(THE SERIES) "If the Black Stiletto series is under your radar, there’s something wrong with your radar. This is a five-book sequence of the highest quality, full of thrills and suspense, and fun and humanity too."
—LEE CHILD, New York Times Best-Selling Author
(THE SERIES) "I love the Black Stiletto, the characters, the settings, the turn-the-pages-faster stories. If someone made a Black Stiletto movie, and they should, I'd paid full price to see it. If someone made a Black Stiletto television series, and they should, I would watch it every week. If someone published a Black Stiletto comic book, and they should, I would want to write it because Judy Cooper Talbot is a character a comic-book writer could easily fall in love with."
—TONY ISABELLA, Tony Isabella's Bloggy Thing — Read the entire review here!
(ENDINGS & BEGINNINGS) "Along with pulsating drama, high intrigue, and suspense, I was taken with how well Benson captures the female voice and the historical period it was written. Definitely worth putting the five-book series on your bookcase."
—MARK P. SADLER, Suspense Magazine
(ENDINGS & BEGINNINGS) "Endings & Beginnings gets off to a gentle start but then shifts gears and roars across the pages with enough action to satisfy any fan of the Black Stiletto series." —BOOKLOONS.COM
(ENDINGS & BEGINNINGS) "Benson wraps up this five-book series in grand style with a satisfying climax, but as the title and final pages suggest, this may not be the end of the Black Stiletto. Escapist entertainment tinged with melancholy."
(ENDINGS & BEGINNINGS) "Old grudges and fresh starts set the tone in Benson's engaging fifth and final Black Stiletto novel...Multiple points of view help enliven this daring woman's tale, leaving readers wishing for more."
—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY — See the complete review at Publishers Weekly!
(ENDINGS & BEGINNINGS) "The most thrilling story yet in this brilliant saga..."
—TANZEY CUTTER, Fresh Fiction — See the complete great review of the fifth and final Black Stiletto book, THE BLACK STILETTO: ENDINGS & BEGINNINGS, at Fresh Fiction!
(SECRETS & LIES) "Benson moves effortlessly from 1961 to the present and back, and gives readers a cultural look at life during the '60s. His cast of characters is outstanding, including the supporting cast."
—SHARON MAGEE, Mystery Scene Magazine
(SECRETS & LIES) "The fourth in a series, The Black Stiletto: Secrets and Lies, provides the reader who enjoys mysteries and can't get enough of a specific character a chance to bond with a brave and mysterious woman. Readers won't be disappointed by this latest addition to the series."
—KATHY HABEL, The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, VA
(SECRETS & LIES) "This is all great fun... The historical side of 1961 is pleasingly detailed..."
—SACRAMENTO/SAN FRANCISCO BOOK REVIEW
"The Black Stiletto is page turning suspense with well defined characters and good vigilante escapism."
—GARY ROEN, Midwest Book Review
(SECRETS & LIES) "...this is very much a series to savour..."
—THINKING ABOUT BOOKS — see the complete, very nice and insightful review here.
(SECRETS & LIES) "...Benson's appealing fourth novel featuring the masked vigilante... Reminiscent of heroes from the Golden Age of comics like the Black Canary and Lady Luck, thrill-seeking Judy makes an endearing protagonist."
(STARS & STRIPES) "...an impressive effort at an inherently difficult subject."
—THINKING ABOUT BOOKS — see the complete, very nice and insightful review here.
(STARS & STRIPES) "Anyone who enjoyed Batgirl's adventures is going to love the Black Stiletto. A crusader for justice, she's not always fearless, but she's relentlessly driven to balance the scales. Benson's series third is a compelling story that scans back and forth over the course of 40 years, showing how each character is affected by a past that none has any control over."
—RT BOOK REVIEW
(STARS & STRIPES) "THE BLACK STILETTO: STARS & STRIPES is Book #3 in this historical series by Raymond Benson, and mid-20th century supergal Judy Cooper just keeps getting better."
—POPCORN READS — see complete review here.
(STARS & STRIPES) "Benson's knack for toggling back and forth in time gives readers two engaging storylines to pursue. The Black Stiletto isn't Wonder Woman, but her moxie is sure to be a hit with the Comic-Con crowd."
(STARS & STRIPES) "I love Black Stiletto books. Raymond Benson makes them so enjoyable to read and so believable that I just looked it up again to see if the Black Stiletto was real."
—JULIE MODERSON, Bestsellersworld.com and Mysteriesgalore.com
(STARS & STRIPES) "Top notch espionage and action, family drama and a superhero! Benson does a great job of switching time periods and the center of action. This is FUN stuff."
