Recently I was looking for something new to read and I mentioned to a friend that I wanted something that was New Pulp. He proceeded to list a bunch of “unique,” “different” and “original” tales… which wasn’t really what I wanted. I was looking, I said, for some good old-fashioned hero pulp action. Kind of like the stuff that I used to write lol.
So finally he mentioned The Bishop of Port Victoria by D. Alan Lewis. “It’s hero pulp,” he said. So I went out and got it.
I now wonder if my friend is seriously unhinged or just has a different view of “hero pulp” than I do.
Because I don’t consider this traditional hero pulp at all.
So on the one hand, I was disappointed that I didn’t get to see what I wanted to see – escapist entertainment. On the other hand, what I did get was really, really good.
Here’s how the publisher describes the book:
With ultimate power, who is corrupted more? The Good or the Evil? At the start of the 20th century in the city of Port Victoria, three college students were given a formula that imbued them with incredible powers; strength, agility, and speed. Donning masks and capes, they took to the streets to fight crime and battle evil. Their tactics were effective but harsh, stacking up a body count larger than the mobs. But as the decades went by, the heroes passed their abilities through their bloodline to each generation of their descendants. And each generation spawned a hero to protect the Port. Born into a city when the first generation of heroes fought, Eric Raven struggled in the mean streets of Port Victoria to survive. After witnessing the horrific murder of his mother, he found a home in an orphanage where the men of God taught him right from wrong. Another lesson he learned, however, is that sometimes what is considered right by some is evil in the eyes of others. Although lacking super powers, Eric transforms himself into The Bishop to bring his own form of justice and peace to the city. But as he grows physically and spiritually, he finds the lines between good and evil blurred. Are the heroes doing God’s work or is he? And in the end, will he be the city’s spiritual leader or the world’s most diabolical villain? The Bishop of Port Victoria by D. Alan Lewis chronicles the life of Eric Raven from orphaned street rat to a bastion of power in his nineties in a collection of intertwining stories. Set in the city Lewis debuted in Pro Se Productions’ ground breaking Black Pulp anthology, these two fisted tales not only feature stunning characters and edge of your seat action, but also explore truly what it means to be a hero and a villain…and how a man might just be both. The Bishop of Port Victoria by D. Alan Lewis from Pro Se Productions.
Now, I think that description is way too wordy but it does describe it all quite nicely.
Basically we have a series of vignettes that span the entire life of Eric Raven, the young man who eventually becomes The Bishop. Tormented by a terrible childhood and a seriously skewed set of religious beliefs, Eric becomes a masked killer, obsessed with controlling the bloodline of a superhero family. Along the way we get some really well-written character scenes, lots of graphic violence and a couple of genuine twists and surprises towards the end. I had figured out the “big” reveal but there were certainly aspects that left me going “Ohhhh! Why didn’t I see that?!”
Kudos to the author for that!
The cover is pretty cool and the story was a nice mix of Silence of the Lambs and old-school pulp adventure. It’s very much a psychological horror story, though, so don’t be confused by the fact that it has a masked lead.
I give it a solid 4 out of 5 and recommend it if you’re looking something that’s character-driven, slanted towards horror/suspense and don’t mind seeing good people treated very, very poorly.