Introducing Dime Pulp
What is pulp fiction, anyway? Immediately the lurid color illustrations of pulp magazines covers depicting a damsel in some sort of distress or at least dominating the picture plane and advertising an unspoken prurience come to mind. For many, the bygone era of pulp fiction was reading entertainment before movies, radio and then television replaced that particular skill. Whatever designation anyone might want to tack on to it, pulp is a unique American prose style based on the economy of storytelling needed to fit into the word count constraints of the magazines that published them. Many of those pulp writers were also journalists skilled in succinctness and cutting to the chase. While much of the writing could be considered uncouth, déclassé, or trash, the penny-a-word hacks churned out a kind of fantastic storytelling that’s been around since practically the invention of writing (if one is to believe Mikhail Bakhtin). Crime fiction itself has an American origin, in Baltimore, from the pen of Edgar Allen Poe. The superstars of that genre, Hammett, Chandler, and Gardner, were published in the highly respected Black Mask Magazine but also in magazines like Dime Detective, and Spicy Detective. An abundance of irony and a certain cynicism set the requisite tone. There are only bad people and less bad people and they don’t even think of themselves in that way. The modern gaze is blurred in discerning right from wrong because we inhabit the age of relativity. It’s all very dark, particularly after the war, some might even say “noir.” Crime fiction and westerns are where the tough hombres and mujeres live, lines are drawn in the sand or around corpses and someone is always on the wrong side (or so it seems). In the early pulps, those shady characters were roughly drawn, sketchy, succinct, the dialogue terse, wisecracking, the action constant.
The first issue of Dime Pulp Volume I, presents the initial installments in the serialization of two full length novels, The Last Resort and A Detective Story, as well as a short story from the series of tales under the rubric of Hard Boiled Myths. As was often done in the days of yore, the writers appear under pseudonyms. “Colin Deerwood,” the author of A Detective Story, is an amateur historian who claims to have been inspired to write his period piece after contemplating the cover of an issue of Black Mask. “Helena Baron-Murdock,” under her own name is a scholar of comparative religions and myth and is the creator of Sheriff’s Detective Jim Donovan of the Hard Boiled Myths short story series. The Last Resort, A Lee Malone Adventure, by poet and publisher Pat Nolan (not a pseudonym but in Nolan’s estimation, he is obscure enough not to need one) was written to upend the stereotypical image of the hard boiled crime sleuth. The Last Resort was originally published by Nualláin House, Publishers, in 2012—it is serialized here for the first time. There are also a few more authors waiting in the wings (chaffing at the bit) to contribute to future issues. The authors are given a free hand to have fun in writing their pulp fiction because they certainly aren’t getting paid. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First things first: click the bold text below each story header and start your reading of Dime Pulp, Number One, Volume One.
—Perry O’Dickle, chief scribe
and word accountant
The Last Resort A Lee Malone Adventure
Deep in the redwood wilds along the Corkscrew River, someone is shooting neighborhood dogs. The year is 1985 and Lee Malone, former fashion model, queen of the runways from Paris to Milan, once dubbed the most beautiful woman in the world, now a part-time reporter for The Corkscrew County Grapevine, is looking for a story to sink her teeth into. When Lee finds the owner of Kelly’s Seaside Resort brutally murdered, it leads her on an adventure that includes a mysterious gray van, another murder, extortion, pornography, sex slavery, and a shadowy organization of militant feminists known as SAPHO. In the process, Lee Malone’s notorious past catches up with her. A rollicking imaginative romp in the neo-pulp hard boiled genre, THE LAST RESORT is told with the succinct directness of a Hammett, the witty hyperbole and lush locales of a Chandler as well as a sly nod to Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys adventures.
Hard Boiled Myths
Crime Fiction With A Classical Twist
Greek myth is rife with murder, mutilation, cannibalism, mayhem, and the ever popular incest. Weston County Sheriff’s Detective Jim Donovan of the Violent Crimes Unit wouldn’t know a Greek myth from a Greek salad, but if he did he would find some troubling similarities to the cases he’s investigating.
A Detective Story
Lackland Ask is the name. ‘Lack’ to my friends, ‘Don’t’ to those who think they’re funny. You might have seen my portrait on the cover of Black Mask, the crime friction magazine. This is my story. It starts with a blonde. This kind of story always starts with a blonde.
I was wearing my only suit, a barely stylish, casual lapel pinstripe black coat over a high vest and loosened at the neck a small knot red, blue and gold school tie. The frayed cuff of my white shirt at my left wrist nudged the square crystal of the watch held there with an alligator hide strap. That hand rested casually half out of the pocket of the matching pinstriped trousers. My other hand held a police special, finger on the trigger, pointed in the general direction of the sawdust and dirt floor.