Thursday, October 19, 2006

Leopold McGinnis: The Red Fez

Reviewed by Tom Hendricks, Musea Review Service

Tom and Leopold are both ULA members. Tom prides himself on his reviews being very honest. Leopold is honest, but he has not written this review, so what difference does it make?

What is it? Novella by Leopold McGinnis. 76 pages. Technical Quality: Very high. Attractive looking book has color cover of Red Fez and a Grapefruit (a plot point) in front of a map of Algiers and seen through an Arabic styled arch. There's easy to read type, 9 black and white illustrations and an easy to handle size that is slightly wider than a paperback. Innovative Quality: Nothing here that hasn't been done by others.

Review: Taut, lively story of a stolen antiquity, caught me at the opening and kept me reading to the end. The story opens with red fez wearing Habibi buying extra mustache wax, a sure sign that something big is up.

The author says that his story "is heavily film noir inspired. And it does have that "Casablance" film classic, feel to it. The place is 1936 Algiers, the locals hate the colonial French, and everyone is hungry to make a deal.

The characters are distinctive and crisply drawn. Besides Habibi, there's the police chief Pierre Rensard, cafe proprietor Savid, the evil British gun trader Sylvia Longshot and her hunchback henchman, Afiz.

Like good pulp fiction, the story goes with no stops. Habibi may have something worth a lot on the black market. But who does he sell it to and how does he escape the authorities that are cracking down on illegal sales.

Besides the cast of characters, there's a clear plot, a lively McGuffin - as Hitchcock called 'the thing everyone wants,' - and a menacing hot desert atmosphere that colors everyone's actions.

The story creaks a little when the wily Habibi is caught too much off guard without a back up plan - I am skeptical he would be duped - and he doesn't use the ropes he's tied up with to escape his rope - needing predictament! I'll say no more.

Overall a fun read in a great looking package, with a pulp fiction film noir style that I enjoyed. Perhaps the nicest compliment I can say is I read it straight through and didn't put it down till the story ended.

Contact Info:,

1 comment:

Victor Schwartzman said...

Interesting review! You should read Leopold's other writing. check out the two websites noted--The Blogperson

The World Is Ours--and Yours!

eXTReMe Tracker