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Friday, February 24, 2012


Another carry-over from the days I was in grade school and ordering books from the Scholastic Book Services.  Given what’s shown on the cover, I’m surprised my Mom went ahead and let me have this. 


Have been a Warren Zevon fan since I first heard WEREWOLVES ON LONDON on the jukebox in Brophy’s Cafeteria at Jefferson College, Hillsboro, Missouri, many years ago.

I had this live album on cassette when it first came out and I believe I listened to it until the tape warped from overuse. 

Used to also have a videotape of one of Mr. Zevon’s live performances wherein after he is introduced, the MC has to unlock Warren’s handcuffs to let him perform.

As I would have expected, Warren kept up his sense of humor in his last days.  When he was diagnosed with the cancer that would kill him, he remarked that he would be happy if he could just stick around to see the newest James Bond film. 

He lived a longer time that most of us might have thought and even recorded his a “goodbye” album for us, which was called “The Wind”. 

God bless, Warren.  You were one of a kind, that’s for sure.


Who better to edit an anthology about psychotic behavior than the master, Robert Bloch?  His novel PSYCHO really remains the gold standard of thrillers featuring disturbed characters.  The books PSYCHO II and PSYCHO HOUSE continued and concluded the entire storyline.

As you can see by the cover, Pocket Books was also highlighting a brand-new story from Stephen King.  This assures bestseller status.  There are people out there who would buy Mr. King’s laundry list if he decided to publish it.  This is a testament to the concept of a “built-in audience”.  Mr. King writes very well from the viewpoint of a child and I’d like to see him do a serial killer novel covering the killer’s life from childhood on.  THAT would be a helluva read.

Anyway, I’m sure this book is only available in used emporiums now or perhaps you could find a copy for sale on e-bay.  Either way, I hope you can find a way to add this to your collection as it is well worth having.


Not immediately after WWII, but somewhere around the start of the Korean War -  for quite a few years following - we started to see combat books which took place from anywhere from 1942-1945.  YOU TELL MY SON was one of many.

You can tell these books are a bit dated because the words “hell” and “damn” are about as vulgar as they get.  Some of the more recently written war books go a lot further than that, including references to other soldiers’ mothers’ genitalia. 


In the last days of the Pinnacle Books that I knew, we were given all kinds of action-adventure series.  THE SCORPION SQUAD was one of them.  Set in Vietnam, it concerned the adventures of Captain Mack Gerber and the men under his command.  I believe this series only got to four books or so before either it folded or Pinnacle went under. 

This really was the birth of what would become the VIETNAM: GROUND ZERO series for Gold Eagle Books.  In fact, Gold Eagle would continue several series that had originated at Pinnacle in the years to follow.  They still publish the Mack Bolan/Executioner series as well as some post-nuke stuff that I really couldn’t get into that much. 

I don’t know exactly how long VIETNAM: GROUND ZERO ran for Gold Eagle.  There were not numbers on the books, so I am even unsure of which order they were in or at which book they stopped. 

I do remember, though, how acclaimed the series was and what a nice job Gold Eagle did with the cover art in those days.  In fact, a guy I served in the military with, who’d been to Vietnam, wouldn’t even finish reading the first book in the VIETNAM: GROUND ZERO series because it hit too close to home.  The movie PLATOON had just come out then and reports were that that, too, caused some trauma to vets who saw it.  I suppose the wounds of Vietnam were more fresh then than they are now.

One of the co-authors of THE SCORPION SQUAD and then VIETNAM: GROUND ZERO was Kevin Randle.  I don’t immediately recall the other man’s name who wrote these series, but Mr. Randle has gone on to do some excellent investigative writings on the subject of the Area 51 happenings in Roswell, New Mexico.  He is probably more well known for that than for his Vietnam books. 

By all means, seek out as many of these books in each series as you can find.