Sunday, July 16, 2023


Anyone who has read my pre-Zana O'Savin novels can probably deduce the fact I'm a Chevrolet man, to the bone.

My favorite car growing up was my old man's last true power car—a dark blue, 1966 Chevy Impala. That beast looked a good bit like this:

In my time, I've tried to own as many Chevrolets as I could, including (it was early fatherhood—forgive me!) a bronze Chevrolet Venture (yeah, yeah, an SUV...), and my current vehicle, a black Chevy Impala of somewhat later vintage but with some horsepower under the hood.

But the characters populating my novels are REALLY Chevy folks, most particularly my signature character, Hector Lassiter.

Across more than a dozen entries, Mr. Lassiter remains a committed Chevy partisan, pretty much from the brand's inception, to Hector's lightly implied, post 9-11 grave.

But, particularly, Hector was partial to his 1957 Bel Air, which is essentially its own character in my Edgar-, Anthony, Gumshoe, and other awards-finalist debut novel, HEAD GAMES.

Hector Lassiter sidekick Bud Fiske (Bud debuted in HEAD GAMES, but appears in several Lassiter novels, as well as centering the first Zana O'Savin novel, THE BLOOD OGRE), is, across several novels, himself partial to Chevy Impalas. (The same is true of my other series character, Chris Lyon).

This brings us to Zana O'Savin and her big-fisted companion's car of choice, a 1967 Chevy Impala, in factory issued Granada Gold featured in THE MOTHMAN MENACE.

These days, the 1967 Impala (four-door, in black, with tan interior) is a pop culture icon because of the long-running TV series Supernatural, in which monster- and demon-hunting brothers Dean and Sam Winchester tour haunted America in a '67 Impala affectionately dubbed "Baby."

Like that TV series icon, Zana and Iain's sixty-seven Chevy is heavily modified with smoke screens, hidden weapons caches and other key modifications befitting a Justice Amalgamated "company car."

You can order THE MOTHMAN MENACE here:



Sunday, July 9, 2023


(Attention book collectors: Artist Douglas Klauba and I are both scheduled to appear at PulpFest 2023, if you wish to get rare signed copies from author & artist — particularly the very striking hardcover edition.)

Pathway to a postmodern, pulp-style book cover:

THE MOTHMAN MENACE, was painted by Douglas Klauba & designed by J.T. Lindroos.


The Zana O’Savin Series is my passion project and love-letter to the classic pulp magazine characters and Superman-inspirations Doc Savage & his cousin Patricia Savage, Doc’s five-man team of adventurers, as well as The Shadow, and The Avenger (with one or two more classic pulp characters lapsed into the public domain possibly still to come in Zana #3).

THE MOTHMAN MENACE debuted on July 1, 2023—the same year Doc & Pat Savage celebrated 90 years as variously (seemingly-sadly-fading?) pulp, paperback, radio, film, and comic book icons.

Ironically, I was introduced to the Doc Savage series at single-digit age by the novel mostly regarded as sporting the weakest of Doc Bantam Books paperback reprint covers: THE LAND OF TERROR.


But little me didn’t care: I was deeply captivated by dinosaurs and those Bama-painted black-and-white, photo-realistic depictions of my new heroes on the back cover looked like real people to little me.


That pulp novel is also an outlier, because it was the second-published Doc Savage pulp tale, and Lester Dent (AKA, “Kenneth Robeson”) and company were still finding their feet: Doc was particularly, ahemvery “savage” in his meting out of justice in this sophomore effort.


Still, the blood-and-thunder story fully sold me on Doc Savage & Co.

And truthfully? I still favor that far edgier version of Doc Savage with freak-fisted civil engineer “Renny” Renwick as Doc’s obvious second-in-command.


But soon enough, I found more Doc Savage novels, but these graced with the brilliant covers of James Bama.


Uniquely, I’ve nearly always had unusually significant say or even near-full control of my own books' dust jacket and cover illustrations, even to a degree with the “Big 5” New York publishing houses. (Perhaps reduced to the “Big 2” or even “Big 1”, via dire mergers, by the time you read this.)


When it came to my Zana O’Savin series, I craved something in the vein of James Bama, but focused on my version of Pat Savage—“Zana O’Savin”—and depicted in a very particular

and tasteful tone.


When it comes to neo-pulp novel illustration, I’ve come to conclude there are two approaches: The literal—depict an actual scene from your novel, which is more in the vein of classic pulp magazine cover approach—or symbolic/representational, which is what Bama and his followers mostly strove for with the Bantam covers.

