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

Clive Cussler’s ‘Isaac Bell’ series

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, March 8, 2017 in Pulps, Techno-Thriller

Clive Cussler’s ‘Isaac Bell’ series

'The Chase'I have previously posted on Clive Cussler‘s many series, mainly his Dirk Pitt series, but have touched on his other series.

One series that is a bit different from the rest is his Isaac Bell series. Unlike the others, this one is set in the early 20th century and focuses on Bell, the lead investigator for the fictional Van Dorn Detective Agency. Also unlike the prior series, nautical matters don’t play a big part.

One element of this series, we often see the villain in action without knowing who he (or she) is at first. And usually there is a follow-on part set years or decades after the main action, to sort of put an end to the story.

The first novel was written by Cussler, the rest have been co-authored by Justin Scott, who holds the record of not only co-authoring the most novels with Cussler, but being the sole co-author of one of the Cussler series.

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More James Rollins

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, February 22, 2017 in Review, Techno-Thriller

More James Rollins

Here we are with some more techno-thrillers from James Rollins (pen name of former veterinarian James Paul Czajkowski). As I’ve noted, he started out doing several stand-alone techno-thrillers before kicking off his own series focusing on the fictional Sigma Force (a secret part of DARPA), and he’s since branched out from there.

'War Hawk'

Tucker Wayne

A spin-off from Sigma Force are the adventures of former Army Ranger Tucker Wayne and his military dog Kane, which make an interesting pairing in the techno-thriller world. The characters were introduced in a short “ebook” before appearing in a Sigma Force novel, and now have two solo novels, co-written with Grant Blackwood, who has written his own novels, as well as “co-written” three Fargo novels with Clive Cussler.

The first novel, which I previously reviewed, Kill Switch, has Tucker and Kane on a mission for Sigma. The second, War Hawk, has them on a mission that Tucker is pulled into by a former military associate who is on the run from a sinister force trying to kill her and her son. Tucker discovers more killings and a conspiracy to use hi-tech drones to start wars and gain power.

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Cussler’s ‘Fargo Adventures’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, October 26, 2016 in Review, Techno-Thriller

Cussler’s ‘Fargo Adventures’

"Spartan Gold"I had previously posted on Clive Cussler, the “master” of the techno thriller, who has gone from writing his Dirk Pitt novels to kicking off several other series co-written by others.

One of the more recent of these is the Fargo Adventures, of which there are eight out so far:

  • Spartan Gold (2009)
  • Lost Empire (2010)
  • The Kingdom (2011)
  • The Tombs (2012)
  • The Mayan Secrets (2013)
  • The Eye of Heaven (2014)
  • The Solomon Curse (2015)
  • Pirate (2016)

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Jack Du Brul’s Philip Mercer

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, November 4, 2015 in Pulps, Review, Techno-Thriller

Jack Du Brul’s Philip Mercer

"Vulcan's Forge"I have found that with many techno-thriller heroes that they are usually super competent in one area. An interesting hero is Jack Du Brul‘s Dr. Philip Mercer, a mining engineer and geologist who gets involved in several world threatening issues, all tied to geology.

Du Brul may be better known as the co-author of Clive Cussler‘s Oregon series, but before he started them he was writing his own Mercer works.

I stumbled upon them when they came out and enjoyed them. Mercer is a a little different from other techno heroes in that he doesn’t have an organization or assistants behind him. He is a science advisor to the President, but that’s it. There are a few secondary characters, but they are more involved with Mercer’s “non-action” life, such as Tiny, who runs the small bar near his house, and Harry, an octogenarian bum who more or less moves in with Mercer. In later novels, they do get dragged into the action. And like any good action hero, Mercer usually gets involved with a girl during the story.

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James Rollins revisited

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, October 21, 2015 in Review, Techno-Thriller

James Rollins revisited
James Rollins

James Rollins

I’ve posted previously on the techno-thrillers of James Rollins (pen name of former veterinarian James Paul Czajkowski).

He started out doing a series of stand-alone techno-thrillers. I got into them when I was looking for stuff in the vein of Clive Cussler.

While the ideas and writing were good, something seemed missing, and so I kind of felt he was a “grade B Cussler.” Then he started a series with a group of scientist-soldiers called “Sigma Force,” which is part of the real DARPA. Through the first eight stories, they went up against an ancient secret society. This I covered in the first posting, and they ended that group in the eighth novel, Bloodline. (Interestingly, he tied in a few characters from his stand-alone novels into the Sigma Force series along the way.)

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Douglas Preston’s solo work

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, May 13, 2015 in Pulps, Review, Techno-Thriller

"The Codex"I have previously posted about the writing team of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. They have the long-running Pendergast series which I’ve reviewed, the more recent Gideon Cross series, plus a small number of stand-alone novels that actually tie into both of these series.

But both of them also write their own solo novels. While I have not read Child’s solo works, I have read Preston’s and enjoyed them. Most star his character Wyman Ford.

So far, he has put out:

  • “The Codex” (2004)
  • “Tyrannosaur Canyon” (2005)
  • “Blasphemy” (2008)
  • “Impact” (2010)
  • “The Kraken Project” (2014)

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