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Author: Raymond Benson

Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
ISBN-10: 1608090205
ISBN-13: 978-1608090204
In 1996, Raymond Benson was given the surprising assignment of becoming the third writer of James Bond continuation novels despite the facts he was neither British nor had a background in writing fiction.   When his run of 007 stories ended in 2002, he went on to pen books for the Tom Clancy “Splintered Cell” series as well as a number of original mysteries, including his “Rock and Roll Thrillers.” Now, Benson is launching a new franchise and action-adventure fans should jump at the chance to get in on the ground floor of this innovative addition to the Benson canon.
The story of The Black Stiletto opens when Martin Talbot is given materials set aside for him by his mother, an Alzheimer’s patient in a nursing home. What Martin discovers to his great surprise was the woman he’d always known as
Judy Talbot began her life as Judy Cooper—who became the legendary masked vigilante, The Black Stiletto, in New York during the 1950s.   Martin begins reading his mother’s diaries which reveal her Texas childhood where she was raped by an abusive step-father and how she learned she had heightened senses of hearing and awareness of danger. Fleeing her childhood home at age 14, Judy runs to New York where she is attracted to masculine pursuits notably boxing, knife-fighting, and karate. She also develops a passion for revenge after a Mafia family kills her gangster boyfriend. Inspired by her boyfriend’s comicbook collection, Judy creates a costume to wear when she tracks down those who murdered her lover; this kicks off her career as an avenging crimefighter. Her vengeance also sends one of the killers to a jail sentence of 50 years. As it happens, when he’s released decades later, he goes on the hunt to do some avenging of his own.

Several distinct voices are interwoven to tell the tale. First, there’s Martin who is investigating the history of his Mother’s past while dueling with his daughter over her career choices while learning he’s losing his job as an accountant. Then there’s Judy’s very personal diaries that trace her evolution from troubled teen to street fighter and the relations she develops in new York. Finally, there’s the angry account of the man she sent to prison as he is released with one goal in mind.      
Verisimilitude is one strength of what could have been just a comic-book romp without pictures.  For one matter, the Black Stiletto can go months without any adventures at all, even though she’s out there at night seeking the oppressors of the weak wherever she can. She makes mistakes, gets hurt, and is lucky to survive some encounters. Most of her adversaries are either ordinary criminals or simply abusive men who exploit women. In one episode, she takes out a Communist spy ring, in another she travels to her hometown to nail the man who raped her when she was a child.    
 Benson is a master of description and pacing, so every page is both believable and tightly sketched. While this novel is self-contained, Benson leaves open a number of questions and threads so that at least one sequel is inevitable. Visitors to his website can enjoy a free e-book Black Stiletto adventure and see a clever promotional video to whet your appetite. A fast read, you don’t have to be a feminist to enjoy this fresh approach to super-heroes.
 Click Here To Listen to Dr. Wesley Britton's Interview With Raymond Benson 
Click Here To Purchase The Black Stiletto