Gary Lovisi’s Introduction to Bourbon Street/Hot Cargo provides some provocative information about an obscure writer who wrote a few compelling books and then dropped out of the publishing business. “G. H. Otis” was Otis Hemingway Gaylord, a man who knew a lot about New Orleans and later worked for Disney as an advertising manager. Bourbon Street and Hot Cargo were published by Lion Books in 1953. As Lovisi points out, both books were ahead of their time.
Bourbon Street is narrated by Digger Mulcahy, a man whose problems dealing alcohol have led him to despair, has come up with a smuggling scheme that he sees as the way out of his poverty and failures. Mulcahy gambles on accepting money from a gangster to fund his risky operation. But, as you might suspect, things start to go wrong and Mulcahy finds his world falling apart. GRADE: B+
Hot Cargo features a beautiful but deadly woman named Sheba. Ed Brody is on the run and finds his only escape is on a ship that harbors plenty of secrets. Brody is hired as an engineer, but the Captain seems uninterested in the dangers Brody discovers with the ship’s engines. The plot transforms the voyage into a violent gun-battle before a midnight rendezvous in the the middle of the ocean. If you’re looking for surprising action and adventure, you’ll want to load up on some Hot Cargo. GRADE: B