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Thursday September 10, 2009 12:23 am

Doc Savage, Lester Dent and Hard Case Crime




Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials, Reviews, Independent

HoneyYou might already know Lester Dent. He’s the creator of Doc Savage (which he wrote under the pseudonym of Kenneth Robeson). Doc was a very successful pulp hero (and later star of a line of equally successful paperback reprints of his pulp adventures). Sadly, the magical success of Doc in the pulps has never transitioned well to neither comics nor the movies.

What you may not know is that Dent also wrote a hard-boiled crime novel called Honey In His Mouth. It doesn’t star Doc Savage.

One of my favorite publishers, Hard Case Crime, publishes hard-boiled crime paperbacks. Some of them are new, but some are reissues of old classics that are worth rediscovering again. Their backlist of stuff is incredible and includes works by Lawrence Block, Richard S. Prather, David Drake, Max Allan Collins, Roger Zelazny and Donald E. Westlake. All their books feature great cover paintings that recall the classic hardboiled style of paperbacks from a couple of generations past.

Read More | Hard Case Crime

Honey In His Mouth has never been published before, though Dent wrote it decades ago. It’s about money, of course, a beautiful woman, of course, and some poor sap who just happens to look like a Latin American dictator, of course. It’ll be available at the end of this month. You can read more about it at the Hard Case website, and you can also read a sample chapter for free while you’re there. I’ve already put my pre-order in because I love these old school hard-boiled books, and I think it’d be fun to see what Dent could do sans Doc and his crew.

If you want some pulpy fun with Lester Dent’s famous Doc, check out Curt Purcell’s The Groovy Age of Horror. He’s been reviewing the Bantam Doc Savage paperbacks for quite a while and he’s posted dozens on his site.

So if you’re a fan of Doc Savage, or old-school crime novels, or are curious to see what an old pulpster does when he’s not writing his most famous series, check out Honey In His Mouth.

[Artwork: cover illustration by Ron Lesser; Lesser is obviously more in this case]

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