Monday, January 9, 2012

Richard Jaccoma's THE WEREWOLF'S TALE


I don’t know if he invented the genre—but Richard Jaccoma has melded vampires, werewolves and sex scenes in his fiction longer than virtually any other writer currently in vogue. This, in a volatile mix of Old Lefty politics. Lesbo vampire pirates meet commies, mummies ’n’ Nazis. The political slant reflects the leanings of Jimmy Underhill, which gives Jaccoma’s detective noir its unique flavor. The pornographic parts merely describe action that would have been omitted in Chandler or Hammett’s time. Many of Jaccoma’s stories saw light in the men’s magazine demimonde, now part of the last century. Jaccoma is, to say the least, a master pornographer.

Any rational thinking reader acquainted with his first novel would be forced to agree on one controversial matter concerning Richard Jaccoma: The Yellow Peril, published in hardcover by Putnam in 1978, contained a point-by-point blueprint for Raiders of the Lost Ark. The Indiana Jones franchise emerged during the following decade. Jaccoma took the gentleman’s path, so to speak, and decided to forego unpleasant litigation that might have resulted in a slam-dunk settlement.

He put his energy into a series of high-adventure pulp novels that are only pulp on the surface. The Werewolf’s Tale begins in New York, 1939. Poland is on the brink of falling to the Nazis, and Jimmy is drinking off his 1930s sorrows in Germantown on the upper east side of Manhattan. He barroom brawls with Nazi sympathizers from the German-American Bund. Mysterious Asian folks are “Orientals,” an incorrect term these days unless referring to rugs. Who would have known that Manhattan was awash in mysticism, the occult and cannibalism?

So will today’s youth, whose political consciousness was awakened by Occupy Wall Street, be intrigued by this 1930’s brew of Lefty politics and occultism? Would followers of Taylor Swift (“Swifties”), Katy Perry or the Twilight series get turned on by Jaccoma’s narratives of violent sex with werewolves? My guess is that The Werewolf’s Tale will indeed unlock the disturbed sexual fantasies of teenyboppers. And elevate their social consciousness. Originally published in 1988, it raises the bar a few notches to the Left of Sookie Stackhouse. And will provide young readers the thrills they’ve paid their money for. Especially when describing the alien spice of the female werewolf’s steaming breath; the sweet, pungent musk of her fur, the emerald green glow of her eyes through membranous lids. If that isn’t romantic enough, this succubus violently rapes hero Jimmy Underhill, veteran of the Spanish Civil War, fighter of fascists. Artfully plotted, and with more substance than most pulps of yore, Jaccoma wears his politics on his sleeve. And they are correct by righteous standards.


The Werewolf's Tale is now available on Kindle, HERE.

© 2012 Josh Alan Friedman