Review By Nick Ahlhelm
I have mentioned before how I think sports pulps are overlooked by a lot of the New Pulp publishers currently creating new pulp fiction, my own Pulp Empire included. Thankfully the modern publishing industry makes it easy for just about anyone to fill that void. Enter crime writer and LA police officer Paul Bishop and veteran genre writer Mel Odom.
Together they created “Jack Tunney” a collective pseduonym they could use to publish their own line of boxing fiction under.
Bishop’s entry is called Felony Fists and it is pure pulp crime fiction through and through. Our narrator and star is Patrick “Felony” Flynn. Flynn grew up in an orphanage, his brother (and star of Odom’s “Fight Card” novel) his only family. He grew up a boxer, but went first to the army as an adult. Now it’s 1954 and he’s an L.A. cop with an intense hatred of police corruption and organized crime.
Specifically his target is Mickey Cohen, the city’s top gangster and a man that wants to control boxing on the west coast. Flynn still boxes as an amateur, but he’s far from being able to stop Cohen’s chosen fighter: Solomon King.
That quickly changes when Flynn is recruited by Parker, chief of the police detective ‘Hat Squad’. Teamed with Cornel ‘Tombstone’ Jones, the city’s first black detective, Flynn finds himself on a dual mission: search the city for Cohen’s criminal ties while also training to become the best boxer in the world.
His goal: beat Solomon King and sideline Cohen’s shot at the championship.
While the plot is complex and the work is short, it never gets in the way of the characters. They move through the story with singular motivation, but never fail to be compelling.
The boxing sequences are always well written and the technical lingo is never too much even for a boxing novice like this reviewer.
Felony Fists is available through Amazon in low price print and Kindle editions. Either is worth the price. Recommended.