Daisy Blackwood: Pilot For Hire: The Stolen Socialite – Ryan Howe (Soaring Penguin Press)

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I hate Ryan Howe. I hate the fact that he’s almost single-handedly managed to drag the pulp era kicking and screaming into the twenty first century and that he’s done it with style and ease.  I hate the fact that he’s created a character who leaves her male contemporaries choking on the dust in her wake, desperately trying to catch up to her and in doing so has shown the world that two fisted justice and pistol packing adventure isn’t just boys fun. But most of all, I hate the fact that he managed to do it before, and better than, anyone else. And by hate, I of course mean that I’m in absolute awe of him and wish that I had a fraction of his talent.

In The Stolen Socialite, Daisy finds herself being forced to slug it out with airship pirates and gangsters after they kidnap her best friend who just happens to be the daughter of one of the richest, most powerful and influential individuals in Howe’s alternative version of America.  A non-stop riot of adrenalized action and excitement, The Stolen Socialite just confirms what I already knew. That thanks to his combination of retro-tastic newspaper style panel art and tight, focused storytelling and tough, no nonsense characters that draw from and incorporate every single pulp cliché  but at the same time still feel fresh and relevant, Ryan Howe really is the new King of Pulp adventure. Long live the King. And long live Daisy Blackwood… Tim Cundle

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