Mike (the Paladin)'s Reviews > The Black Stiletto: The First Diary--1958

The Black Stiletto by Raymond Benson
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's review
May 29, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: action, urban-fantasy, ya-fantasy

I'm putting this on my Urban Fantasy shelf (along with a few other shelves) as I don't have a comic-book type novels shelf. This is in many ways a very young read, yet in other ways the reader needs to be mature enough to handle adult situations. (view spoiler) So I put the book also on my YA shelf, but be sure that your "youth" is "adult" enough to read this one.

So, here we have a novel that takes advantage of the comic-book tradition of the 1950s and 1960s. The Black Stiletto is a good-guy (well girl...but a girl can be one of the "good-guys) who believes in might for the right purposes and because of her own past can't stand to see the weak abused and taken advantage of. Told from three points of view I was slightly surprised to see that this really didn't slow the story much. When we're following Martin's story things do slow down a bit but it's not bad and it never takes long to begin moving again. By the same token the story of Judy's background isn't an action story but still Benson does a good job of using it to set up the story and letting us get to know Judy.

The plot device is one you've probably seen before. Martin gets a parcel from his mother who's been in a nursing home for years with Alzheimer's. Her lawyer was given the letter but being an old friend of her's he's held on a log time hoping against hope she'd somehow "get well". Finally he realizes he needs to follow Judy's instructions and passes the parcel on to her son.

Inside he finds instructions that lead him to a secret room in the house where he was raised...a room he never suspected was there. Inside are his mother's diaries...or the diaries of a famous costumed vigilante/crime fighter from the late '50s and '60s, the Black Stiletto.

The book is set up as Judy's diaries Vol.1 and it's very readable very enjoyable. If like me you remember the comic-book era in question fondly that will be even more of a plus.

There are a couple of things about the book that push some of my own personal negative buttons, I'll mention them under a spoiler tag. Still they may simply be "my" hot buttons and not yours. (view spoiler)

Other than those personal quibbles however I like this one and recommend you give it a try. 4 stars, enjoy.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Richard (new) - added it

Richard Guion Interesting. Sounds like a Black Canary type of heroine, the idea of writing her diaries seems like a great device. I have to try this one.

Mike (the Paladin) The second is out, but the library doesn't have it and (sorry Mr. Benson) I'm not planning on buying it so...whenever I can get a library copy.

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