Bull, the Pulp Issue (Review)

Bull, the Pulp Issue (Review)

his unlikely softcover was sitting in the “Buy one get one free” stack. Since I’d bought one and everything else in that stack was YA or woman-heartthrob stuff, I picked up this one.

Inside the cover, the publisher (Bull) notes: “Bull is dedicated to examining & discussing modern masculinity: what works, what doesn’t, what needs to stay and what needs to go.” I’m not sure what that all means; I’m just in it for a good story.

And The Pulp Issue is packed with those. It’s a crazy mix of Noir and Pulp tales, most of them placed in our grungy backlot world. I think everyone was a failure in their own right (or wrong) and most of them lived in trailers. Used to be if you were a detective on the seedy underbelly of San Fransisco, you’d at least have a small room (with a flashing HOTEL sign outside) and a crummy office. Now, our expectations have fallen.

But the stories and fresh and interesting. Just a random selection…

To need me and not know: A tough second-banana to a bail bondsman tries to protect his partner from himself, all while dealing with the thugs they have to “recover”. The ending made me laugh out loud.

Take what you can get, come back for the rest: A loser in a motel gets involved in a dispute between his friend and friend’s sister about their father’s cash in his abandoned house.

Thread in the Labyrinth: A guy searches for “the Dane” in a horribly nasty Mexican town. You don’t know what his prey did, what he wants to do, any of that. But you descend into darkness (literally) with him.

Dust & Blood: On a bleak western roadside, a driver is truck-jacked by a murderous man, and his angry female partner tracks him down with a handgun stuck in the back of her jeans. Is there any chance of an amicable ending?

So that gives you an idea of the span of storytelling here. I really enjoyed this and, sorry, my copy is earmarked to the receptionist at my GP’s practice – she loves gritty novels and wants it. So I’ll play this one forward.

But yes, this was an interesting collection of losers getting through their dirty little adventures. Loved it. It might make the best-of at year’s end.