I far prefer the latter approach for many reasons beyond simple nostalgia: It’s simply more in tune with the tastes of current book audiences to be more symbolic, and, I believe and heartily submit, it's infinitely more impactful on a visceral level, which is, frankly, the level on which books rise and fall when covers are first glimpsed and buying decisions made.


My other condition: Not reduce our heroine to a heavily sexualized spin on her cousin with exaggerated proportions and strategically torn shirt.


My Zana cover artist of choice was Doug Klauba.


Collaboratively, Doug and I have had very little back-and-forth when it comes to covers.

I come to the table with a very particular concept in mind, and Doug has consistently and immediately delivered the goods and then-some, with a minimum of roughs, revisions, or further dialogue between us before barreling toward the final image.


The concept for THE BLOOD OGRE, ala-James Bama, was quite simple: Give us Zana and her legendary Peacemaker, backed with a matching shadow of a Shadow-like silhouette with one of his notorious .45’s, “The Shadow’s” shadow doubling for the shadow of Zana and her 1875, modified Colt revolver.

As to the cover of THE MOTHMAN MENACE? Characteristically, I had this vision, even before I wrote the novel: Again, I wanted nothing limiting in a literal sense in depiction of an actual scene from the novel—because I maintain those sorts of images ultimately stunt audience reaction devoid of deeper context.


Rather, I wanted a cover illustration at once modern but also leaning lightly into nostalgia.

There is a musical tradition tracking back to the mid-20th Century of the so-called “answer song.”


A tune becomes a hit, and begets similar, popular tunes in answer to the lyrics of the earlier ditty.


Several of James Bama’s classic Doc Savage covers were imitated by a variety of artists. But for me, nowhere where they more strikingly paid tribute than via three or four of artist Peter Caras’ Avenger covers for Warner Books reprints of the 1940 pulp novel reprints issued in the 1970s.

The most obvious of these Caras homages to James Bama is The Avenger cover for THE FROSTED DEATH, paying tribute to James Bama’s iconic cover of the Doc Savage Bantam reprint cover THE DUST OF DEATH.


I pitched the cover of THE MOTHMAN MENACE to Doug as the capstone to a kind of pulp paperback cover triptych, while remaining very much its own piece of slick packaging.

Read my recent interview with Doug Klauba via PulpFest HERE.

You can order THE MOTHMAN MENACE at:




Tuesday, July 4, 2023


I'm proud to announce that the new series that began with the July 2022 release of "THE BLOOD OGRE: The Hellish Menace Beneath 'The House Doc Savage Built'" continues with "THE MOTHMAN MENACE, released July 1, 2023.

The new novel is available in hardcover and trade paperback, and also features a stunning cover painting of new series character "Zana O'Savin" and the legendary cryptid the Mothman, by the terrific Douglas Klauba, with design by the great J.T. Lindroos. It is published by Night Town Books.

You can order it here:



Doug Klauba and I also are both scheduled to appear at this year's PulpFest, where you'll have the rare opportunity to get copies signed by author and artist.

Here's the pitch:  


On a blustery December night, Zana and longtime companion Iain Rauenwich nearly fall victim to the worst bridge disaster in history, the infamous collapse of the Silver Bridge into the Ohio River. Spotted at the scene is a winged, hulking black beast with searing scarlet eyes—“redder than you ever saw red.” Some claim the “Mothman” is merely an omen of disaster; others a sinister death-dealer. Meanwhile, mysterious and identical-looking men in black roam the reeling West Virginia town of Point Pleasant, whose night-skies swarm with mysterious lights. In a literal siege against time itself, Team O’Savin must confront its most unexpected and formidable antagonist!

Sunday, December 11, 2022


The following is a sneek preview of Chapter 1 of THE MOTHMAN MENACE, the second in the new series of Zana O'Savin novels that provide a unique pastiche take on classic pulp characters including Doc and Pat Savage, The Shadow and The Avenger.




Chapter 1


(Point Pleasant, West Virginia, 1967)

Zana O’Savin’s craving for “breakfast for dinner” put the bronze-skinned young woman and her longtime companion in life-threatening peril at five minutes past five o’clock on the afternoon of December 15.

The pair were bound for Columbus, Ohio. Zana was currently at the wheel of their Granada Gold, Chevrolet Impala hardtop.

Caving into piercing hunger pangs, ageless Zana was adamant she wanted food now, on the West Virginia-side of the Ohio River.

Her passenger with impossibly enormous fists grimaced. 

