Blog: Commentary from the den of a pulp super-fan

Review: ‘The Winter Wizard’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, October 9, 2013 in Hero Pulps, New Pulp, Review
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

The Winter Wizard“The Winter Wizard” is the first novel starring New Pulp hero The Challenger, created by Jeff Deischer.

Jeff previously wrote “The Adventures of Doc Savage: A Definitive Chronology,” which was originally published by Green Eagle Press. It was recently revised and re-published as “The Adventures of the Man of Bronze: A Definitive Chronology” by Fantom Press.

This is his first novel, published by Wild Cat Books. Sadly, Wild Cat Books is no longer carrying it, so it’s out of print. I hope someone picks it up.

The Challenger is mostly inspired by The Avenger, with a little of The Count of Monte Cristo thrown in.

“The Winter Wizard” is set in 1947, which is a little unusual, as most pulp heroes didn’t last through World War II, and few were around at that time. We get hints of prior cases that The Challenger has dealt with, and hopefully Deischer will tackle those in future novels. What we know of The Challenger is that he was wrongly accused of a crime, and sent to prison for 20 years before escaping. In doing so, and helping an old man (also falsely accused), he gained a large fortune. He used that to exact revenge on the men who imprisoned him and his benefactor. It’s not clear that he cleared his name, as his real name is not given. He adopted the name of his benefactor’s slain son.

In time, he gathered several aides. Three know his real identity, as they knew him before he was imprisoned. The other two joined him after a recent case. As is usual, each aide brings different skills to the group. His headquarters is on a small island in New York Harbor.

The story is typical. A young lady seeks help of The Challenger for her brother who seems to be held on an island. There is also the issue of the Winter Wizard who has created a great storm and demands money. Are these connected?? We’ll see.

Overall, this is an enjoyable story. I look forward to future installments. The podcast Book Cave interviewed the author regarding the book.

Now as to criticisms.

One thing I was annoyed by the book was the repetition of information. Several times we were told the same background information about The Challenger and his aides. Why tell us something we were told two chapters prior?

The second thing was seeing the obvious typos in the book. This is something I see too often in Wild Cat books. I hope if (or when) this book is republished, these will be fixed.

An interesting New Pulp character that I hope we will see further stories about. He has a lot of potential.