Friday, January 21, 2011

The Complete Guide to Manhunt Part 17

by Peter Enfantino

Vol. 2 No. 10   December 1954
144 pages, 35 cents

Pretty Boy by Hal Ellson
(3000 words) *   illo: Tom O’Sullivan
            From what I could make out between all the hip jive talk, this is about a young man caught up in the gang life. I’d have preferred to read the translated text.

            That night I bought me some reefers. I got crazy high quick and sent Zelda home for my pistol. Then I picked up the rest of the boys, cause we got a “war” on with the Pelicans. We taxied into foreign territory, fired a few wild shots and flew, cause the cops was hot in the streets. 

            Ellson’s bio in “Mugged and Printed” touts this as “another tough and realistic picture of teen gang life.”

Two Little Hands by Fletcher Flora
(2000 words) **   illo: Houlihan
            Big, brawny Obie’s not right in the head and everyone around him takes advantage of him, including our narrator, Jake. What Jake convinces Obie to do will haunt both of them the rest of their lives.

The Red Tears by Jonathan Craig
(5000 words) * ½   illo: James Sentz
            Detectives Fred Spence and Jake Thomas of the 18th Precinct catch the murder of a pretty girl. She’s been shot and robbed of her engagement ring, the titular “red tears.” Not much more than a novel outline, "Red Tears" goes from Point A to Point B very quickly and without much substance

To a Wax Doll by Arnold Marmor
(1000 words) ***  
            Very good short-short about a cop tracking down a heroin pusher. Last little bit adds a nice, nasty bite.

A Bachelor in the Making by Charles Jackson
(2000 words) **   illo: Tom O’Sullivan
            Yet another of the “slice of life” stories offered up by respectable authors outside the crime genre and ballyhooed in Manhunt. This one concerns a boy growing up and experiencing life while working in a grocery store. He doesn’t witness a murder. He doesn’t commit a murder. He just works and observes.

A Life for a Life by Robert Turner
(2500 words) ***   illo: James Sentz
            Three cops stake out a maternity ward, awaiting an escaped convict whose wife is giving birth. One is a trigger-happy sadist, who shows the con how good he is with a gun. Grisly climax when the con shows the cop how sadistic he can be.

Twilight by Hal Harwood
(1000 words) ***
            A man remembers a violent incident in his childhood. Brief, but powerful.

For a Friend by Bob McKnight
(1000 words) ***   illo”: Dick Shelton
            Joe Rossotti’s not a bright guy, but he has to have Carmen, a high-priced neighborhood “lady.” Carmen suggests that if Joe had a grand, he’d get a grand time. She recommends the horses and even picks a horse for Joe to bet on. Since Joe’s not that bright, it takes him a while to realize he’s been played. Unfortunately for Joe, his epiphany doesn’t occur until after the race. But Joe concocts his revenge pretty quickly thereafter. Sly fun.

The Hero by Floyd Mahannah
(5500 words) **
            Mel Karger, just out of the pen, wants only a fresh start. Unfortunately, that fresh start may mean dealing with the rat who framed him.

Diary of a Devout Man by Max Franklin
(3000 words) ***   illo: Dick Francis
            Our titular character suddenlty begins receiving messages from God telling him he has to wipe the world clean of sinners. He buys a gun and the first sinner to fall is his girlfriend. Max Franklin is a pseudonym for Richard Deming. Under the Franklin name, Deming did several movie and TV tie-ins (Starsky and Hutch, Charlie's Angels, 99 and 44/100% Dead, Baby Blue Marine, The Dark) as well as a few original novels (Hell Street, The 5th of November, Justice Has no Sword)

Opportunity by Russell E. Bruce
(500 words) **   illo: Gussman
            A newspaper reporter comes across evidence he can use to blackmail a mobster. Proof that not all short-shorts are bad.

The Housemother Cometh by Hayden Howard
(1500 words) *   illo: Tom O’Sullivan
            Beau and Fred sneak a woman into their dorm. A rare (and unwanted) excursion into comedy for Manhunt.

Manslaughter by Henry Ewald
(1000 words) **   illo: James Sentz
            John Madden has lost his job and is facing tough times. When he goes to see his ex-boss, some hope arises. When that hope is dashed, he hits the bar and winds up in trouble.

Hit and Run by Richard Deming
(16,000 words) ****   illo: Houlihan
            Barney Calhoun steps out of the Happy Hollow Bar one night and witnesses a hit and run. Being a PI in a small town doesn’t bring in a lot of dough, so Barney gets it into his head he’ll act as middleman for the evil deed doers. He goes to Helena Powers, the passenger in the car, and offers a deal: he’ll go to the victim (who’s in intensive care) and offer to pay for his silence for a fee. Helena agrees, but unfortunately, things get complicated for barney when the victim dies. A whole new plan comes into effect, including another murder, Helena’s frightened lover, and an elaborate scheme to keep Helena and Barney out of jail. Deming crafts a wonderful short novel, filled with blind curves and capped off by a riotous climax. Later expanded to novel size (Pocket pb,1960).

No Half Cure by Robert E. Murray
(1000 words) *   illo: Gussman
            Doctor Kleist is helping socialite Mrs. Clinton overcome her annoying and embarrassing habit of kleptomania. Of course, he cures her but it’s revealed that the doctor himself is a kleptomaniac and has stolen Mrs. Clinton’s expensive cigarette case. A one-note joke extended to 1000 words.

Judgment by G. H. Williams
(1000 words) ***   illo: Coughlin
            In an issue filled with too many short-shorts, there are a surprising number of bright lights. This is one of them. Two punks are giving a bartender a hard time. They don’t know he’s got an itchy trigger finger.

Mugged and Printed features bios of Charles Jackson, Richard Deming, Jonathan Craig,  and Floyd Mahannah.
This issue also features What’s Your Verdict? #5: The Angry Man by Sam Ross, Vincent H. Gaddis’ Crime Cavalcade, Portrait of a Killer #16: Vernon Oldaker by Dan Sontup and an announcement of the first issue of Manhunt’s first companion digest, Menace. The ad features an excerpt of the Shell Scott story, "Blood Ballot."


Jerry House said...

Wasn't "Max Franklin" Richard Deming?

Peter Enfantino said...

He sure was! How Richard Deming became Jack Ritchie from my notes to my screen is a long complicated process. Thank you, Jerry, for pointing this blunder out. I've corrected it. This is the best reason to put this out in the public!