I think it’s safe to say that the FIGHT CARD series of books are not only a success but a validation of something that New Pulp writers, editors and publishers have been saying all along: it doesn’t matter what you call it. If it’s written well and professionally packaged, people will read it. By the end of 2014, there will be thirty-six FIGHT CARD books, all unique in their own way and touching on various aspects of the fight game. FIGHT CARD has evolved enough to now boast romance, luchadore and MMA novels as well as the core group of FIGHT CARD books which take place in the 1950’s.
For those of you unfamiliar with the traditional FIGHT CARD books, here’s the set-up: the protagonists are orphans that grew up in Chicago’s St. Vincent’s Asylum For Boys where Father Tim Brophy, a battlin’ priest of the real old school teaches boxing to his boys as a way to help them grow up and be men. At 25,000 words, the novelettes are designed to be read in one or two sittings. Having contributed to FIGHT CARD myself I can testify to the fact that it’s a genre that’s a lot of fun to work in and really put me in touch with the spirit of being a real pulp writer.
BRIDGEPORT BRAWLER by David White (writing under the FIGHT CARD house name of Jack Tunney) is a little different from other FIGHT CARD books in that it sometimes reads more like a character study than a boxing novel. Don’t get me wrong now. There’s boxing action. Plenty of it. In and out of the ring. But I can’t help but wonder if David White was more concerned in his story in trying to show us how sometimes the best thing in the world we can do can also be the thing that leads to our downfall. Our protagonist Pat White is simply not smart enough to do anything to solve his problems except use his fists. And using his fists only gets him into deeper and deeper trouble. Asked by his best friend and manager Homer to throw a fight because of a heavy debt he owes the mob, heavyweight boxing champ Pat “The Hammer” White is understandably upset, to put it mildly.
And even though he agrees to do so, his pride and his anger gets the better of him and he reneges on the deal. A decision that has the expected result. But it doesn’t end there. That decision not to throw the fight results in Pat White descending into a black hell of alcoholism, depression and petty crime. It seems as if no matter what he does to try and pull his life together, things just don’t go right for Pat. And as usual in these kinds of story, the hero is redeemed by the love of a good woman and reaching deep inside himself for that reservoir of hidden strength he never knew he had, brought out by a wise old mentor. And as in every FIGHT CARD novel, the hero must step into the ring one more time to prove to himself that he’s worthy enough to call himself a man.
BRIDGEPORT BRAWLER is a good fast read. Maybe too fast in spots. There were some sections where I wished David White had taken more time with the characters and firmed up their relationships. There are several parts where characters make life-changing decisions on the spur of the moment and it’s in those parts where I can see the wires being pulled by the writer. It doesn’t feel as if the characters are making the decisions organically and naturally. The last thing you want as a writer is for the reader to be able to see you working the story from backstage.
But there’s no doubt that David White knows how to keep a story moving. There’s absolutely no fat or padding here and if you’re looking for a quick yet solid read to entertain you a couple of hours then you should pick up a copy of BRIDGEPORT BRAWLER and enjoy.
File Size: 2216 KB
Print Length: 80 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Fight Card Books (July 9, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.