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Nolan's Pop Culture Review--now in our third calendar year
PCR # 115 (Vol. 3, No. 23) This edition is for the week of June 3--9, 2002.

Murder on the Woo-Woo Express by Patty G. Henderson

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-------------------------------------- Haunting news and briefs
Settle down in your seat and make sure you have your ticket ready for the fourth trip of MURDER ON THE WOO WOO EXPRESS. In case the conductor hasn't told you, we're in for a rough ride this month. We've got two rather hard-boiled detective woo woo thrillers up for review. Both have got their hands full of ghosts and supernatural beasties to fight off.

I'm pleased to feature the first review by Terence Nuzum, who is also a regular columnist here at the Pop Culture Review. He was very impressed with Steve Niles's SAVAGE MEMBRANE. We're also happy to see L. Martinez return with another review. She digs into Phillip Tomasso's THE TENTH HOUSE.

I personally want to thank all the reviewers who responded to my call for reviewers. I will be in touch with you soon. As you can see, there is no news or events in the "Haunting News" section of MURDER ON THE WOO WOO EXPRESS. Please don't forget to send us anything that could be of interest to readers of paranormal/supernatural mysteries, including your new book that is soon to be published or just recently published. And if you'd like to write a review on an older classic supernatural mystery, please submit it to us. Remember, we are here to learn about new and old classic books that others may not be aware of.

Also, small presses, please send us your books for review if you have supernatural/paranormal books among your publications.

Patty G. Henderson

Author: Steve Niles
Idea and Design Works, LLC
ISBN: 097122823X

Cal Mcdonald is perhaps one of the most unique hard-boiled detective characters to come along in years and Savage Membrane is without a doubt one of the most bizarre works of the Woo Woo sub-genre. Our principal character Cal Mcdonald was once a policeman who even from his early childhood saw dark and strange things, monsters creeping around the shadows, and anything that goes bump in the night.

Not a month after his graduation from the police academy, Mcdonald's family dies in terrible ways. Mcdonald sinks into depression and becomes a drug addict to erase the visions of horror he is plagued with daily. But it's several years later and now Mcdonald is a private dick, with a ghoul named Mo'Lock for a sidekick. He still has a friend in the police force, Blout, who helps Cal with his cases but refuses to believe in the supernatural.

Cal's last case concerned a physic vampire, named Cain, who drained so much brain power from his victims that he became a huge floating head. That case ended with Cain's demise at Cal's hands. Several years later, mysterious murders pop up with one common characteristic: the victims brain matter are missing. Is Cain alive? And who are the mysterious gunmen out to kill Cal?

Steve Niles (author of the comic book Hellspawn) has created a fascinating character in the course of just one novel and a frightening world that could produce many more interesting cases for Cal Mcdonald. The book also contains illustrations which gives it atmosphere aplenty. Niles writes in a quick hard-boiled style that evokes old Spider pulps without getting too campy. A great and involving read.

Terence B. Nuzum

Intent to Sell THE TENTH HOUSE
Author: Phillip Tomasso III
Dry Bones Press
ISBN 1883938953

THE TENTH HOUSE is Tomasso's second book but the first book in the Nicholas Tartaglia PI series. Phillip's first book, MIND PLAY, was a stand alone thriller.

Nicholas Tartaglia, or "Nick" to all who know and love him, is a private investigator working for Safehouse Investigations. He carries a gun and works cases for clients like all good PIs do. Except Nick Tartaglia gets hired by ghosts.

In this first book, Nick gets caught up with a local cult who sacrifices girls for kicks. One of the girls comes back as a ghost and hires Nick to find the cult leader and stop him before more girls die. Along the way, Nick gets back with his old girlfriend, meets quirky and interesting characters and ends up with his own detective agency.

This was an engaging, fun read and a great addition to the woo woo detective field. I liked Nick and the writing is quick, brisk and borderline hard-boiled, with short, no nonsense sentences. Where I had a problem in Tomasso's writing style was in the prologue of the book. The writing was awkward and somewhat jarring. Once the book got past that and into Nick's world, Tomasso gets very comfortable with his character and brings you along for the ride.

One other thing that might just be nitpicking was that the bad guy who turns out to be the cult leader just wasn't believable for me. But this wasn't enough to spoil the read for me and am looking forward to Phillip Tomasso's second Nicholas Tartaglia adventure, THE THIRD RING, published by Barclay Books and now available.

L. Martinez

EMAIL: SoDeadme@aol.com

The book review of "Savage Membrane" is ©2002 by Terence B. Nuzum. The book review of "The Tenth House" is ©2002 by L. Martinez. All contents of "Murder on the Woo-Woo Express" are ©2002 by Patty G. Henderson.   Webpage design and all graphics this page (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova ©2002.   All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2002 by Nolan B. Canova