AN UPPERCUT ABOVE THE REST
A Review of Paul Bishop’s FELONY FISTS
by Andrew Salmon
Back in the day, sports pulps, including boxing pulps, were as common as Westerns or Romance magazines on newsstands everywhere. People thrilled to action-packed, fist-flying tales of fictional sports heroes in action. And anyone who knows their pulp history might tell you that those days are over.
Well, they haven’t read Paul Bishop’s Felony Fists!
Move over James Ellroy, there’s a new kid roaming the dark alleys of 1950s Los Angeles. Part of the Fight Card line from Fight Card Productions, Bishop’s Felony Fists, published under the byline Jack Tunney, tells the story of Patrick “Felony” Flynn a hardnosed police officer with the LAPD and boxer. Flynn can’t resist a good scrap and is trying to parlay his impressive arrest record into an invitation to the Hat Squad – the elite crew of detectives keeping La-La Land’s streets clean. So when Chief Parker wants to put a crimp in Mickey Cohen’s plans to take over the fight game, he turns to the best boxer on the squad. Flynn’s task is no piece of cake. He has to beat Cohen’s title contender and beat him soundly.
What follows is one delicious slice of bygone Los Angeles. Felony Fists is a winner on every level. The book is lean, mean and authentic and it’s one no fan of hardboiled fiction will want to miss. The boxing scenes are visceral, bloody and you feel like you’ve gone toe to toe with Flynn’s opponents by the time you’re through. Throw in some fine police work, corruption, intrigue, blackmail and deception and Felony Fists lays out an irresistible buffet.
Paul Bishop is the real deal, folks. If you’re a pulp fan, boxing fan or just love a hard-hitting, down and dirty mean streets pot-boiler, then Bishop has your poison. Without doubt one of the best New Pulp releases of 2011. This was my first Bishop work and it won’t be my last. I give Felony Fists my highest recommendation. Do not miss it!