Jimmy Sangster, Touchfeather, too (Brash Books); Gerald Duff, Memphis Luck (Brash Books); Max Allen Collins, Black Hats (Brash Books)
Brash Books offer three free e-copies to their inner circle of readers in return for serious reviews. It seems a good reason to try Something Really Different, at least from my usual reading. Alas, however, of these titles only Black Hats was gripping: Jimmy Sangster’s Touchfeather, too means to be comic crime. Katy Touchfeather is an airplane stewardess who also has a very different job which resembles many undercover plots. She likes sex. She finds herself reporting to her boss only when he summons her to do the next job; there is serious danger. I had no idea such old-fashioned rubbish was still alive and kicking. Katy is every man’s desire, and uses her training to sink ships (ok, one ship). But the sad fact is that this is cliched fantasy for boys and not very funny. No doubt many readers stuck in adolescence will read Sangster’s book.
Memphis Luck is a second shot at an unsatisfactory book, Memphis Mojo. Gerald Duff has written over a dozen books; many seem to be set in the Deep South (e.g. Memphis). Duff can catch a character, but I have to say that the characters he catches may not appeal to readers who might feel queasy about their casual racism. This is another made-for-men novel, and I’m sure many of that persuasion will enjoy it.
But there is justice: Black Hats mixes Prohibition and the Roaring Twenties in unexpected ways—including that two of the main characters are Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson. But that’s not all: the gangsters who are targeting the ritzy nightclub run by the son of Wyatt’s great friend (its name is, of course, Holliday’s), what can the old generation do to protect and serve and deal with a young gangster with an Italian name: Capone. At this point I raise my cap and thank the people at Brash for the chance to read something so good and really really different.