Matt Helm – Death of a Citizen by Donald Hamilton

Matt Helm - Death of a CitizenMatt Helm - Death of a Citizen by Donald Hamilton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a class of fiction that barely rises above comic strip in character development, Death of a Citizen manages to stay the course, but does it well. Despite the glowing accolades from Tom Clancy on the (re-issue) cover as being real, it is not. It is not literature (the English combine this genre with literature better), but it is good pulp.

Comparisons to Hammett or Chandler are lazy claims. Matt Helm is what could be called a dry drunk, addicted to violence without any redemption (killing Commies won't get you past Saint Peter in this day and age), but he is a good pulp hero.

At the end of the day, Donald Hamilton is a good pulp writer.

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Mystery At Thunderbolt House

Mystery at Thunderbolt HouseMystery at Thunderbolt House by Howard Pease
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This historical story, set in San Francisco the year going up to the great earthquake, is a broadly disguised fantasy of Pease's own experience of the shake.

Some elements are based upon his recollection of his aunt, who he recalls being pictured high atop a loaded waggon that is transporting her household items away from the destruction.

The story of rags-to-riches, a common Horatio Alger era theme, also mirror's Pease's family suddenly acquiring a windfall inheritance. However, his own family experience is considerably more subdued to the immense wealth his protagonist finds.

Pease said this book was his personal favorite.

Pease's full stories were printed in American Boy Magazine and illustrated by the renowned artist Anton Otto Fischer whose graphic work was found on many covers such as The Saturday Evening Post.

The Black Tanker

If you are interested in the artwork that illustrated Pease's stories, go to:
Pease Images

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Revenge Of The Kremlin

Revenge of the KremlinRevenge of the Kremlin by Gérard de Villiers
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What a dog.

“Hello, Malko!” he said. “We met briefly about two years ago. I’ll be here for another year before I head back to Langley."

“I won’t forget this, Sir George. Do I have your permission to inform Malko himself?”

"What the hell are you going to do in Moscow, anyway?”
“Pull the lion’s tail,” said Malko

"You realize you’re walking into the lion’s den, don’t you?”

She respected him, and he was secretly in love with her.

He hadn’t realized that Irina Lopukin had friends in such high places. I hope she hasn’t gone to complain about me, he thought.

“They took their revenge on her,” said Malko, feeling troubled. He had caused her death, he knew. “I’ll have flowers put on her grave. She was very helpful.”

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The Woman Chaser

The Woman ChaserThe Woman Chaser by Charles Willeford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pulp cinema?

The modern audience may think Tarantino got there first (at least on film, 1994), but Willeford bookended "Pulp Fiction" with his script, 1960, that made it to the silver screen, 1999, with few, if any, changes.

Pulp cinematic hero? Consider this description:

"Two hundred pounds, the beginnings of a paunch, big size-eleven feet, more enormous yet in red-yellow-and-blue cashmere argyles, thick, hairy arms and basket-ball-player hands, a mat of blue-black chest hair; a sunburned grinning face, and a headful of dark unruly hair, badly in need of cutting. Some dancer! I laughed wildly. In the face of all maternal arguments I had quit taking ballet lessons when I turned fourteen and fell in love with baseball. The hell with it! I assumed an attitude and met Mother’s charming pas de Bourree with outstretched arms and fingers."

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The Black Mass Of Brother Springer

The Black Mass of Brother SpringerThe Black Mass of Brother Springer by Charles Willeford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Who would believe Pulp Religion?

Sam Springer has been ordained and called to a small church in the Negro (late 50s) part of Jax Florida. The Right Reverend "Deuteronomy" Springer was an ex-accountant and ex-novelist who had writer's block when he became a civil-rights leader in a bus boycott. Too soon, he becomes the focus of Klan activity, a lot of donation money, and a parishioner's wife. He arrived at this impasse of identity because in his respectable life he faced:

"My monthly payment of $78.60 on my house was five days overdue. My car payment on my three-year-old Pontiac was one month overdue. A small payment, only $42.50 per month, to be sure.... I owed the milkman $5.40 for the current month, the grocer for groceries delivered during the month, the telephone bill, the television repair bill for a new booster for the picture tube, and several other sundry bills, including an unfulfilled pledge at the Unitarian Fellowship Society."

Brother Springer quickly admits (to himself) that he has no "faith," but his sermons do inspire the faithful and fuels social protest. And, yet, true to Pulp formula, life is about booze, cigarettes, money, and sex.

Pulp Canterbury Tales

Pulp Decameron.

Pulp Fabliaux.

Willeford's writing contains all the classic elements of the older genres I allude to above. A theme I see emerging in his early works is the anti-hero embodying the archetype of the Destroyer who brings positive change.

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Windows 10 Update Failure and its Recovery

You have arrived at this post because you searched for one of the following problems:

 Microsoft.Windows.ShellExperienceHost … needs to be installed correctly


Error Code 0xC1900200 – 0x20008 (Code 0xC1900202 – 0x20008)


Windows 10 upgrade couldn’t update the system reserved partition


Your computer is not compatible with Windows10 (the supremely bitter irony when you are updating it)

or ….

If you share the same problem I struggled with for a week, then the resolution could be quite simple.  It requires a tool downloaded from the net, some adjustments of your disk’s partition table, and (yet one more attempt to) update/upgrade.

What follows is not for the faint of heart, but it is within the skill set of any tinkerer.  By that, I mean you know the risks; but if you don’t perform backups of your data–you don’t qualify, and I suggest you back away from this page right now.

Through considerable Googling of the terms above, I found a tool called MiniTool Partition Wizard Free reviewed on PCMag.  There’s your resource for fixing (knock wood) the problem that brought you here.

The necessary operation is to take the OS partition (typically called C:) resize it a bit smaller (be generous, reduce it by at least double the size of the current system reserve partition) and then extend the system reserved partition to make it bigger.  The MiniTool (free version) will let you change the edges of a partition.  Do this at the point where they both neighbor each other.  My situation had the system reserve lined up ahead of C: in the partition table.  If your situation varies from my description, re-read everything for my intention.

FIRST: take memory off from the beginning of C: (this is what I did), and

SECOND: add the same amount of memory to the system reserve’s end.

THIRD: press the button on MiniTool to commit the change.

This rescued me from the useless, repetitive, unproductive efforts of Windows to self diagnose (it never had a clue), and correct the problem (that never was going to happen, this had been going on for every update for a year).