Showing posts with label Steve Fisher. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Steve Fisher. Show all posts

Monday, October 11, 2021

Paperback Warrior Podcast - Episode 95

On Episode 95, we explore author Steve Fisher's pulp titles like Captain Babyface, Sheridan Doome and Big Red Brennan. We also delve into Fisher's full-length novels and his transition into Hollywood. Tom reviews the new Stark House Press reprint of Lorenz Heller's 1959 novel Crime Cop. Eric gets Gothic-crazy in Sanford, Florida and talks about his shopping experience at the Daytona Beach Flea Market. Listen on any podcast app, stream below or download HERE

Listen to "Episode 95: Steve Fisher" on Spreaker.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Storm on the Island

Steve Fisher (1912-1980) was a prolific American author and screenwriter. Fisher cut his teeth on the early pulp magazines before transitioning into full-length novels and screenplays. I've enjoyed his short stories and was happy to discover another of his literary works on The novella is called "Storm on the Island" and it was published in the July, 1938 issue of The American Magazine

After her father‘s retirement from the Navy, Myrna invests some of his money into buying the Hawaiian Heaven Hotel off Pearl Harbor shore. She runs the small hotel and serves beer to the sailors who need a midpoint between the water and Honolulu. It’s a quiet, peaceful life until the emergency radio begins announcing that a Navy submarine has become trapped in underwater debris. After three days of monotone and grim announcements, the men on board have begun to lose the remaining oxygen. 

The sub, S14, is stuck on the ocean floor, wedged in discarded wooden wreckage with torpedo tubes that are jammed. Hoping for a rescue attempt, the Navy sends divers Harry Morris and Richard Brennan down to the vessel to attempt to clear the tubes. If they are cleared, the men can be safely ejected. But, the attempt fails and only Brennan makes it back to the surface alive. 

On the last night of the rescue attempt, readers learn that a guest in the hotel has been murdered and their corpse placed in a seldom used wine closet. Who’s dead, who’s the murderer and how is it related to the submarine disaster? The bulk of this complex mystery is brought to life when Brennan checks into the hotel awaiting a Navy request and the obligatory press interviews. 

Fisher’s hotel ensemble is a cast of likely suspects, each possessing a possible motive for murder. It’s a traditional mystery complete with a competent Hawaiian detective named Mulane probing for answers. Brennan and Myrna strike up a romance, but when Myrna’s father is murdered, all fingers point to Brennan as the killer. 

I really enjoyed this short novel, and found that Fisher was really in his element. Fisher himself served in the Navy aboard a submarine stationed in Hawaii, so his writing has a descriptive sense of realism. The romance angle is Fisher’s signature. Combining these two ingredients into a hotel murder mystery was brilliant. 

Storm on the Island is a captivating mystery with unique characters in an exotic location. Even better is that the story exists for free at HERE.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Red is for Courage

Author Steve Fisher's novel “Red is for Courage” was published by Argosy in November, 1943. It was written as a testament to the Red Cross and their sacrifices during WWII. Fisher, known for his pulp runs and military fiction in the 30s, 40s and 50s, had many of his works adapted for film. Arguably the most notable is the 1943 submarine themed “Destination Tokyo” starring Cary Grant. “Red is for Courage” was purchased by 20th Century Fox with the intention of an adaptation called “Red Cross Girl”. From my understanding the film never came to fruition.

In many ways this is a classic love story, a turbulent and rocky romance using WWII battlefields as the backdrop. It's told from the first person perspective of Willie, a Red Cross volunteer who's serving in battle scarred Madrid. Willie is best friends with fellow nurse Tony, who's in love with a female nurse named Noel who in turn loves Willie. This love triangle is the basis of the book. Both Tony and Willie are introduced to a war journalist named Kadi Rogers and then the triangle becomes a rather complicated thing. 

Willie declares his love for Kadi after an eventful and romantic evening. Kadi rejects his advances and soon leaves for Paris. The story then takes a fast track, covering a lot of battles and a whole lot of bandages and blood. Over the course of a few years we follow Willie's progress through the war and his eventual relocation back to New York to become a private practice physician. It's a long but memorable journey following Tony, Willie, Noel and Kadi's wartime service and their eventual post-war lives. 

From a romance genre perspective, this one nails it. But, this is a Men's Action Adventure blog and I'm sure you're all scratching your heads. I will say that there's enough battlefield action here to please genre fans. In fact, the whole climax of the book is a stirring recount of the Battle of Dunkirk, reliving a harrowing quest to ship soldiers across the canal and away from the incoming German forces. This portion is worth the price of admission. Overall, I really enjoyed this story and will probably re-read it at some point.