—CRIMESPREE MAGAZINE, Buzz Bin
(STARS & STRIPES) "In the third entry in this series, real-life concerns contrast with the comic book-like escapism of the Black Stiletto's adventures of 50-plus years past, all likely to heighten anticipation for the next two series entries, promised for 2014."
(STARS & STRIPES) "I can't wait for further revelations about the life of the THE BLACK STILETTO and her offspring."
(STARS & STRIPES) "Anyone who enjoyed Batgirl's adventures is going to love the Black Stiletto... Benson's third is a compelling story that spans back and forth over the course of 40 years, showing how each character is affected by a past none has any control over."
—RT BOOK REVIEW
(BLACK & WHITE) "This unique and fascinating thriller is a mesmerizing look at two time periods tied together by family relationships and parallel challenges, and that ends up bringing the past and present together in a satisfying finish. The snappy dialog and intriguing characters add to an exciting tale sure to leave readers longing for more adventures from the mysterious crusader of long ago."
—EDIE DYKEMAN, BellaOnline
(BLACK & WHITE) "Black and White is actually a better read than its predecessor. The pace is higher and Judy has grown wiser and more daring as she grows into her new alias... The plot weaves cleverly back and forth... The characters are all beautifully constructed with the lead of Judy shining out like a beacon... The Black Stiletto: Black and White is a rollercoasting romp which entertains, exhilarates and educates."
—GRAHAM SMITH, Crimesquad.com
(BLACK & WHITE) "A fast-paced, fun read... perfect for a light summer read at the beach!"
(BLACK & WHITE) "This second installment in the Black Stiletto series is just damn fun, effectively mixing the story of young, fearless Judy and the poignant struggle of Martin to protect his mother from an onslaught of publicity that she won't understand. Sheer entertainment."
—WES LUKOWSKY, Booklist
"As a kid, I loved to read comic strips and comic books. I loved the Superheroes portrayed in those pages. But once I read The Black Stiletto all thoughts of those childhood comics were stripped away. Imagine meeting a woman in the late 1950s whose sense of justice for a wrong done to her as a young teenager compels her to work hard, train and fight injustice in her world. The 'Stiletto' does just that. Raymond Benson has created a character whose feminism and feminist traits were not all that common in those 'good ole days.' But heroine Judy learns at a young age that to right wrongs, she must take it upon herself to become the equalizer. She trains in boxing, martial arts and reads. I love this character! Judy's adventures are documented through her diaries left to her only child, a son, who is stunned to read about his famous, or rather, infamous, mother. The story flips from Judy's diaries to present day as her life unfolds before the son. There is a point where the action crosses between the past and present day that will keep you glued to the story. Benson has woven a true superhero without the superpowers, but nonetheless leaves his readers begging for more. I'm certain that we will see a 'Black Stiletto 2' soon enough because I for one, cannot get enough of her. You won't either."
—PAM STACK, Must Read Mysteries
(BLACK & WHITE) "This mesmerizing story of mystery and suspense unfolds in switching between the present of Martin's life and the past as told in Judy's diary. And the diary reads just like a woman of 21 would have written it in 1959. I'm hoping there's another Black Stiletto diary because I want to know more about this amazing woman."
—TANZEY CUTTER, FreshFiction.com
(BLACK & WHITE) "It's hard to say which is the more fear-provoking thrill in Raymond Benson's latest book, THE BLACK STILETTO: BLACK AND WHITE, released May 2012 by Oceanview Publishing. You'll have to choose between the fact that his masked heroine is about to be betrayed by her own heart and discovered, or the authentic ride the reader is taken through in her old-age... No thriller or murder mystery is as terrifying as the disease of dementia, and Benson weaves cold hard fiction with cold hard fact by forcing the reader to suffer the cold slap of wind in the face while riding, hands up and screaming, in the front seat of the Alzheimer's roller coaster... There's a literary justice in being able to split a book into different personalities to throw the reader off kilter. There's a sumptuous voyeurism in being able to read the diary of a masked crime fighter... Paul Laurence Dunbar wrote, 'We wear the mask that grins and lies, it hides our cheeks and shades our eyes'. Raymond Benson goes behind that mask and shows us what's truly beneath it... The thing that makes this book so different is the way it's served up to the reader. There are three courses placed on the table at the same time. Each chapter allows the reader to choose a flavor from a different plate. 'The Stiletto' or Judy Talbot's story is told in diary form and takes the reader through a year in her life in the fifties at the height of her adventures as a masked crusader. Another dish is from Judy's son, Martin, in real time, who's dealing with the insanity of a mother with an insane disease. If his mother had rambled on about a life as a masked crime-fighter he would have thought her mad, even demented. And that's the twist. You'd have to be demented to think your mother was the infamous Black Stiletto putting the bad guy in his place, fighting for truth, justice and the American way. Except when Martin finds her diaries and takes possession of a long hidden canister of film, the insanity becomes real. And so in present day the reader dishes on Martin's own struggles with what he's found out; being the ordinary son of a most extraordinary woman and his own need to step out of the shadows of his fading mother to save his own family. The third dish on the table is that of FBI agent, John Richardson, who's been sworn to track down the Black Stiletto (Judy Talbot), arrest her and bring her to justice. Only here's the catch. The Stiletto has fallen for the gumshoe. Has he fallen for her or is he just a man with a job who has no soul?... A trio of stories told from three points of view converge and intersect for a mind boggling siege upon the reader."
