Review: Fightcard: Felony Fists by Jack Tunney (Paul Bishop)

25 Aug


Bought and read Felony Fists yesterday.

Like the other Fight Card book I’ve read, Split Decision (Eric Beetner I believe), I just loved it. In a lot of ways this is the perfect kind of noir crime book, for me at least: Set in Los Angeles in 1954: main character an officer with the LAPD, main protagonist gangster Mickey Cohen and his gang of thugs, and, boxing, lots of boxing

Now, in real life I don’t really care for boxing. When I was a kid I loved it and used to watch the fights every  week on local Los Angeles TV station Channel Five (live from the Olympic Auditorium downtown, as featured in this book), and I saw all the famous bouts from my youth, Floyd Patterson’s many title fights, Clay/Liston, Clay/Patterson, Ali Frazier, Leonard/Duran — you get  the idea. But, now, as an adult, there is something about the idea of watching two men (or women these days) trying to hit each other hard enough to damage each others brains and bodies enough to knock them out or hurt them to the delight of a paying audience that just creeps me out. When I see boxing or MMA fighting as I change channels on  TV, I quickly pass it by.

But, that said, I cannot resist a boxing movie. I recently watched The Fighter with Mark Wahlberg and I just loved it. I love boxing movies. I love watching people fight in movies. The recent Cinemax show Banshee, which features at least one epic vicious bare-knuckles battle in each episode, is one of my favorite shows of all time. Boxing and fighting is such a natural vehicle for drama, right? And now with the Fight Card series, I love boxing novels. So fun.

Also, in a lot of ways, reading this book is an almost perfect facsimile of watching a classic black and white noir movie. Felony fists has the scenery, the cars, the characters, the cops, the gangsters, the dialogue of those movies–except in more vivid detail. I love that. I love 50s black and white noir.

The plot is just right too. The main character Patrick Flynn is both a boxer and, like I said, an LAPD cop. He has been boxing and fighting and battling all his life. From the beginning of the novel to the end Flynn is presented with one battle after another, each one with slightly higher stakes, each one more epic.

Bishop is clearly a talented writer. He knows how to keep things interesting, how to keep things moving, and, he knows how to get inside the head of his main character in a way that makes him both compelling and fascinating.

So, am I making my point? This is a fun to read, exciting, simple, action and plot-driven book with cops, gangsters, 50s LA, fighting, crime, good guys, bad guys, and boxing. Lots of boxing.

Buy it. Read it. Or I’ll knock you out (just kidding).

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