Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
This novel is set from the summer of 1917 to late September 1918. Roy Tacker’s outlaw gang is captured during a bank robbery, and is offered the choice of going to prison or joining the army. They choose the latter, and soon find themselves embroiled in a World War. Roy’s brother Jace and another member of the gang, Aaron Gault, eventually join the Army Air Corps. Arriving at the Allied aerodrome, they are greeted by men named Wentworth and Allard, who soon depart for a special mission. Richard Wentworth and Kent Allard will later be known as the Spider and the Shadow, respectively, bringing this novel into the CU. Wentworth and Allard are both described as pilots. However, while Allard was indeed a pilot during the entire length of his service in World War I, Wentworth served in the French Air Corps until the United States officially entered the war, at which point he joined the American infantry. Reasoner’s novel is primarily narrated by Drew Matthews, another member of the Tacker Gang, in his old age. Drew was not present at Jace and Aaron’s encounter with the two future vigilantes. Most likely, his friends heard about Wentworth’s service in the French corps at some point, and assumed that he was still in it, passing that false info on to Drew when they recounted their exploits to him.
Monday, November 24, 2014
Sergeant Major William Gravel, SAS member and combat magician, is ousted from the Minor Seven, a group of “occult detectives,” and is forced to kill his corrupt former teammates, who are planning to use pages from the Sigsand Manuscript for their own nefarious purposes. The Manuscript’s previous owner, Thomas Carnacki, appears in flashback. The connection to William Hope Hodgson’s occult detective Carnacki brings Gravel into the Crossover Universe. His presence in the CU is further solidified by a reference in Justin Gustainis’ novella Midnight at the Oasis. Gravel says that Carnacki died in 1923, and another member of the Minor Seven named Sykes reveals that his death was caused by cancer brought about by exposure to radiation from the sleuth’s electric pentacle and other devices. However, several accounts set later than 1923 feature a still-living Carnacki; furthermore Simon R. Green’s Nightside novels indicate that Carnacki served as a mentor to the protagonist of that series, P.I. John Taylor, who is active in the 21st century. Therefore, the accounts of Carnacki’s death in 1923 must be false. Since Taylor would have been born in the 1970s, Carnacki must have had his lifespan extended somehow. The Nightside books also have a number of references to combat magicians, further cementing William Gravel’s presence in the CU. Josh Reynolds’ Royal Occultist stories place Carnacki’s death in 1918, but I have previously speculated that Carnacki merely faked his death in that year.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
October 31, 2007-January 21, 2009
SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL
Quincey Morris and Libby Chastain attempt to prevent presidential candidate Howard Stark, who has been possessed by the demon Sargatanas, from winning the election and destroying the Earth. The tabloid The National Tattler is mentioned several times, and FBI agents Colleen O’Donnell and Melanie Blaise discuss the female agent who shot Buffalo Billy. During the Maine primaries, Stark attends a meet-and-greet at the IHOP in Derry, and later hosts a town hall meeting in the auditorium of Bannerman High School in Castle Rock. Quincey says that many weird things have occurred in Castle Rock, and suggests that it may be a nexus of supernatural activity. Malachi Peters, a CIA assassin who was killed in 1983 and ended up in Hell because he enjoyed his work too much, has been sent back to Earth to assassinate Stark. He reminisces about his old boss, “an enigmatic man known only as Mac,” who always referred to a hit as a “touch.” Quincey and Libby discuss other supernatural investigators, including a woman named Anita and Jill Kismet. An assassin called the Grocer’s Boy, whose father was an assassin himself and had a cover identity as a grocer, is hired to murder one of Stark’s fellow candidates. Peters is told by a demon using the name Ashley that she can make his sniper rifle invisible using a variation of the Tarnhelm effect.
Novel by Justin Gustainis, 2011. The National Tattler is from the Hannibal Lecter novels by Thomas Harris, as is Agent Clarice Starling, who shot serial killer Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs. The Maine towns of Derry and Castle Rock appear in many novels and short stories by Stephen King. Bannerman High School is named after the late Sheriff George Bannerman from King’s The Dead Zone and Cujo. Mac is Matt Helm’s boss in Donald Hamilton’s novels. Hamilton portrayed Helm as a member of a separate organization from the CIA, so perhaps the references in the series to Peters being a former CIA agent are an error or fictionalization on Gustainis’ part, and he was actually a member of the same agency as Helm. Anita is a reference to Laurell K. Hamilton’s vampire hunter Anita Blake, while Jill Kismet appears in novels by Lilith Saintcrow. The Anita Blake and Jill Kismet series both portray the general public as being aware of the existence of the supernatural, which is incompatible with CU continuity; the Blake and Kismet mentioned in this novel, therefore, must be versions unique to the CU, who have had very different adventures from their better-known counterparts. The Grocer’s Boy is meant to be a pastiche of the hitman known as the Butcher’s Boy, who appeared in three novels by Thomas Perry. Indeed, Gustainis refers to him (possibly accidentally) as the Butcher’s Boy at one point, and therefore it can be assumed for CU continuity that he is in fact a disguised version of Perry’s assassin. The Tarnhelm effect is a spell used to make specific objects or people invisible to others in the Lord Darcy stories by Randall Garrett. Since the Lord Darcy tales take place in an alternate reality where Richard the Lionheart did not die in 1199 and the world is governed by laws of magic rather than physics, the Tarnhelm effect must exist both in the CU and Lord Darcy’s universe.