Saturday, February 13, 2010

Serial Vigilantes Of Paperback Fiction

A book right up my alley, Bradley Mengel's new SERIAL VIGILANTES OF PAPERBACK FICTION is the reference source I've been looking for ever since I began writing about the men's adventure genre a few years ago. It isn't perfect:
  • At $45, it's too expensive
  • It provides zero critical insight
  • The cover is horrible
  • No photos, especially the often amazing paperback covers
However, I don't want to sound too harsh, because I mostly liked Mengel's guide, and there is a lot here to love for fans of the men's adventure genre. For one thing, as of now, it stands as the definitive guide on one of the literary world's least respected and least reported genres. To the best of my knowledge, both in book form and on the Internet, nothing covers men's adventure novels as thoroughly as this book.

Mengel has created the term "serial vigilante" to cover the genre, which is his right, but what that does is somewhat limit his scope of the book. It means he leaves out series featuring cop heroes, such as Nelson DeMille's Ryker, Keller, and Super Cop Joe Blaze books and Martin Cruz Smith's Kill Squad. A minor criticism, but I would have liked to learn more about those books as well.

Each character or group receives its own encyclopedic entry that describes the basic concept, provides the titles and publishing dates, and a nifty Behind the Scenes entry. Most importantly, Mengel identifies a large number of the authors working behind pseudonyms or house names, so if you ever wondered who wrote various Executioner or Killmaster books under Don Pendleton's or Nick Carter's names, respectively, this is the place.

For fans of the men's adventure genre, I have to join the chorus of fans and give SERIAL VIGILANTES OF PAPERBACK FICTION a thumbs-up.

1 comment:

Sleaze PB Life said...

Serial Vigilantes, huh? Over my long and storied career of collecting these type of books, I have always referred to them as "Sweats". (As opposed to "sleaze" books, I suppose.)
Still, looks like an interesting book. Thanks for telling us about it.