By Raymond Benson
The Black Stiletto was a legend in her own time, an underground heroine who made a name for herself during the late Eisenhower years and early Kennedy years as a New York City vigilante. Although she was wanted by the law and would have been arrested had she been caught or had her secret identity been revealed, the Black Stiletto was a competent and successful crime-fighter. A feminist before the term was in everyday vernacular, she battled common crooks, Communist spies, the mafia, and worse—and was responsible for their capture and, in some cases, their deaths. But the Stiletto disappeared midway through the sixties and was never heard from again. Most people thought she had died, and no one ever knew her identity. Like pinup queen Bettie Page, her mythical image resurfaced in comics and other media during the 1980s and 90s. Millions of dollars were made by others exploiting her likeness and persona. Today, the questions remain. Who was she? Is she still alive? If so, where is she now?
The answers can be found in THE BLACK STILETTO, THE BLACK STILETTO: BLACK & WHITE, THE BLACK STILETTO: STARS & STRIPES, THE BLACK STILETTO: SECRETS & LIES, and the finale, THE BLACK STILETTO: ENDINGS & BEGINNINGS, all by internationally-known New York Times best-selling author Raymond Benson. The July 2011 issue of Library Journal calls THE BLACK STILETTO “a mash-up of the work of Gloria Steinem, Ian Fleming, and Mario Puzo, all under the editorship of Stan Lee.”
January 4 2015…started and forcing myself to put it down as family and work duties are demanding my attention. My first question is…what if my mom was a secret hero? What secrets, other lives, have our parents held? Do we ever really know our parents? Or see them as other than our parents?
A few years back, I was lucky enough to review Mr. Benson’s “Dark Side of the Morgue.” A book I didn’t quite fully mix with; however, I’m losing myself in his “The Black Stiletto.
More to later…
Well, it’s later and in order to accomplish anything I had to force myself to turn my eReader off and back away from “The Black Stiletto.” Does this mean we were a mix? Oh Hades, yes!
Mr. Benson created an easy flowing story where I wanted to meet Judy Cooper aka The Black Stiletto. This lady has everything you want in a female hero. Is the idea a little over the top for the 50s? Maybe, but then again all the best super heroes are…a little over the top.
But, it’s not just about the era and the capturing of that time and story voice. Mr. Benson visits an aged super hero who no longer remembers who she was…or does she, that I’m not too sure about and hope to find out more as I move through the next books in the series. Think about it, though, what happens to crime fighters when they age, if/when Alzheimer’s lock away their memories?
What about their families…children? Do they ever learn about their parent’s past or is it buried away for the rest of time?
With “The Black Stiletto” Mr. Benson travels a different route…what if you discovered your parent was a super hero crime fighter from years ago? Someone who took on traitors and crime lords. It’s hard enough on adult children to realize their parents had lives before they had children…lives and dreams and experiences that don’t fit the mother/father picture. Now, the stories of some woman running the night in scandalously form-fitting tights and top, welding a needle sharp stiletto turns out to be your MOM?
And you can’t ask her anything about it.
“The Black Stiletto” is pure fun. Mr. Benson’s writing plays out as a movie in your mind…actually – Hey, Hollywood, stop making repeats of movies and get on board and give us something new, like The Black Stiletto.
Being part of a series there’s a trap some authors fall into…leaving too much open for the next book. Too few changes or too many closures in the first book. There’s a good balance here. And, if I wanted to give you hints and imprint these on you before you have a chance to enjoy this read, I would. Sorry, not going to happen.
Go and enjoy “The Black Stiletto” I’m off to my reading corner with book two.