‘The Specialist’ review by Ron Fortier

The Specialist review by Ron FortierTHE SPECIALIST
By Joel Jenkins & Derrick Ferguson
PulpWork Press
306 pages

In the world of New Pulp fiction, two of the coolest heroes out there are Derrick Ferguson’s Dillon and Joel Jenkins’ Sly Gantlet. The latter has appeared in several in adventures along with his brothers as they are a world famous rock and roll band who just happen to work for the U.S. Government as a side job. Whereas Dillon is a globe trotting adventurer much in the tradition of Leslie Charteris’ Saint, only with a lot more punch and swagger.

That these two larger than life heroes would team up for one action packed tale would cause for celebration. To do so in three tales, as this volume collects, is nothing but sheer pulp action Nirvana.

In “Dead Beat in Khusea,” our two heroes cross paths in Northern Africa and immediately butt heads over a beautiful Princess who once left Dillon out to dry in a previous adventure. No sooner do Dillon and Sly start going at each other when the lady in question is abruptly kidnapped by a group of black-clad terrorist and taken to a long hidden Nazi stronghold in the desert mountains. Their aim is to revive a horrible biological weapon that has lain dormant since World War II and use it to blackmail the rich countries of the world. The problem is the chemical threat has no antidote and could easily destroy all of mankind if allowed to spread freely. Now it’s up to our two heroes to find this hidden base, rescue the damsel in distress and save the day. And that’s just the first story.

“Dead Beat in the Gobi,” has Sly and Dillon fleeing from a Russian military base with the biological weapon they’ve just stolen. When their helicopter goes down in the frigid wasteland and they open the sealed canister they discover a beautiful woman awakening from a cryogenic nap. What’s her connection to the biological weapon and how will our two adventurers escape an all out attack by wilderness cannibals hoping to make them the main course of their next meal?

“The Specialists,” is the novella length final entry of the volume and easily one of the most action packed tales we’ve ever read. It’s pretty much a final swan song to one of the characters as Sly, Dillon and a half dozen other special operatives are sent on a suicide mission into Russia to destroy a munitions factory that has built four electronic pulp generator bombs; any of which could knock out the power grid of any country if denoted in the upper atmosphere. From its inception the mission is plagued with mishaps until it is obvious to our two central characters that there is spy onboard determined to see the mission fail before it is even begun. “The Specialists” reminded us a great deal of some those early Alistair McLean thrillers such as “The Guns of Navaroone” and “Where Eagles Dare,” only set the clandestine world of modern espionage. Our only critique is that at the offset there are too many characters to keep track of and it becomes confusing to remember whose who. But again, a minor quibble, as before too long many of them are dead and the core group of survivors that manages to infiltrate the hidden Russian facility are finally etched as the story goes into hyper-drive. Once begun, “The Specialists” is impossible to be put down.

This book is one of the finest produced since the inception of the New Pulp Movement and we urge you to pick up a copy. They don’t get any better than this.

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