Felony Fists will knock you on your can, then have you bouncing back up for more
Felony Fists, written by Paul Bishop, published under the house byline of Jack Tunney, and set in the Los Angeles of Mickey Cohen and Police Chief William Parker, is no exception. Honor, hard work, overcoming long odds, digging deep within one's self, good winning out ... all are part of this and other Fight Card stories, and not in any smirking, ironic, post-modern way, either. Bishop and his fellow authors clearly love the old-time tales, and clearly believe today's readers can enjoy stories in that vein. And they're right. Felony Fists is fast-paced, full of intersecting plot lines and narrative climaxes that read as if they were meant to leave the reader panting for the next month's installment. That's good stuff for an impatient generation, isn't it?
I've never stepped inside a ring, and my guess is that you have not, either. But no matter; Bishop fills the novella with the sort of boxing detail that creates a convincing milieu and teaches you something about the sport as well. Boxing is not called the sweet science for nothing.
"Both Tombstone and I were actually fighting the uncomfortable feeling of country cousins visiting upscale relatives."Not only does the first recorded use of upscale date only to 1966, according to Merriam-Webster, but the word feels utterly wrong for the period of the book's setting. I would wager that upscale did not come into widespread use until the late 1970s at the very earliest. Its use is a glaring mistake in a story set in the early 1950s. But it's the only one. The judges here at Detectives Beyond Borders say — and it's a unanimous decision — that you should read Felony Fists.
© Peter Rozovsky 2014