Monday, June 29, 2020

Terror of the Crimson Talons - Fred Blosser



Fred Blosser is best known for his non-fiction about the work of Robert E. Howard and other subjects related to popular culture. But he’s also a fine author of fiction himself, as I know because I published his excellent historical adventure novel THE SAVAGE PACK a few years ago. His latest fictional offering is TERROR OF THE CRIMSON TALONS, a novelette inspired by Howard’s stories about two-fisted detective Steve Harrison.

Blosser’s version is called Kirby Brill, two names familiar to readers of Howard’s yarns. Brill is a retired police detective who’s now a private investigator in a nameless city where the shadows are thick and the streets are always damp. In a very nice twist, Blosser has moved the action up from the Thirties to the Fifties, so the world is a little coarser and filled with new dangers such as the atom bomb. Brill’s methods haven’t changed from the old days, however. When he gets in trouble, he’s still inclined to slug or shoot his way out, although he’s actually a pretty clever thinker, too.

In TERROR OF THE CRIMSON TALONS, Brill get a call for help from the beautiful daughter of a famous explorer and archeologist. She was given Brill’s name by a friend of her father’s, who also happens to be one of Brill’s friends. Before the case can barely get started, though, Brill is almost seduced by an exotic Oriental beauty and attacked by Mongolian bandits. He’s also targeted by hatchet men working for a Chinese tong leader who carries an old grudge against him. Throw in an Afghan sidekick who’s a great character, some shadowy figures whose true allegiance is unknown, some torture and whipping scenes straight out of a Weird Menace yarn, abundant nudity, and a vicious catfight, and you’ve got a nonstop action yarn that’s incredibly entertaining. Blosser really knows the territory he’s working and does a superb job of it.

As a bonus, there are two short articles about Howard’s Steve Harrison stories included with this novelette, and they’re informative and enjoyable as well. I just had a great time reading TERROR OF THE CRIMSON TALONS, and I was glad to see that Blosser left an opening for Kirby Brill to return. To that possibility, I say an emphatic yes. I’m ready to read more of Kirby Brill’s adventures right now.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hooray for Kirby Brill. I got my copy and thoroughly enjoyed it!

John M. Whalen

Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds great. I’ll definitely buy THAT for a dollar! Thanks for the heads-up.

-b.t.

Adventuresfantastic said...

Sold!