A tale by Garnet Elliott is always a good one full of pulpy goodness as Garnet Elliot never disappoints. Such is the case with Dragon By The Bay, his latest novelette set in San Francisco in 1866. The Civil War is over, the Gold Rush is very much on, and people are active above and below ground with many of them pawns in various nefarious schemes. This is not a genteel San Francisco, but a city of criminal chaos where anything goes and often does.
Carson Lowe is newly arrived in San Francisco having come over on the ferry from Oakland with very little money in his pockets. He has plans and dreams, but they suffered a nearly fatal setback recently when he was in Nevada where he nearly lost all of his money and his life. The current plan is stay low and be careful. That was the plan before he saw the men of very hard appearance roaming the streets, members of some sort of vigilance committee, clearly looking for somebody to take their frustrations out on as soon as possible. Carson determines it is a good idea to get off the streets as quickly as possible and goes into a nearby tavern.
Once inside he spots a poker game underway. That game just might be the place to run his time tested scam regarding a mine of sliver just waiting to be excavated. The problem with time tested scam is that others may be aware of the scam and not take kindly to your attempt to scam them. They may inflict heavy violence upon you before making sure you wind up in the local jail.
That is exactly what happens to Carson Lowe in short order. Once in the local jail he is witness to the rescue of a fellow prisoner by the name of Nine Serpens Hsien. A legendary figure in San Francisco and a man that is said to be immortal with inconceivable powers.
What follows is a kung fu adventure style story that is a fast moving tale of deceit, alliances, and martial arts in a time tested tale of the battle between evil and those who oppose evil. Frequently the flying fists are as fast as lightning, as are the feet and a few other things as the action moves around and below the city of San Francisco. Paying homage to the movie Big Trouble in Little China, author Garnett Elliott has penned a complex novelette that is a sheer blast to read. No matter how you label it if you call it a western, a kung fu adventure, or something else, Dragon By The Bay is packed top to bottom in pulpy goodness and delivers an excellent read.
Dragon By The Bay
Beat To A Pulp
Paperback (also available as an e-book)
Paperback was supplied by the publisher in exchange for my objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2015