16 July 2011

Pulp Magazine Covers - Dime Detective

Dime Detective Magazine Covers

Dime Detective Magazine

Pulp magazines (aka pulp fiction) refers to inexpensive fiction magazines which were published from 1896 up until the 1950s. These magazines were sold by the millions and depicted villains, heroes and damsels in distress. During the pulp fiction era, some of America’s finest pop artists created countless original artworks which adorned the covers of these magazines.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Photo Source: Newhousedesigns

The popularity of pulp magazines was overshadowed by the emergence of television in the 1950s.

Dime Detective magazine is a classic example of the pulp genre. This magazine series was one of the most popular and long-running of the pulp detective genre. The magazine ran from 1931 to 1953 with 274 issues being published.

Dime Detective, Pulp Magazine - 1939, January

03 July 2011

Book Review: The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

Author: Susan Hill

Publisher: Vintage

Publishing Date: 2007

ISBN: 9780099511649

It’s the late twentieth century, on a foggy English evening. In front of you stands a lonely manor house with a dilapidated graveyard and you are required to stay here, alone, to sort through the belongings of the recently deceased owner. Would you stay or turn and go straight back to where you come from. Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black is the story of what happened to young solicitor, Arthur Kipps, when he found himself in this situation.

The Woman in Black opens on Christmas Eve with the Kipps family sitting around the fire telling ghost stories. At this moment, the father, Arthur Kipps, appears quite shaken and abruptly leaves the room – unable to share a dark secret that has haunted him since he was a young man.

"They had chided me for being a spoilsport, tried to encourage me to tell them the one ghost story I must surely, like any other man, have it in me to tell. And they were right. Yes, I had a story, a true story, a story of haunting and evil, fear and confusion, horror and tragedy. But it was not a story to be told for casual entertainment, around the fireside on Christmas Eve."

This experience with his family results in Arthur Kipps reflecting back to his time as a young solicitor when he was sent to attend to the affairs of a recently deceased client, Mrs Drablow. On the instructions of his employer, Arthur travels to Eel Marsh House, the isolated and abandoned estate of Mrs Drablow. However, rumours about this estate are rampant and when he first arrives at the mansion, young Arthur is struck by its hauntingly beautiful appearance.

“I looked up ahead, and saw, as if rising out of the water itself, a tall, gaunt house of grey stone and with a slate roof, that now gleamed steely in the light. It stood like some lighthouse or beacon or martello tower, facing the whole, wide expanse of the marsh and estuary, the most astonishingly situated house I had ever seen or could conceivably have imagined.”

Arthur settles himself in the mansion, but he is not there for long when he begins to hear strange noises and sees visions of a pale, haggard woman dressed in black. After speaking with locals Arthur begins to piece together the tragic history of this English manor and those who once lived there. Arthur is intrigued at first by the strange happenings at Eel House, but eventually he becomes deathly ill and returns to London. However, this is by far the end, as Eel house and the mysterious ‘woman in black’ are not finished with Arthur Kipps.

In The Woman in Black, Susan Hill succeeds in presenting the reader with a classic Victorian ghost story. It is smoothly paced and contains all the ingredients of the genre – a mystery to solve, a lonely manor house and an isolated, foggy location. I would not describe The Woman in Black as ‘terrifying’, however, it is a good, old fashioned ghost story with enough plot twists to keep the reader interested. A good choice for a cold, wintery night.

30 June 2011

Book Review: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Author: Cormac McCarthy

Publisher: Picador

Publishing Date: 2010

ISBN: 9780330513005

Imagine living in a world where the majority of civilisation has been destroyed. A world where there is no food or water, no law or justice and no hope. A world where everyday is a fight for survival. This is the world that Cormac McCarthy introduces the reader to in The Road.

"What's the bravest thing you ever did?
He spat in the road a bloody phlegm. Getting up this morning, he said."

