Tom Corbie
Created by Philip José Farmer

After decades of success, having written over seventy novels of science fiction, fantasy, and adventure fiction, Philip José Farmer is one guy who is no stranger to pastiches of pulp fiction, having already done acclaimed pastiches of both Tarzan and Doc Savage. He's als claimed he's been a long-time fan and reader of the private eye genre, so it was only a matter of time before he set his sights on the private eye genre. The result, Nothing Burns in Hell (1998), was written when Farmer was around 80 years old.

The dustjacket blurb reads "This is one for fans of Quentin Tarintino and of the ever-present gratuitous violence of Robert Altman. It is a direct descendent of Micky Spillanes' Mike Hammer and the mystery action pulps epitomised by Black Mask."

Just in case anyone missed the point it continues on the back: "Greed, venality, and hatred are unleased, unpleasant family history is brought to light. All the sex is offstage. The body count mounts steadily,with occasional mutations. Nothing Burns in Hell is pulp fiction as its most excessively gorgeous."

I'm beginning to wonder if Farmer wrote his own cover notes, and if this was intended to be a Tarantino piss-take or what..

Anyway, TOM CORBIE is a Peoria private eye with a real jones for rare books, and married to a very nice woman who happens to be a witch. He sweats and toils, doing the sometimes-questionable jobs the more respectable Andrew Bell Investigations and Security Systems, his sometime-employer, won't touch. Seems that although Tom's usually "tidy and orderly, almost prissy," his operating methods tend to be a bit flexible. In his one recorded case to date, he takes on a job that's more than a little dubious. As usual, he's badly in debt, this time from borrowing a lot of money to buy three rare books, one of which was the special edition of Henry Miller's Tropic of Capricorn, illustrated by Grandma Moses.

Will there be a sequel? In an interview at the time, Farmer confessed, "I see the hero, Tom Corbie, being crucified on the first page. Then things get worse."



Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith and Eric Chambers.

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