Killer Tease – Pulp fiction

Killer Tease - Pulp fiction

‘Killer Tease’ is a modern take on the classic pulp fiction thriller. Set in Brighton’s sleazy underbelly, it tells the tale of Eloise Murphy, a burlesque dancer with a murderously bad temper…

The pulp fiction genre:Pulp fiction magazines (‘pulps’) were inexpensive fiction magazines named after the super-cheap wood pulp paper they were printed on. Pulps were widely published between the 1920s and the 1950s. Pulp fiction romance themes were not soft kisses but sex with black eyes. Their action themes were not noble cops but anti-hero bruisers with too much whisky rolling in their guts and a taste for extracting ultraviolent vengeance. The ‘Pulp Fiction’ movie by Tarantino is a nod to their lurid and hardboiled nature.

Danny Hogan has given the classic pulp fiction genre a 21st Century makeover with his debut novel, Killer Tease. Look at what it says on the top of the cover: “Turn off your TV and discover what fiction used to be”.

The retro cover art:The book cover is a fantastic tribute to the dime novels and pulp fiction of past years. Drawn and painted with acrylic and coloured pencil on card by Alex Young, it has the fifties raw cartoony quality, garish colours, contorted expressions, fake age-marks and visible low price (£5) of any pulp fiction that had to drag your attention to itself and get itself in your pocket before you walked away and bought something else more sensible instead. We especially love the lurid prose spread across the cover, which you just don’t get in novels any more:

“Eloise rolled on the floor, choking and catching her breath. She had no time for pain and so, using the last of her energy, she picked herself up off the floor and staggered to get through the door. But she couldn’t…”

The plot: Eloise is a burlesque dancer, not a stripper. That doesn’t mean she’s a nice girl. She’ll beat up anyone who touches her while she’s working, and she’ll claw the eyes out of any upstart younger model who tries to tell her how modern burlesque should be done.

Eloise finds herself dragged into Brighton’s seedy underbelly when she takes on a job that’s too big for her – a job that could kill her, if she isn’t afraid to do the unthinkable.

The 18 certificate: There isn’t one, because books don’t come with them. But there should be. This is a genuine tribute to hardboiled writing which was violent, cheap and nasty. If you can’t handle a gouged eye and the ritual killing of a cat this is not the book for you. Stephen King’s horror is cosy and unfrightening (and we say that with great love for the master storyteller). Pulp fiction visceral display is visceral and ultraviolent and it tends to have mean, mean characters.

If you’re looking for the meaning of life, you won’t find it in Killer Tease. If you’re looking for life, you will.