The giant gave his sleek and slender bronze-skinned driver with copper-colored hair a savoring head-to-toe. “Swear to God, the way you wolf down chow, Tarzana? Christ. You should be built like a long-haul trucker. Holy Jesus, like an NFL linebacker. Anyway but the way you are built.”

The big man didn’t so much say that as rumble it. His deep voice suggested rolling thunder.

Zana’s equally ageless colleague, the towering, glum-faced and big-fisted civil engineer who to this generation and perhaps even the next was known as “Colonel Iain Raven Rauenwich,” was all for pushing on. 

Iain, who more often simply went by his former military rank of “Colonel,” was in favor of getting across the Silver Bridge well-ahead of Friday rush-hour traffic. He much preferred to eat on the Ohio side of the river. Say, in Gallipolis, Athens, or some point still further northeast.

Spotting what the Colonel took for a small-town greasy spoon, Zana made a sharp, impulsive curve into a side street adjacent to the post office, palming the Impala’s steering wheel and whipping into a head-in parking space.

It was just a few minutes before four o’clock on an icy Friday afternoon. 

It was also ten days shy of Christmas. The streets were crammed with yuletide shoppers, emptying the shelves of downtown Point Pleasant mom and pop merchants.

As the tall woman and still-taller man ducked out of their Chevy, a snow-and-drizzling-rain mix stepped up. Cobra-hooded street lights winked on along a darkening Main Street.

Collars up against the chilly damp, Zana and the Colonel darted toward the diner. From a distant radio or jukebox they dimly heard “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted.”

All is lost, there’s no place for beginning/All that’s left is an unhappy ending.

The Colonel held the diner door for a young family—father, mother and daughter. The little girl sported a royal blue winter coat and hat. The child carried a doll with a matching ensemble and the identical shade of blond hair.

The little girl smiled up at the towering Colonel, but then her blue eyes got wide when she glimpsed his outsized hands.


Once inside, the couple drew stares as they tended to, everywhere they went. 

The Colonel topped out somewhere over six-five. 

Then there was the matter of his massive mitts, each gargantuan hand the size of a small pail, yet capable of imagining and then bringing into being soaring skyscrapers, sublime suspension bridges; breath-stealing and mountain-hugging highways, as well as startling design elements hidden within the iconic Empire State.

Of all of her storied-cousin’s remarkable aides, the imposing engineer’s achievements were likely to resonate the longest, Zana imagined; the most likely to stoke long-cherished memories.

But his giant hands were also capable of committing carnage to stoutly-constructed wooden doors and occasional jackasses’ jawbones.

The strapping engineer had a long, yet still handsome face and dark hair slicked straight back. He was perpetually dour looking. His gloomiest appearance, perversely, was usually an indicator of his underlying happiness. On the other hand, his rare smiles were to be dreaded; even known to invoke fear in those who knew him best.

Yet Zana drew far more attention from the seated diners.

She was strikingly attractive, sure. In a sea of pale West Virginians bracing for the official start of winter, Zana’s sun-kissed bronzed skin set her still farther apart.

But mostly there was the matter of Zana’s intensely exotic eyes.

Their arresting irises suggested flake gold, but layers of delicate gold leaf set in perpetual motion, as if stirred by a soft breeze. Zana’s strange but lovely eyes were naturally hypnotic. 

If the low light in the diner had been any better, Zana would have resorted to a pair of non-prescription tinted glasses she sometimes wore to obscure her mesmerizing golden eyes.

The pair were quite aware of other diners studying them as they made their way to their booth and curtly placed their orders. Apart from their looks, they were also clearly out-of-towners in this small riverside community of about four-thousand in which everyone knew everyone else and overnight unlocked front doors weren’t uncommon.

Or at least that was so until recently. 

A lone, gray flannel-suited salesman had just finished his T-bone steak and eggs-over-easy. He now browsed the local paper. He was seated at the table between Zana, the Colonel, and the mostly-full lunch counter.

The apparent salesman’s newspaper’s front page boasted a banner headline about “a red-eyed monster” that had “again been spotted,” this time terrorizing hormone-addled teenagers along a lonely Point Pleasant-area county two-lane.

Zana and the Colonel had heard something on the radio an hour before about several such sightings of a gray- or black-skinned “flying thing.” 

This was a creature said to have blazing red eyes.

The flying thing was claimed to have the appearance of a tall man, perhaps one even of the Colonel’s rare size, but with vast furred or feathered wings rather than arms. And the thing reportedly had a wing-span estimated at between ten-to twelve-feet.

