A few months ago I reviewed Thomas Pluck’s Blade Of Dishonor, stating it was a throwback to the men’s adventure paperbacks of the ’70s and ’80s. Interest in those books has been promoted by author and editor Johnny Shaw’s Blood & Tacos, a series of print-on-demand stories written by different authors. You can now purchase all of those stories in one fantastic book, Blood & Tacos: The Beginning.
The anthology is a collection of stories “found” by each contributing author. In many, the story of how the author “discovered” the work is included, along with the bio of the author who supposedly wrote it. Todd Robinson’s bio for Holleran Oates, purported creator of the macho deep sea diver Studs Winslow, is equally as entertaining as his story.
The stories range in type of heroes and approach (although of course, true to genre, every other lead is a Vietnam vet). Gary Phillips pays spot-on homage to these beloved paperbacks with his Compton vigilante, The Silencer (a character I hope he revisits). However, many stories are more tongue and cheek, such as Thomas Pluck’s kung-fu bad ass Sugar Brown Brookdale thwarting a KKK strip joint. Author Josh Stallings uses the supporting character in his Moses McGuire series for Sunshine: Stripper Assassin. And as if that wasn’t enough to entice you, there are also government agents, American Indians out for vengeance, commando teams, and bastard mercenaries with politics both left and right. Shaw even wraps it up with a story from Stephen Mertz, who wrote many of the original early paperbacks.
Whether parodying or playing it straight, these tough guy (and sometimes gal) tales are always entertaining. Blood & Tacos will pump you full of good times and nostalgia.
Copies of Blood & Tacos are available on our shelves at BookPeople and via bookpeople.com.