Written by Robert Weinberg
Published by Twilight Tales Publishing
Robert Weinberg’s career has spanned nearly forty-seven years, earning him awards from several professional writing associations along the way. His impressive bibliography includes sixteen novels, seventeen non-fiction books, and a slew of comic book scripts. Now, for the first time, Weinberg’s stories of his quirky occult detective, Sidney Taine, are brought together in one collection, courtesy of Twilight Tales Publishing.
One part Sam Spade, one part Harry D’Amour, and one part comic book tough guy, Taine’s adventures take him up one side of the paranormal world and down the other. From phantom trains to the Holy Grail, supevillains and cold-war throwbacks, Taine is the man for the job.
The subject matter of the seven stories is diverse, giving almost any type of horror fan something to sink his teeth into. Fans of straight out horror, “Terror by Night” is sure to please, in which people mysteriously disappear from a business high-rise. For those who like a more supernatural twist, “The Midnight El ” is a modern take on Charon, the ferryman of the dead, as he now operates a spectral rail-train. “Enter the Eradicator” delivers horror with a decidedly science-fiction twist, as does “Kiss Me Deadly,” where the reader is introduced to Sidney Taine’s extra-dimensional sister, Sydney. “Children of May” ventures into the realm of fantasy, as Taine chases down Excalibur, while “Seven Drops of Blood” has the Occult Detective in search of the Holy Grail.
The best stories in this collection include “The Midnight El,” “Seven Drops of Blood” and “Terror by Night”. Though these stories, Weinberg demonstrates how his writing career has lasted for so long, and how horror should be done.
The Occult Detective is written in the style of pulp novels from the past, heavy on description and full of things that, in modern-style novels, might not play well. Weinberg, however, manages to make it work. The stories seep under the reader’s skin until it becomes a compulsion to find out what Taine is up to next. Like the best novels of pulp-noir, the stories of Sidney Taine hearken back to serial movies and comics, providing the reader with brain-candy that they crave. No matter the situation, readers are certain that Taine will somehow manage to scrape his way out, and come out smelling like a rose.
Pulp noir, however, is not for everyone. Some readers might find the storylines a little too contrived, or be put off by the knowledge that Taine can handle anything. Those looking for epic storylines or deep metaphorical storylines should look elsewhere. If the reader is looking to simply be entertained, one wouldn’t be too far off to consider Sidney Taine.
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