Or so rattled eyewitnesses insisted.

Presumably also spying the newspaper headline that drew Zana and the Colonel’s attention, a husband and wife sitting closer to the Colonel abruptly launched into an emphatic exchange in clenched-teethed whispers.

“There, ya see,” the husband said, nodding at the newspaper-reader. “I really think I gotta report it, Della,” the man spat. “This monster is real, I tell ya!”

Despite the low light, the man wore dark sunglasses. He raked shaking, callused fingers through graying hair. His wife, whose light-brown hair was even faster graying, shook her head emphatically no

“Absolutely, not! I forbid it! They’ll think you’re crazy, Ronnie!”

Leaning forward, Ronnie insisted, “But that red-eyed devil? That thing chased me nearly a hundred miles an hour down the road out to the old TNT plant! Thought the truck was gonna throw a rod or bust an axle. If I hadn’t panicked? Hadn’t hit her horn? Hell, if I hadn’t scared that goddamn monster off just honkin’ at the thing? Heaven only knows what might have happened to me!” 

He jabbed a thick and trembling finger at his wife. “Wait! Now wait just a damn minute, Della! Now I see what this is! You think I’m crazy, don’t you? You think I made this crap up?”

Mouth agape, he said accusingly, “Good God! You do think I’m delusional, don’t you?”

Della was evasive. “The police will surely think you’re crazy, or you were drunk,” Della insisted. “You only have your word for what you think you saw.”

Husband Ronnie said tightly, “Ya know that’s not true! What about the claw marks on my truck’s roof?” 

He next pointed at his face. “And what do ya make of these? Hell, even Doc Teller can’t explain my peepers!”

Ronnie shed his dark glasses, revealing profoundly bloodshot eyes. The skin around each scarlet eye, too, was swollen with a livid red rash. His mauled eyes suggested nasty chemical-caused blisters or at least the wickedest of sunburns.

Yet the rest of the Midwest farmer’s weathered face was December-pale.

Zana and the Colonel together winced at the palpably painful irritation around the man’s disturbingly bloodshot eyes.

Ronnie’s wife hissed, “Put those glasses back on before someone else sees, you fool!”

The engineer and his attractive companion exchanged a look, each arching an eyebrow.

“There it is again,” Zana whispered. “This strange, winged creature with blazing eyes.”

“Which just sounds like an over-large barn owl to me,” the Colonel said, struggling to speak softly, or at least far lower than his usual booming grumble, so that only Zana might hear. 

He pointed an enormous index finger at the ceiling. “And that’s the other thing that makes this Mothman so much malarkey to me. Every eyewitness claims this flying thing, this so-called Mothman, takes off vertically. Straight up, like a helicopter. Outside of a humming bird, what’s another flying animal that can move with true verticality beyond a modest, wing-assisted upward jump-leap? Gonna save you the trouble of an answer, sweetheart. Nothin’, that’s what!”

He suggested bird flight with big motioning hands. 

“A duck can rise a very few feet straight up over open water, but then has to immediately begin forward motion. The kind of flight these folks attribute to this Mothman? They describe this critter flying straight up for dozens, if not a hundred or more feet. That defies the laws of physics and aerodynamics for any non-mechanical flying thing. At least trust me on that much.”

Zana said, “Then what are these folks seeing, Iain?”

Glum-faced, the engineer shrugged broad shoulders. “Christ’s sake! Who says they’re truly seeing anything? Call it mass hysteria? Too many left-handed cigarettes?” 

“But they’ve been reporting this thing since last November, the radio guy said,” Zana pointed out. “Hundreds claim to have seen it.”

“And the newspaper, radio and TV reporters have been salivating all over those supposed sightings, like flies on dung. So, most likely, it’s now mass-hysteria, like I said. I’m sure your genius doctor cousin could make a convincing psychological case for collective delusional contagion—”

The Colonel suddenly cut himself off and waved a dismissive, over-large hand. 

He sat back as their smiling waitress with majestic black beehive arrived carrying their twin plates heaped with sunny-side-up eggs, bacon, glistening slabs of ham and a silver flask of piping hot, keep-you-up-all-night (and-then-some-more) black coffee.

From a nearby table, the smiling little girl he’d held the door for waved at the Colonel by wiggling her lookalike doll’s hand at him.

He responded with a big hand wave of his own. That elicited a fond smile from Zana. “You ever think you maybe want a child of your own, Iain?”

He just shrugged big shoulders. “For all kinds of reasons we both grasp, I don’t let my mind go there.”

