Education of a Pulp Writer is a gritty in your
face read by David Cranmer that features ten short stories that predate his
work in Westerns. The people in these stories are people living on the edge of,
not just society as noted in the introduction, but on the edge of everything. Character
desperation is prevalent here as is the drive to do something--even when the
character knows it is the wrong choice. Sometimes it is greed, sometimes it is
revenge, and sometimes they make bad choices just because they can. These
stories are very much adult oriented with adult situations and occasionally graphic
The book opens with “Blubber.” The young college
student needs money and hasn’t thought out all the implications of the ad she
posted on Craigslist. Now that she is at the client’s apartment and has seen
the task before her she is having serious second thoughts.
Anna Olmstead is in a nightmare and the police are
involved in “Clouds In A Bunker.” Her mother has far advanced dementia and is
being cared for by her father in the family home. He too is now suffering from worsening
dementia. He has also taken her mother hostage and has retreated to a bunker on
the family property. The situation has turned desperate and police believe he
will kill her mother and then himself as soon as he talks to Amanda.
Kirby MacGregor believes in hands on experience in
“The Education Of A Pulp Writer” and therefore keeps an accurate and detailed
record of his actions. After all, any writer who intends to write crime fiction
has to get the details right because so much is so very wrong on the television
shows. It would help if the various neighbors would just leave him alone as he
is a very busy man.
Readers move from an apartment building to the water in
“The Great Whydini.” Frank Oliver is a magician who is practicing his act
where, with his feet wrapped in chains and padlocked, he has to free himself
while deep in the water. His assistant, Jay Wiedlin, as well as Frank’s wife,
Angela are out on the boat supposedly to help him. Cayuga Lake of New York
state is the final setting for this triangle of passion and deceit.
You can be the favorite son in a wealthy family and
be thought of as “A Golden God.” Gods fall.
Mildred Malloy had a plan in “The Missing Husband of
Mildred Malloy.” Two more days is all
Like several of these stories – to explain very much
would ruin the read in “The Sins Of Maynard Shipley.” Maynard hates old people
and with good reason in this story that keeps readers guessing all the way to
Readers know from the start of “Vengeance On The 18th”
that Truman Krup used a nine iron on the head of Jackson Lee Mercer and killed
him. Not just the head, but, the rest of the body too. Truman had a good reason and that eventually
becomes clear as do a few other things as this story moves forward.
On the run from the cops things are not going well
in “Minnow Escape.” Being wounded with dwindling options does not to help
matters in this tale published back in 2008 that can’t help but remind readers
of recent events in the news.
Luther F. Hudson went into the house to rob it. That
had been his plan as “Bon Temps” begins.
A drunk woman, a dead man on the floor, and the promises of a better score
These ten stories primarily feature people doing
desperate things to survive. As such, the characters in these stories occasionally
use adult language that some readers would consider graphic. Readers who prefer
killings not descried in any detail, stories where no one says any of George
Carlin’s famous seven words as well as a few others, prefer things to be simple
and clear cut where the bad guys go quietly off to jail, should probably look
elsewhere for their reading entertainment.
Education of a Pulp Writer is a very good short story collection
featuring a number of strong stores with interesting and flawed characters. Some
works are extremely short and would easily fit into one of the many definitions
for flash fiction. Others are considerably longer and shift in POV though
various characters. All the stories are bound together by a rich texture of
details that make the characters and situations all very real to the reader. They
are also all very good.
Education of a Pulp Writer
to a Pulp
This title was picked up during the author’s recent
free read promotion. Unfortunately, at this time, this title is not currently available
according to Amazon.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2013