I used to think that all pulp stories were pretty much the same, but now I get it. There is a feel or an attitude that runs through all of the BTAP books. Each on it’s own has a unique theme but there is definitely something intangible that ties them all together. This is certainly helped by the great covers that engender the style of the old paperback pulps but add a modern twist. I would talk about this in more detail but that is done a lot better than I could in the final section of this book. As usual for a book edited by David Cranmer there is an excellent forward that is not only interesting enough not to skip over but makes you stop and think. I like to think of them as a pulp adjustment phase.
There are just shy of thirty stories in this anthology and every single one stands up on it’s own, each as different from the next as they were from the last. Sometimes the shift between subject matter can be quite abrupt, but that feeling of looking at the nasty side of society is always there. The star of this book for me was the story by Patricia Abbott. That lady has talent and is reason enough to buy this book. There are plenty of other excellent stories and more importantly for me there wasn’t a single one that I didn’t enjoy reading.
I read most of this book whilst feeling really ill in a hotel room hundreds of miles from home. Even though all I wanted to do was curl up and drift I could not put this book down. Morbid fascination held me in sway until I finished the book. It is a really enjoyable read and one that makes you think about how crap people can be to each other.