Ranger and now owns and operates Rangerman Security, and Joe Morelli, a Trenton cop whose mom makes better-than-sex lasagna. Stephanie feels more domestic around Morelli, and more dangerous around Ranger. Both are generally available to jump in to rescue Ms. Plum should she and Lula get in over their heads as they apprehend criminals.  Most of Stephanie’s income goes to purchasing used cars since she wrecks at least one in every book.

This particular adventure unfolds when a delivery of ice cream from Bogart’s yields the frozen body of the Bogart’s human resources manager dipped in chocolate and covered with nuts – just like a Bogart Bar. Ranger has a deal with Bogart’s to fix up security at the plant, and Stephanie takes an assignment to go into the Bogart Ice cream factory undercover and see what she can learn. What she learns is further validation of her antipathy towards assembly line work. Along with her undercover efforts, she and Lula continue to apprehend a variety bizarre lowlifes, so there is never a lull in the action.

Grandma Mazur, Stephanie’s maternal grandmother dyes her hair red and takes up with a biker. Stephanie’s mom continues to toss back whisky shots and her dad continues to bark single word orders like Gravy! or Potatoes! at the dining room table. Stephanie continues to mooch pot roast and meatloaf dinners at Mom’s house in the Burg, her own larder being stocked only with peanut butter, hotdogs and hamster food.

Turbo Twenty-Three is classic Stephanie Plum. Jan Evanovich is irreverent, funny and comfortably predictable in this series. Her cast of characters are well known to her readers and we revel in their antics. No need for a dictionary here, this is a fast fun read and perfect for the plane. Did I want to keep on reading? I’ve read ’em all and look forward to the next.

– Dave

Jack Webb Books

Among our recent arrivals are several books on and by the actor, producer, and screenwriter Jack Webb. Webb is best known for his role as Sgt. Joe Friday on Dragnet, and he’s also the creator of Dragnet.

The Badge: True and terrifying crime stories that could not be presented on TV by Jack Webb (vintage 1959) – $5.00

Just the Facts Ma’am: The Authorized Biography of Jack Webb by Daniel Moyer & Eugene Alvarez – $8.95

My Name’s Friday: The Unauthorized but True Story of Dragnet and the Films of Jack Webb by Michael J. Hayde – $9.50

 

Vintage Paperback: Junkie

In stock now is a vintage 1953 paperback of Junkie by William Burroughs.

From the back of the book:

First and foremost among the “Beat Generation” writers is the name of William Burroughs, mentor and friend of Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Holmes. Now catching the attention of the literary world with his novel NAKED LUNCH, Burroughs’ most significant work is his unforgettable autobiographical book JUNKIE.

Our price is $10. You can browse our selection of Burroughs and other Beat Generation writers in-store or online.

John Sanford: Escape Clause

John Sanford’s latest thriller is a Virgil Flowers novel. Virgil Flowers works for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, employed as a detective working out of Mankato. We often find him towing his boat behind his pickup with Lindy rigs in the tackle box, ready to take on the wily walleye whenever one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes is between where he is and where he’s headed. Flowers works Southwest Minnesota for BCA so we know his turf pretty well.

This time, the crime is the theft of two Amur tigers from the Minnesota state zoo. The evil doers plan the heist with inside help and execute very well. The Amurs are rare and beloved creatures to many so there is much consternation around this theft and Flowers is put on the case full time. Through Flowers investigative efforts, we learn the bad guys intend to butcher animals for their “medicinal” value in the Asian marketplace and have a standing offer of $250,000 for the processed animals. Bit by bit, Flowers unwinds the puzzle and locates the bad guys who are more than a little wacked out having murdered three folks who get in their way.

Sanford nearly always has at least one female bad guy in his stories and Escape Clause is no exception. This particular lady stands up in her sunroof and shoots up the vehicle of one of Flowers suspects. Other side plots involve Virgil’s girlfriend getting beaten up and his neighbor being firebombed (they got the wrong house in the dark). A family of six Iranian brothers show up to avenge the death of a seventh brother and continue to pop up in their RV from time to time. So lots of action, much of it bizarre in classic Sanford fashion.

Does John Sanford’s Escape Clause survive my acid test for a good read? You bet. As always, Sandford’s work is a real page turner and it’s hard to beat a book title that is a pun.

 

Vocabulary of the Vietnam War

Two reference books about the language and words of the Vietnam War have just arrived:

Words of the Vietnam War by Gregory R. Clark – $28.95

In the Field: The Language of the Vietnam War by Linda Reinberg – $38.75

Both books are packed with definitions and explanations of acronyms, nicknames, brand names, technical terms, and slang from the Vietnam War. You can browse through these at our store or purchase online.

Vintage Carnegie Classics

Vintage Dale Carnegie

We see Dale Carnegie‘s perennially popular self-improvement books come and go here all the time, but it’s a bit more unusual to see the vintage paperbacks in such nice condition! How to Win Friends and Influence People and How to Enjoy Your Life and Your Job are $5.00 each, while they last.

Vintage Treasure Trove: Robert E. Howard

New to arrive in our vintage goodies this week is an impressive collection of Robert E. Howard publications: books, chapbooks, zines, fanzines, and more.

Robert E. Howard was an American pulp fiction author best known for creating the character Conan the Barbarian. In fact, he is widely regarded as the father of the sword and sorcery fantasy subgenre.

From the Robert E. Howard Wikipedia page:

In the pages of the Depression-era pulp magazine Weird Tales, Howard created Conan the Barbarian, a character whose cultural impact has been compared to such icons as Batman, Count Dracula, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, and Tarzan. With Conan and his other heroes, Howard created the genre now known as sword and sorcery, spawning many imitators and giving him a large influence in the fantasy field. Howard remains a highly read author, with his best works still reprinted.

Stop in and browse this selection while it lasts! You can also browse and buy at our online shop.