Zana smiled wistfully and shrugged back. “I suppose.”

They were just starting to savor their ensuing and artery-threatening meal over a mixture of friendly bickering, vigilante shop-talk, and thinly-veiled flirting, when the strange, black-clad men strutted in out of the mounting cold.

The odd-looking men dressed in immaculate and identical black suits marched in eerie lockstep.

Scowling over the rim of his coffee mug, the Colonel grumbled, “Holy cow, now! Forget made-up winged monsters. But do tell me, please, Zana? What do you make of those black-clad freaks?”

Sunday, July 24, 2022


Proud to announce that a new series begins with the July 2022 release of "THE BLOOD OGRE: The Hellish Menace Beneath 'The House Doc Savage Built'"

The new novel is available in hardcover and trade paperback, and features a stunning cover painting of new series character "Zana O'Savin" by the terrific Douglas Klauba, with design by the great J.T. Lindroos. It is published by Night Town Books.

You can order it here:



The pitch follows (and check below for a special video)....


USA, the Great Depression: Lester Dent and Walter Gibson are the most-prolific, widely published storytellers on earth, authors of Doc Savage and The Shadow magazines—ground-breaking pulp heroes inspiring Superman and Batman, and launching the comic book age.

Writing two Shadow novels each month, Gibson uses a battery of typewriters, resting bloodied fingertips between books as he pounds out close to two million words a year. Attempting a similar impossible schedule, Dent suffers an apparent nervous breakdown—beginning to see and actually interact with his Doc Savage characters, come-to-life. 

1965: The Doc Savage and Shadow pulp novels are enjoying new life in paperback, selling millions of copies. Simultaneously, people report seeing a strange, black-clad figure with coal-fire eyes around an old Greenwich Village Brownstone—the very one in which Gibson penned the last of his Shadow novels in 1949. A dabbler in the occult, Gibson insists to interviewers the specter is that of The Shadow, and is a tulpa, or “living mind-projection,” spawned by his unrivaled literary output. 

But another, far more sinister “mind creature” is actively threatening the world, a tulpa hatched by an adolescent Lester Dent and left to lash out from earth’s fiery center.

Edgar Award©-finalist Craig McDonald offers a haunting mix of history and meta-fiction centered on the very act of literary creation, but served up as 21st Century, pulp-lit adventure in which pulp fiction characters literally come to life.

Thursday, August 12, 2021


It's the 90th anniversary of The Shadow this year, an event being marked at PulpFest next week where I'll be debuting my new book, WRITE FROM WRONG, which includes an appearance by Shadow creator Walter B. Gibson (AKA "Maxwell Grant"; Doc Savage's Lester Dent also makes an appearance in the book). 

I'll also have an article on The Shadow in the always collectible edition of this year's Pulpster that will also debut at next week's event. 

More on that, here:

This will be my second article on The Shadow coming out in an August publication, the other, as recently reported, being in the new Shadow fanzine, more of which you can learn about here.

If you can make it to this year's Pulpfest, please stop by the dealer's room Friday-Sunday and say hello!


ONE TRUE SENTENCE: Paperback/eBook


TOROS & TORSOS: Paperback/eBook

ROLL THE CREDITS: Paperback/eBook
THE RUNNING KIND: Paperback/eBook

HEAD GAMES: Paperback/eBook

PRINT THE LEGEND: Paperback/eBook/audio

DEATH IN THE FACE: Paperback/eBook


Thursday, August 5, 2021


A new fanzine focused on The Shadow is debuting in August.


One of the featured contributors for this first of three annual issues is novelist, editor and journalist Craig McDonald, with a piece focused on the two most significant and recurring villains of the original pulp series, Shiwan Khan and Benedict Stark.

Craig will be appearing at PulpFest from August 19-22 as a speaker and a dealer and he will have some sample copies of TSC for examination for those interested in subscribing at his dealer table.

Those who want to pull the trigger now while limited supplies of issue #1 last, can learn more about doing so by visiting the official Facebook page at

Craig will also be debuting his new Hector Lassiter release, WRITE FROM WRONG at PulpFest.


ONE TRUE SENTENCE: Paperback/eBook


TOROS & TORSOS: Paperback/eBook

ROLL THE CREDITS: Paperback/eBook
THE RUNNING KIND: Paperback/eBook

HEAD GAMES: Paperback/eBook

PRINT THE LEGEND: Paperback/eBook/audio

DEATH IN THE FACE: Paperback/eBook