The Education of a Pulp Writer is a gritty in your face read by David Cranmer that features ten short stories that predate his work in Westerns. The people in these stories are people living on the edge of, not just society as noted in the introduction, but on the edge of everything. Character desperation is prevalent here as is the drive to do something--even when the character knows it is the wrong choice. Sometimes it is greed, sometimes it is revenge, and sometimes they make bad choices just because they can. These stories are very much adult oriented with adult situations and occasionally graphic language.
The book opens with “Blubber.” The young college student needs money and hasn’t thought out all the implications of the ad she posted on Craigslist. Now that she is at the client’s apartment and has seen the task before her she is having serious second thoughts.
Anna Olmstead is in a nightmare and the police are involved in “Clouds In A Bunker.” Her mother has far advanced dementia and is being cared for by her father in the family home. He too is now suffering from worsening dementia. He has also taken her mother hostage and has retreated to a bunker on the family property. The situation has turned desperate and police believe he will kill her mother and then himself as soon as he talks to Amanda.
Kirby MacGregor believes in hands on experience in “The Education Of A Pulp Writer” and therefore keeps an accurate and detailed record of his actions. After all, any writer who intends to write crime fiction has to get the details right because so much is so very wrong on the television shows. It would help if the various neighbors would just leave him alone as he is a very busy man.
Readers move from an apartment building to the water in “The Great Whydini.” Frank Oliver is a magician who is practicing his act where, with his feet wrapped in chains and padlocked, he has to free himself while deep in the water. His assistant, Jay Wiedlin, as well as Frank’s wife, Angela are out on the boat supposedly to help him. Cayuga Lake of New York state is the final setting for this triangle of passion and deceit.
You can be the favorite son in a wealthy family and be thought of as “A Golden God.” Gods fall.
Mildred Malloy had a plan in “The Missing Husband of Mildred Malloy.” Two more days is all she needs.
Like several of these stories – to explain very much would ruin the read in “The Sins Of Maynard Shipley.” Maynard hates old people and with good reason in this story that keeps readers guessing all the way to the end.
Readers know from the start of “Vengeance On The 18th” that Truman Krup used a nine iron on the head of Jackson Lee Mercer and killed him. Not just the head, but, the rest of the body too. Truman had a good reason and that eventually becomes clear as do a few other things as this story moves forward.
On the run from the cops things are not going well in “Minnow Escape.” Being wounded with dwindling options does not to help matters in this tale published back in 2008 that can’t help but remind readers of recent events in the news.
Luther F. Hudson went into the house to rob it. That had been his plan as “Bon Temps” begins. A drunk woman, a dead man on the floor, and the promises of a better score changes everything.
These ten stories primarily feature people doing desperate things to survive. As such, the characters in these stories occasionally use adult language that some readers would consider graphic. Readers who prefer killings not descried in any detail, stories where no one says any of George Carlin’s famous seven words as well as a few others, prefer things to be simple and clear cut where the bad guys go quietly off to jail, should probably look elsewhere for their reading entertainment.
The Education of a Pulp Writer is a very good short story collection featuring a number of strong stores with interesting and flawed characters. Some works are extremely short and would easily fit into one of the many definitions for flash fiction. Others are considerably longer and shift in POV though various characters. All the stories are bound together by a rich texture of details that make the characters and situations all very real to the reader. They are also all very good.
The Education of a Pulp Writer
Beat to a Pulp
This title was picked up during the author’s recent free read promotion. Unfortunately, at this time, this title is not currently available according to Amazon.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2013
Mind Slices and Carpathian Shadows, Volume II
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