Literary Reviews, Page 18

Like a Matter of Honour,” by Russel D. McLean


The Thrilling Detective is an E-zine dedicated to faithfully recreating the pulp detective fiction era.  It is not intended for the faint of heart.  Rather, it offers hard boiled detective yarns, appealing to fans of Mickey Spillane, the late master of the genre.  Unlike the more restrained writing of Spillane’s era, constrained by social restraints long since gone by the cultural wayside, the editors of The Thrilling Detective not only do not look askance at profanity, they apparently never met a vulgarism they haven’t liked.  


It is not the function or intention of this reviewer to act as a morality censor.  I mention it here to forewarn readers of gentler sensibilities.  Suffice it to say that I personally oft times yearn for erstwhile days when writers either elected or were forced to leave much to the reader’s imagination.  Subtlety does have its appeal.  On the other hand, there is no shortage of folks who would argue that gritty realism also bears virtues.


The Thrilling Detective offers a genre dominated by male writers and doubtlessly appeals predominately to men.  The zine has more the feel of an actual print publication than any I’ve yet encountered. The recreations of pulp era covers are excellent, and the fiction writing has more consistency of quality than any zine I’ve yet read as well.


Despite the grimy subject matters of many of the stories, the hand of intelligence can easily be discerned, as the zine attracts first-rate writing talent within the genre.  There is no lack of intelligence or erudition behind the scenes at the zine as well, as evidenced by the witty, explanatory banter within the zine.


Like The Stickman Review, The Thrilling Detective offers a nominal payment to fiction contributors.  The zine also offers non-fiction in the form of reviews, essays and interviews, much of which will be of great interest to aficionados of the hard boiled detective story genre.


“Like a Matter of Honor,” [The Thrilling Detective; Fall, 2006] by Russel D. McLean, features Private Investigator Sam Bryson and is set in Dundee, Scotland, on the east coast near the North Sea.  He resides with Ros, his American live-in girlfriend, noting that her Southern twang has picked-up just a wee bit of the Scottish brogue during her stay in his homeland.  She lectures at the university on post-modern feminist philosophy, a most decidedly peculiar attraction of a love interest for a man of Bryson's mettle.  


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Literary Reviews 19