Some of you may have noticed this year, P2K hasn’t been as solely focused on spies – and there have been quite a few boxing reviews thrown into the mix. The reason for that is I have become Jack Tunney. Or more precisely, one of the many Jack Tunneys.
Let me explain. Many of you will be familiar with the book series – Fightcard, which was created by Paul Bishop and Mel Odom, late last year. The series is inspired by the fighting pulp fiction of the 1930s and 40s, like the stories found in Fight Stories Magazine, and the Sailor Steve Costigan tales written by Robert E. Howard. So far, four books have been released in the series – all written by different authors using the unifying pseudonym Jack Tunney (a contraction of Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney).
My story, King of the Outback, is the sixth in the series, and will be released in May.
For those you want to know a little bit more about King of the Outback, and the Fight Card series, here’s a brief overview of the story.
Outback Australia, 1954.
Two rival tent boxing troupes clash over a territorial dispute in the Outback town of Birdsville. In the sweltering heat, tensions simmer, tempers flare, and as things reach boiling point, a boxing tent is burned to the ground.
Fighting men know only one way to solve their disputes, and that’s in the ring. The solution, a show-down, smack-down, winner take all bout between the two rival outfits.
In the blue corner, representing ‘Walter Wheeler’s Boxing Sideshow’ is Tommy King, a young aboriginal boxer with a big heart and iron fists.
In the red corner, representing ‘Arnold Sanderson’s Boxing Show’, is ‘Jumpin’ Jack Douglas, a monstrous wrecking machine from the city – a man who’ll do anything to win.
The fight – brutal. In the world of Tent Boxing, in the harsh Australian Outback, weight divisions and rules don’t count for much. It’s a fight to decide, who is indeed, King of the Outback!
Previous titles in the series.
FELONY FISTS – Paul Bishop writing as Jack Tunney
Los Angeles, 1954.
Patrick “Felony” Flynn has been fighting all his life. Learning the “sweet science” from Father Tim the fighting priest at St. Vincent’s, the Chicago orphanage where Pat and his older brother Mickey were raised, Pat has battled his way around the world – first with the Navy and now with the Los Angeles Police Department.
Legendary LAPD chief William Parker is on a rampage to clean up both the department and the city. His elite crew of detectives known as The Hat Squad is his blunt instrument – dedicated, honest, and fearless. Promotion from patrol to detective is Pat’s goal, but he also yearns to be one of the elite.
And his fists are going to give him the chance.
Gangster Mickey Cohen runs LA’s rackets, and murderous heavyweight Solomon King is Cohen’s key to taking over the fight game. Chief Parker wants wants Patrick “Felony” Flynn to stop him – a tall order for middleweight ship’s champion with no professional record.
Leading with his chin, and with his partner, LA’s first black detective Tombstone Jones, covering his back, Patrick Flynn and his Felony Fists are about to fight for his future, the future of the department, and the future of Los Angeles.
THE CUTMAN – Mel Odom writing as Jack Tunney
Havana, Cuba. 1954.
Mickey Flynn is an ex-Korean War vet turned merchant marine. He was born in the ghettos of Chicago and raised in an orphanage with his younger brother, Patrick. He was one of several young men who received an education from the nuns at St. Vincent’s.
But he was also taught the “sweet science” by Father Tim, a Golden Gloves boxer and retired police officer who only knew one way to bring a troubled boy to manhood. Father Tim worked with his young charges, taught them how to jab and punch and throw a hook that seemed to come out of nowhere. When the young men left St. Vincent’s (Our Lady of the Glass Jaw), they were changed, fit and ready to take on the troubles the encountered around the world, no matter where they found them.
Now Mick’s in Havana, working on WIDE BERTHA, his ship. After surviving a fierce storm at sea, the last thing Mick and the crew need to do is get crossways with the Italian organized crime flooding Havana, but it doesn’t take much to put him in the cross hairs of a vengeful mob boss working for Lucky Luciano.
Unable to get free of bad luck and unfortunate circumstance, Mick ends up in the ring in an illegal boxing match fighting a human killing machine.
SPLIT DECISION – Eric Beetner writing as Jack Tunney
Kansas City, 1954.
A slick mobster named Cardone has an offer for Jimmy – money, and lots of it – for a fix. Jimmy takes the fight. The ring is almost on Lola’s finger, until Jimmy collides with Whit – another mobster with another up-and-coming fighter.
Whit has an offer of his own. Same fight, different fix. Now Jimmy is caught between two warring factions of the Kansas City underworld. He can’t make a move without someone getting mad, getting even, or getting dead.
From sweat-soaked fight halls to darkened alleyways, the countdown has begun. With his girl and his manager in the crossfire, everything Jimmy ever learned about fancy footwork and keeping his defenses up may not be enough …
Fight night is approaching and nobody is going to be saved by the bell.
COUNTERPUNCH – Wayne Dundee writing as Jack Tunney
As an orphan at St. Vincent’s Asylum for Boys, he first learned the “sweet science” of boxing from Father Tim, the battling priest. Then the Marine Corps taught him far more lethal fighting tactics before shipping him off to do battle in the hell of the South Pacific.
Now, with World War II over, Danny “The Duke” has returned home and earned a respectable ranking as a regional heavyweight in the Milwaukee area. But his record, free of KO losses, is jeopardized by a mob front man who tries to push him into a series of rigged fights.
When Danny refuses, hard push comes to deadly shove, and he must call upon all his fighting skills to stand his ground. And when Danny comes out swinging, he’s determined to put the mob down for the count.
HARD ROAD – Kevin Michaels writing as Jack Tunney
Atlantic City, 1957
Professional boxers Roberto Varga and Michael Boyle were once pals growing up at St. Vincent’s Asylum for Boys in Chicago. Under the guidance of Father Tim, the fighting priest, they learned values, respect, responsibility, and how to fight fair.
But those lessons didn’t stick with Boyle. Two years after leaving St. Vincent’s, Boyle and Varga face-off in the ring with Boyle pounding out a bloody, lopsided decision, Varga swore wasn’t on the up and up.
In the seven years since, their careers have taken different paths. Guided by unscrupulous manager Tommy Domino, Boyle is positioned for a title shot against Sugar Ray Robinson. Varga, however, has struggled in a career still haunted by the bloody loss to Boyle.
When the boxer scheduled to fight Boyle in Atlantic City breaks his hand two weeks before the fight, Domino scrambles for a replacement. He finds Varga toiling in a Philadelphia gym and offers him the rematch Varga has been waiting years to get. For Varga, it’s a chance to finally even the score, a chance to get the title shot he’s always dreamed about. But Boyle is not the only formidable foe aligned against Varga.
Redemption comes at a bloody price – a price perhaps too high for Varga to pay …