The Road is set in post-apocalyptic America at the time of an unexplained catastrophe which has all but destroyed the earth. The story centres on a nameless father and son who are trying to make their way through the bleak ash-covered wasteland that was once America. Armed with only a gun, two bullets and, a shopping trolley containing their meager belongings, the pair battle freezing temperatures, constant hunger and dangerous gangs who, like themselves, are also desperately ravaged by hunger and cold.

"He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in their running. The crushing black vacuum of the universe. And somewhere two hunted animals trembling like ground-foxes in their cover. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it."

The father and son share a strong bond and there is nothing that the father will not do to protect his son. Every choice the father makes, everything he does is in the best interest of his child. Amidst all the brutality, cruelty, savagery and despair the father’s love for his son shines through and gives him a reason to continue on. Through the relationship between the boy and his father, McCarthy succeeds in conveying the message that when all else is gone, it is love that is most important.

"Listen to me, he said, when your dreams are of some world that never was or some world that never will be, and you're happy again, then you'll have given up. Do you understand? And you can't give up, I won't let you."

In The Road, McCarthy has created a world which is bleak and harsh. A world full of horror and sadness. A world where the strong prey on the weak and where the future is grimmer than the present. Through the bleak and depressing content of this book, Cormac McCarthy shows the reader what the world of the future may look like. A world I hope we never have to experience. Although bleak and, at times, depressing The Road is truly an amazing read! Highly recommended.

23 June 2011

Review: Cuckoo - the true story of 'Mr Stinky' by Andrew Rule

Author: Andrew Rule

Publisher: Floradale Press

Publishing Date: 1988

ISBN: 0731618599

How can a rapist and murderer walk among us undetected for almost 20 years? Was he extremely lucky or cunning enough to slip under the radar of the Victorian Police? Or, was he simply so ‘ordinary’ that he was merely overlooked as a suspect. In Cuckoo – The true story of ‘Mr Stinky’, the Madhill-Heywood sex killer, Andrew Rule tries to address some of the questions that a case such as this raises.

Cuckoo follows the life of one of Australia’s most wanted men, who for almost twenty years was only known as ‘Mr Stinky’. Andrew Rule chronicles the seemingly ordinary and mundane existence of this man from the time of the 1966 Madill-Heywood murders in the Victorian town of Shepparton, to his capture in the NSW town of Albury in 1985 to his eventual sentencing in 1986.

By all accounts, on the surface, Raymond Edmunds was a ‘normal’, hardworking man trying to raise a young family. However, he was far from ‘normal’ as was eventually revealed. Edmunds lived a secret life of a peeping tom, child molester, rapist and murderer. He had a vicious and violent nature with an insatiable sexual appetite and terrorised women for decades before his eventual capture.

In Cuckoo, Andrew Rule highlights both the persistence of the Australian police and the inadequacies of the legal system at the time. This book also raises the question as to whether Edmunds should have been caught earlier. Mistakes were made by the investigators in the Madill-Heywood murder case and leads were not followed up. However, in the end, it wasn’t clever police work that resulted in capturing this monster. It was simply that his luck had finally run out.

For almost twenty years Raymond Edmunds, the sex killer dubbed "Mr Stinky", was one of Australia's most wanted men but no-one knew his name. Edmunds was a violent and vicious sex offender. However, on the surface he seemed to be a ‘normal’, hardworking man who could very well have been your next door neighbour. This book tells a chilling story and will make the reader wonder what other evil walks among us!

09 March 2011

Review: Who Killed Dave by Linda Cockburn

Author: Linda Cockburn

Publisher: Together Press

Publishing Date: 2009

ISBN: 9780646501321

From the back cover:

Dave died in mysterious and grotesque circumstances and the murder has caught the imagination of a nation. There’s a television poll running and 46% of voters believe Robyn is guilty. Maybe she did, maybe she didn’t, she wasn’t in any state to remember.

But hey, if you’re pointing fingers then Kaos Court is full of people crazy enough to commit the crime.

This part time masseuse, part time tarot card reader is going to need all her skills to find out who killed Dave, because it’s the only thing standing between her and Detective Mark Hood, a man she could never marry, not when your first name is Robyn. Right?

