Vintage Pulp Feb 23 2022
How do you fix a malfunctioning operating system? Become an expert trouble shooter.

Al Fray's 1958 novel Come Back for More is fronted by John McDermott art. It's unusual and a bit sinister, and though it doesn't really fit the story, we love it. The novel tells the tale of Swede Anderson, a soft, chubby, civic-minded bank teller in River City who testifies against the bank's robbers and realizes afterward that the cops who encouraged him to testify and told him everything would be fine never cared about him and never had a plan to keep him safe from retribution. After his car is blown to bits with the wrong person inside he escapes town on a box freight, rides the rails, works odd jobs, and generally goes off-grid.

He returns four years later—forty pounds lighter, much tougher, infinitely more cynical, and with a broken nose and scar that change his facial appearance. His name is now Warner McCarthy, and he wants to even the score. He sets into motion a plan to get close to the crooks who robbed the bank and somehow get revenge. He soon learns that they're ensconced in a local trucking firm and operate the local Teamsters union. What follows is a sort of deep cover thriller, with McCarthy being pulled into the center of the corrupt syndicate, and deeper into the their illegal enterprises. Along the way he meets a woman—pro forma—who happens to own a competing trucking company the crooks want put out of business.

This was a pretty good tale. It's like a precursor to the Jack Reacher books in the sense that McCarthy, for all the murderous thugs he deals with, is always in control. Many people die, but the worst he deals with is a hurt hand. Telling you this isn't a spoiler because if you're an experienced reader of crime novels it'll become clear pretty quickly that Fray's plan is to show how much smarter and more determined his hero is than the villains. We were fine with it. The Reacher books prove that some modern readers like a sort of invulnerability. Well, it worked in 1958 too. Not top notch, but worth a read.

History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
July 02
1937—Amelia Earhart Disappears
Amelia Earhart fails to arrive at Howland Island during her around the world flight, prompting a search for her and navigator Fred Noonan in the South Pacific Ocean. No wreckage and no bodies are ever found.
1964—Civil Rights Bill Becomes Law
U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Bill into law, which makes the exclusion of African-Americans from elections, schools, unions, restaurants, hotels, bars, cinemas and other public institutions and facilities illegal. A side effect of the Bill is the immediate reversal of American political allegiance, as most southern voters abandon the Democratic Party for the Republican Party.
1997—Jimmy Stewart Dies
Beloved actor Jimmy Stewart, who starred in such films as Rear Window and Vertigo, dies at age eighty-nine at his home in Beverly Hills, California of a blood clot in his lung.
July 01
1941—NBC Airs First Official TV Commercial
NBC broadcasts the first TV commercial to be sanctioned by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC began licensing commercial television stations in May 1941, granting the first license to NBC. During a Dodgers-Phillies game broadcast July 1, NBC ran its first commercial, from Bulova, who paid $9 to advertise its watches.
1963—Kim Philby Named as Spy
The British Government admits that former high-ranking intelligence diplomat Kim Philby had worked as a Soviet agent. Philby was a member of the spy ring now known as the Cambridge Five, along with Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess, Anthony Blunt and John Cairncross. Of the five, Philby is believed to have been most successful in providing classified information to the Soviet Union. He defected to Russia, was feted as a hero and even given his commemorative stamp, before dying in 1988 at the age of seventy-six.
1997—Robert Mitchum Dies
American actor Robert Mitchum dies in his home in Santa Barbara, California. He had starred in films such as Out of the Past, Blood on the Moon, and Night of the Hunter, was called "the soul of film noir," and had a reputation for coolness that would go unmatched until Frank Sinatra arrived on the scene.
June 30
1908—Tunguska Explosion Occurs
Near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai in Russia, a large meteoroid or comet explodes at five to ten kilometers above the Earth's surface with a force of about twenty megatons of TNT. The explosion is a thousand times more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic blast, knocks over an estimated 80 million trees and generates a shock wave estimated to have been 5.0 on the Richter scale.
1971—Soviet Cosmonauts Perish
Soviet cosmonauts Vladislav Volkov, Georgi Dobrovolski and Viktor Patsayev, who served as the first crew of the world's first space station Salyut 1, die when their spacecraft Soyuz 11 depressurizes during preparations for re-entry. They are the only humans to die in space (as opposed to the upper atmosphere).
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