Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pulps for Halloween: A Cautionary Tale

Let this be a warning. It ain't healthy to stiff your trick-or-treaters with junk like fruit and nuts. This fellow in the silk mask was jonesing for a sugar high and accepting no substitutes.

This Carroll John Daly tale from 1934 starred Twist Sullivan, a dick so named because of a scarred face. The long novelette builds on events from a previous story (which I don't have) involving an arch criminal called The Rat.

Daly wrote many strings of novelettes that were later published as novels. These included Race Williams stories from Black Mask, Vee Brown adventures from Dime Detective, and Satan Hall and Mr. Strang tales from Detective Fiction Weekly. Poor Twist Sullivan, though, never made it out of the pulps.


Laurie Powers said...

Caroll John Daly was one of the greats, although I'm not sure how well his stories have held up over the years.

Evan Lewis said...

True, his stories are knee-deep in melodrama, and his characters have an annoying habit of leaving their sentences unfinished. But there's a certain zest and conviction in the storytelling - especially with Race Williams and Satan Hall - that carries me over the bumps. Daly is a bit of an acquired taste, but still very readable. It's easy to see why he was one of the most popular pulp writers of the 30s.

Rittster said...

Great to find another Carroll John Daly fan. There aren't many of us out there. Your description of Daly's strengths is spot-on. As with Dan Turner, I love the Race Williams stories I've been able to find. I think Daly, along with his literary descendant Mickey Spillane, gets a bum rap from writers/reviewers/critics. I'd state my reasons, but I'm too lazy.