A whacky whodunit comedy that cartwheels from one chaotic moment to the next.

And who killed Dave? ... You’ll never guess!

Do you enjoy a good murder mystery? Feel as though you have the blood of Sherlock Holmes running through your veins? If so, then grab your magnifying glass and join the residents of Kaos Court to find out 'Who Killed Dave?'.

Kaos Court is a whacky Australian suburban street which houses an array of even whackier residents who range in whackiness from a blind telephone sex operator to Harry the Hermit and Bundy the Pitt Bull. In Who Killed Dave?, Linda Cockburn, takes the reader on a journey through the bizarrely connected lives of these residents.

Who Killed Dave? is narrated by Robin, a psychic masseuse and one of the more balanced residents of Kaos Court. However, trouble seems to follow Robin around and she continually has to navigate her way through a series of bizarre and dangerous situations in her quest to find out who killed Dave - one of the Court's more unpopular residents. Everyone in Kaos Court becomes a suspect in Dave's bizarre murder, including Robin, and to be honest, any one of them are crazy enough to have committed the crime.

Witty and full of surprises, Who Killed Dave? is a tale that is bound to please those with a sense of humour, any fan of crime fiction with a touch of the bizarre or anyone who just wants to have a good laugh at the expense of others. Who Killed Dave? is recommended reading for anyone looking for a light-hearted and raunchy murder mystery.

So, who did kill Dave? You can grab a copy here if you want to find out!

Rating: B

About the Author:

Taken from Together Press

Linda Cockburn is the author of Living the Good Life - Simple Strategies for sustainable Living, also titled Living the Good Life - How One Family Changed their world from their own backyard, published in 2006 by Hardie Grant and 2007 by Snowbooks.

The book details Linda's family's attempt to live six months from a suburban block producing their own food, power, water, transport and creating zero waste. They've been featured on Channel 7's Today, Tonight, Time Magazine, Notebook, That's Life and many others. Linda is a regular contributor to ABC Organic Gardening Magazine.

Linda has almost clocked up enough hours in Australia to be considered true blue, but her pronunciation of 'fish n' chips' still gives away her kiwi origins.

Linda, partner Trevor and son Caleb have moved to Tasmania where they are building a strawbale home without use of concrete, PVC and chemical paints. They've surrounded themselves in goats, sheep, chooks (chickens) and bees and spend most of their time saving on gym fees working out in the garden.

28 February 2011

Celluloid Serial Killers by Paul B. Kidd

Author: Paul B. Kidd
Publisher: The Five Mile Press
Publishing Date: 2007
Genre: Non-Fiction, Serial Killers
ISBN: 9781741784275

Australian true crime author, Paul B. Kidd, presents an excellent reference guide on serial killer movies and the fiends who inspired those movies. Kidd has produced a comprehensive and compelling guide to the history of the serial killer movie genre and introduces the real-life serial killers who inspired these movies.

This book is made up of 45 separate chapters, with each chapter covering a different movie. Each section comprises a review of the movie, a movie poster, a biography and picture (if available) of the actual killer. The book offers a very comprehensive coverage of the most influential serial killer movies and a detailed introduction to some of the most depraved serial killers in history, including Fritz Lang's M (1931), Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960), Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) and Zodiac (2007). Kidd also includes some movies which are not based on an actual historical serial killer such as Sea of Love (1989), The Bone Collector (1999) and Blood Work (2002).

Celluloid Serial Killers is presented in an easy to read format and, while the content matter is not for the faint-hearted, it is ideal for both true crime fans and movie buffs alike. After reading this book you may find yourself running out to get a copy of the movies that Paul B. Kidd recommends. A highly recommended read.

Rating: A

About the Author:

Paul B. Kidd is an Australian true crime author and recognised authority on Australian serial killers and criminals. Kidd is also radio talkback host, research producer and photojournalist. He is the author of approximately sixteen books on various subjects including true crime and fishing. Paul B. Kidd currently resides in Sydney, Australia.

You can purchase this book from the following link:

Celluloid Serial Killers: The History of Serial Killers in the Movies
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