Thursday, 31 October 2019


eBook cover
Author: Guy N. Smith
First Published: 1980
File size/Pages: 473KB / 207pp
Ebook Publisher: Black Hill Books
Ebook Date: February 2011

When I finished reading Bamboo Guerillas, the first Guy N. Smith book to appear on Digital Bibliophilia, I really did not think I would be reviewing a third Smith book within five months. I was not very impressed with that first novel, however I gave Cannibals a chance and thought it was better, so I thought why the hell not give a him a third try. I'm glad I did, as Deathbell is a significant improvement on both those earlier novels.

Written in 1980, it would appear that Deathbell could have been written before GNS embarked on a crazy schedule of six books in the next twelve months. I fear (no pun intended) for the quality of those books - that is a lot of books for one person to release. However, 1980 itself consisted of three other novels; Thirst; Satan's Snowdrop and Caracal, so who am I to criticise!

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Viper Squad (Point Team #2)

eBook cover
Author: J. B. Hadley
First Published: 1985
File size/Pages: 945KB / 207pp
Ebook Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Ebook Date: September 2009

The are are two important things to note about this book review. The first is that I made a terrible mistake when I started reading Viper Squad by J. B. Hadley. There are three books in the series under the banner "A Point Team Adventure" and I thought I was reading the first book in the series! It turns out I was reading the second book. I should have started with The Point Team - damn I hate it when that happens!

The second thing of note is that this eBook version of a 1985 paperback published by Warner Publishing was re-released in 2009 by Grand Central Publishing. They have made an absolute hash of the content with some of the worst formatting I have ever seen in a book sold in the Kindle Store. A total disgrace to the author and the book they wave written. Really, I have no idea what goes on in the publishing industry in regards to converting paperbacks to eBooks but someone really took their eye off the ball here and have put out a seriously low quality product. I suspect Grand Central considered that the amount of customers to potentially purchase this book would be low and therefore it was not worth the attention to detail it deserves. Thanks a bunch Grand Central Publishing.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

The Spirit

eBook cover
Author: Thomas Page
First Published: 1977
File size/Pages: 2864kb / 197pp
Ebook Publisher: Valancourt Books
Ebook Date: August 2019

There is a point while I was reading The Spirit by Thomas Page that I had flashbacks to the fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I won't spoil anything, but if you read the novel, or have already read the novel, it might happen to you too.

I read the re-print version by Valancourt Books, which has come about via the enormous success of their coffee table reference book Paperbacks From Hell by Grady Hendrix with contributions from Will Errickson. For anyone wishing to further explore the horror realm I strongly recommend a visit to Will's blog, Too Much Horror Fiction - there is a  link on this page in the "Blogs I Follow" section in the sidebar. I'm always visiting it for inspiration, checking out cover-scans and reviews.

The Spirit was authored by Thomas Page, born in Washington, DC in 1942, this was his second novel and followed the science fiction novel The Hephaestus Plague - a story about the discovery of a fire-making beetle with an amazing scientific secret that was made into the film Bug by William Castle. Page wrote The Spirit, but was unhappy with the end product and the introduction to this edition of the novel has a great introduction by Grady Hendrix covering the history of the the book and how its author came about finally finishing it.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Gun Law at Hangman's Creek (Shane and Jonah #1)

Author: Cole Shelton (aka Roger Norris-Green)
First Published: 1978(?)
File size/Pages: 3201kb / 111pp
Ebook Publisher: Piccadilly Publishing
Ebook Date: October 2019

October is a good month if you follow the release schedule of Piccadilly Publishing. Of the ten eBooks being published, three of them are the first novels in new series. It's always good to get in at the beginning of a run of books that you are following, so I have decided to give all three a chance beginning with Gun Law at Hangman's Creek, the opener for the Shane and Jonah sequence, which  I am led to believe via Wikipedia ran up to 25 novels.

The Shane and Jonah stories were authored by Roger Norris-Green, writing as Cole Shelton. As of the time of writing I've not been able to track down a list of the novels or their publication dates, but my guess is they began during the late seventies. Roger was born in Brighton, UK and emigrated to Australia with his parents when he was only thirteen years old. The family settled in the south of the country where Roger eventually began his writing career by submitting short stories to his school's magazine. He went into advertising and became successful enough to run his own agency. Following his marriage, and a period of study that led him to become a lay preacher in the Christian faith, Roger started writing professionally for the Cleveland Publishing Company. As well as writing around 140 westerns for Cleveland and Black Horse he has also published six novels about the Copper Coast and Christian faith books.

Monday, 14 October 2019

The Doomsday Bag (Ed Noon #20)

Ebook cover
Author: Michael Avallone
First Published: 1969
File size/Pages: 477kb / 141pp
Ebook Publisher: Story Merchant Books
Ebook Date: March 2014

I decided to test whether or not you could just pick up an Ed Noon mystery novel and wade in regardless of the number of the book in the series. I had been disappointed with Avallone's Satan Sleuth opener Fallen Angel, but I was already a fan from my youth via his Planet of the Apes and Man from U.N.C.L.E. novels and had promised to look into Ed Noon in the Satan Sleuth review so had to give him a second chance - I figured he earned it just for being Michael Avallone! So I had a browse through the Kindle store at the Ed Noon books that were available (pretty much all of them) and settled on one that had a slightly different, but original looking, cover scan with a naked lady and a classic James Bond pose.

The Ed Noon series ran from 1953 to 1990 comprising of over thirty novels. Noon debuted with The Tall Dolores in 1953, where his character begins his career as a down and out private investigator with a small office in Manhattan, New York which he refers to as his 'Mouse Auditorium'. He is ably assisted by secretary Melissa Mercer. By the sixties Avallone made a strategic move to tie in with the current trend of spy-related media and Noon became the go-to-guy for the President of the United States when ever he needed some investigative work done without the knowledge of the Secret Service or the FBI. Ed Noon became the "Spy to Mr President" and his capers veered more into that world, getting more and more outlandish as the years went by.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Doctor Orient (Doctor Orient #1)

Author: Frank Lauria
First Published: 1970
Pages: 224

Doctor Orient is the first in a series of Occult Adventure books by Frank Lauria. Published in 1970, the books are imbued with a strong sense of the late sixties and seventies, groovy cars, clothes made of exuberant materials, flamboyant characters that use words such as " jive", disco queens, rock chicks and pop idols.

The titular hero, Dr Owen Orient has been practising magic to defend against the dark arts for many years. But his youthful exterior belies the hidden depths to his former 'selves'. Along with his assistant, Sordi, he lives a relatively quiet life in New York below the radar of the paparazzi and the suits in government.

The opening novel centres around a favour requested by one of Orient's friends and former psychic students, Hap Prentice a former baseball player. Hap contacts Orient and requests that the Doctor conducts a telepathic investigation into the condition of his current girlfriend, Malta. Malta has been locked in a state of demonic possession for some time and Hap cannot revive her, physically or mentally. Orient agrees to help and they transport her to his house for further examination.