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Cool Cat by Dan Leissner - A Book Review

by Mike Haberfelner

May 2007

Dan Leissner on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Let me get one thing straight up front: Dan Leissner's Cool Cat is not Pulitzer Prize material, nor one of the contenders for the Nobel Prize - not for literature anyways.

That said of course, it was never intended to be, Cool Cat is a piece of nostalgic, exploitative, trashy pulp fiction of the girls with guns-variety, and it was intended to be just that.

 

The story is quickly told: Cat, a tough-as-nails yet incredibly hot secret agent (whom the author helps out of her cloths repeatedly) investigates the disappearance of several hippie girls somewhere along a desert stretch of Route 66 - but during her investigations, things get wilder by the minute as she stumbles over a Texan Colonel with weird theories of white supremacy, a series of fabricated racial unrests all over the USA, and finally aliens trying to take over our planet (with the help of our Aryan Colonel) ... but of course, with the help of a black and an Asian female agent from her agency, a tough Vietnam veteran and her hippie uncle, Cat manages to save the world and it all ends with the suggestion of a big orgy ...

 

As my synopsis might suggest, Cool Cat is pretty much vintage exploitation movie mainstays gone wild, and charmingly so, too, as this book lovingly evokes the look and feel of the early 1970's - before cellphones and internet and techno-babble made thrillers a rather boring affair -, but without the post-modern approach of Quentin Tarantino and his many followers. Dan Leissner rather recreates 1970's pulp as the enjoyable thing it was back then, without hindsights and second thoughts and pop culture references - but much to his credit, he left out the rather disgusting elements of pulp from back then like latent racism and obvious Commie- and hippie-bashing anyways without hurting the story.

 


According to his own statement, Dan Leissner never saw Cool Cat as much as a book as he saw it as a film, and thus his style is very pictorial and colourful: Often he seems to linger on the beautiful body of his female protagonist simply forever, and he always gives extremely detailed descriptions of the scenery - in fact he is much more interested in the variety of cool viontage cars Cat and friends are driving and the weapons they are using than in their actual characters, and the book seems to be totally devoid of character development - but all this was intended ... 

As I mentioned above, Cool Cat is not a piece of high literature, it's a fun nostalgic ride through a world of exploitation long gone by, inspired by the likes of Russ Meyer and Jack Hill, by movies like Foxy Brown (1974, Jack Hill) or Savage Sisters (1974, Eddie Romero) or The Doll Squad (1973, Ted V.Mikels) or Deadlier Than The Male (1966, Ralph Thomas) and of course by the men's magazines that were around in the early 1970's like All Man, Man’s Action and Man’s Story.

 

So, is Cool Cat an intelligent book ?

Probably not, but neither is it intended to be. The book is just what it is, a loving hommage to late 1960's/early 70's trash, and as such it succeeds admirably. If you are into this kind of thing, you will probably like it, just don't expect John Steinbeck or anything ...

 

By the way, Cool Cat is available from Baltimore-based Midnight Marquee Presswww.midmar.com.

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD