RABBIT HEART goes under the knife!

rabbit_heart_newRay Bara posted a review of RABBIT HEART on Amazon.com and he gave it a solid 5 star rating! Here’s his full review:

A Different Type of Barry Reese Book But a Great Barry Reese Book Nonetheless!

I have read all of Barry Reese’s New Pulp series, including the Peregrine (who will always be the Rook in my heart), Lazarus Gray, and the Gravedigger. I finally got around to Rabbit Heart and I wish I had read it years ago. While it varied greatly from Reese’s series work, it still had his excellent writing and his New Pulp sensibilities. I enjoyed the change of pace. Rabbit Heart is more violent and sexy than Reese’s series, which he wrote well. I enjoyed the character of Fiona Chapman, an undead killer with a conscience. I liked his use of Ascott Keane, the apparently ageless occult investigator from the days of Pulp. I also liked Reese’s use of his hometown of Milledgeville and the local lore he included in the story. Rabbit Heart was action-packed, full of sex and violence, and loaded with great characters and plotting. That is, Rabbit Heart is everything one would want from a New Pulp book. Reese, as usual, hit the mark with another excellent story. Read it, read it, read it!

Thanks, Ray! Rabbit Heart was always meant to be a departure from my standard fare and I’m glad that people have seemed to enjoy it. I’ve had many readers say it’s actually their favorite work of mine!

I appreciate you taking the time to review it.

The Hounds of Hell

hounds_of_hellToday we’re taking a look at The Hounds of Hell by Ron Fortier and Gordon Linzner. Originally published by Wild Cat Books in 2005, this title was later reprinted by Airship 27 in 2008. Here’s how the publisher describes the title:

When Pulp Worlds Collide! The Moon Man and Doctor Satan, hero and villain of their own pulp magazines, meet here for the first time ever in the cross-over that will leave you spellbound and begging for more. Illustrated by Rob Davis and Bradley Walton, with an eye-popping wrap-around cover by Tom Floyd. This edition also includes 2 short stories by Ron Fortier: “Lady Arcane – Mistress of Magic” and “Angel In His Sights” as bonus pieces in this pulp fiction masterpiece.

Pulp fiction masterpiece? That’s strong words — but in this case, they’re well deserved. The Hounds of Hell was the first “New Pulp” book I read. I’d grown up on the classics, of course, and I was reading lots of stuff that could be described as pulpy back in 2006… but when I stumbled upon The Hounds of Hell, I was blown away. This was straight-on pulp that called itself that. It featured two classic pulp characters (The Moon Man & Doctor Satan) in a crossover clash. It was pure cool. I had already been working on my first pulp novel (Conquerors of Shadow, reprinted by Pro Se in The Family Grace) but this was the book that cemented in my mind that I could do more of this… I could do the kind of pulp that I really loved, the masked vigilante stuff. Without this book, I wouldn’t have kept writing my own pulp stories — so you wouldn’t have seen The Rook or Lazarus Gray. Now, that may not be a good thing if you don’t like my work but it’s true nonetheless! The impact on my own work can be seen in the way I’ve used The Moon Man (in The Rook Volume One), Ascott Keane (in The Rook and Rabbit Heart) and Doctor Satan (in The Rook and, soon, Lazarus Gray).

Anyway, what Ron and Gordon do here is take two different characters and throw them together in a really fun way, emphasizing each supporting cast to the fullest. The villains are dastardly and the heroes are inspirational. It’s all that good pulp should be! The interior art Rob Davis is perfectly suited to the story and was a great reminder of the days when pulps contained interior art. Again, this is one reason why I usually insist on having art in my books!

Obviously, considering how much this work has inspired me, I’d heartily recommend it to anyone looking for a good time. Is it High Art? Well, no. It’s a fun romp, full of escapist pleasure. Embrace it.

My Favorite Heroic Creations

I sometimes get asked about which of my characters are my favorites. To some degree, I love all my creations — they’re my “babies,” as it were. But there are definitely ones that have a spot closer to my heart:

The Rook — Obviously, Max Davies would be near the top. I’ve written six books about him and he’s my most well-known creation. But I do have a love/hate relationship with him, in that when I do other projects, people always want to come back around to talk about The Rook. I’ve “finished” his series multiple times and always get sucked back in. Still, Max and his family are the backbone of the fictional pulp universe I’ve created and all the other characters exist in his shadow.

Lazarus Gray — For years, I tried to create a viable second “series” to The Rook. I did some good projects along the way but nothing that really felt like I could do this series for years — until Lazarus Gray and his friends in Assistance Unlimited came along. Taking all the things I loved about The Avenger and mixing them up with my own supernatural-tinged style, Lazarus has quickly become one of my all-time favorites. Three books in the series have seen print and I’ve already written a fourth. The second book in the series swept the 2013 Pulp Ark Awards, winning Best Novel, Best Cover and Best Interior Art.

Fiona Chapman — The star of my controversial novel Rabbit Heart, Fiona is the fictional outlet for my most visceral desires. Beautiful, intelligent and deadly, she’s the epitome of the “hot bad-ass girl with a sword” archetype. Though I may never do a sequel to the story, she’ll always be close to my heart. With a new edition of this novel coming soon from Pro Se, I hope the character will receive a new burst of popularity.

Ascott Keane — Not my original creation but I feel connected to him because he’s appeared in multiple Rook stories and co-starred in Rabbit Heart. Though the original character fought Doctor Satan in the Golden Age of the Pulps, I think I’ve tweaked Ascott enough that I can feel a sense of ownership over him.

Violet Cambridge — Violet starred in The Damned Thing and had a cameo in The Rook Volume Six. A tough-as-nails lady P.I. in the late Thirties, Violet is a well-rounded character in my opinion. Her quasi-romance with Rook supporting character Will McKenzie was quite charming, in my opinion. Her novel was one of my most tightly-written works and I think it holds together very, very well. As with Rabbit Heart, The Damned Thing will be getting a spiffy new edition soon.

Gravedigger — The newest character on this list, Gravedigger’s first appearance was released just a few months ago and has received rave reviews. I finished writing the sequel earlier this week. Charity Grace is in many ways the spiritual sister of Fiona, as they both fulfill the same archetypal requirements. But Gravedigger comes with a very strong back-story and premise — a young woman whose life has been filled with sin is killed, only to be revived by the mysterious Voice, who offers her a deal: serve as its champion for three years and at the end of that period, her soul will be judged once more. If she’s found redemption, she will be free to live with a second chance at life. Fail… and a lifetime of damnation awaits. While Lazarus Gray took its inspiration from The Avenger, Gravedigger is a heady mix of The Shadow and a lot of my more esoteric interests. I’ve kicked around an idea that would actually bring nearly all my characters together in one huge, time-spanning adventure. If I did, there’s no way I could resist having Gravedigger and Fiona clash swords.

I’ll have to do one of these lists for all my favorite villainous creations, too!