—PAULA TUTMAN, The Big Thrill
(BLACK & WHITE) "The first book was full of the depth needed to get into Judy Talbot's motives and development; the second book is clearly a part two of an ongoing series. Both novels so far are richly detailed, well-researched, and surprisingly believable. In particular, the Black Stiletto is completely human and takes on human gangsters and street thugs, not super-powered adversaries. In addition, Benson is very good at giving his narrators distinct voices which gives the books almost the feel of an oral history."
—WESLEY BRITTON, BlogCritics.org
"This book was an amazing read and it kept me up long after my bedtime with a book light because I was dying to find out what happened next. It has all the complexity of a novel with all the action of a comic book... The characters aren't all that draw you into the world of The Black Stiletto, the description does as well. The fight scenes, building and interior descriptions all make you feel like you're a part of Judy's world... The reader will find themselves as shocked as Martin was that little old Judy Talbot who is now in a rest home with Alzheimer's was learning karate and boxing in the 50s. I'm not even going to try to compare her to any other comic book character or movie superhero out there. She stands on her own as one of my favorites and while it took me a long time to post this review, I have been anxiously awaiting book two the whole time."
—MISTY RAYBURN, The-Top-Shelf.com
(BLACK & WHITE) "What a great book! It was a book that kept you wanting to read just a little more and you just couldn?t put it down until you finished..."
—JULIE MODERSON, Bestsellersworld.com — Read more here.
"Benson showcases an appealing, unique character...This is ideally suited for a television series; it's an action-packed tale that's virtually impossible to put down."
—RAY WALSH, Lansing State Journal
"...an absolute joy to read... This could be Benson's best work to date and we can't wait for more!"
—CRIMESPREE MAGAZINE, Buzz Bin
"One of my favorites... we follow Judy 'Black Stiletto' Talbot's adventures with a mixture of delight and awe. Benson isn't just a talented writer, he's an experienced one, too. The author of several James Bond 007 books knows a thing or two about making extraordinary heroes come alive... Benson has packed her exploits with so much heart that we want them to be true."
—BETTY WEBB, Mystery Scene Magazine
"...beautifully crafted and the characters are wonderfully described. You will not want to put the book down."
—ELIZABETH SHEEHAN, bestsellersworld.com and mysteriesgalore.com
"Benson's new series kicks off with gusto and is a magnificent introduction to a marvellous new character. From the very first chapter Benson engages the reader with his direct prose, atmospheric locales and intriguing characters.
The time slip format means the reader is transported between the present day and the fifties with regularity although the fifties play a much larger part. For me the scenes set in fifties New York are a mixture of modern noir and traditional values which coupled with innovative thinking by the author provide the reader with some thought provoking asides on past social issues.
Judy has to be one of the standout characters I?ve read this year. Her early brand of feminism and sense of justice make wonderful reading and she brings the book to life with every passage...The pace is nicely increased as the novel progresses and while not massively action led there is a significant pull on the reader to read just one more chapter. In conclusion? A marvellous start to what promises to be a fantastic new series."
"Judy is awesome! She's a feminist ('I've learned a lot in my short life about how the world treats women') and a lady with an interesting system of ethics. Still, I have to admit that I loved Martin's briefer appearances in the novel. I am captivated by his journey... The book moves fast, and can be read in a matter of hours. It truly is pure entertainment... Raymond Benson has done a terrific job of setting the hook. This is just the first of a proposed five-book series. The Black Stiletto comes to a very satisfying conclusion with a full story arc in both time periods... Yes, I am hooked."
—SUSAN TUNIS, InOneEyeOutTheOther.blogspot.com
"I admired the hell out of her... I completely enjoyed every minute of this fast-paced novel... WooHoo! A new series to look forward to!"
—POPCORN READS — complete review here
"This book was a very pleasant surprise. At the time I requested this title from NetGalley, I did not have a clue of what it was about. I started reading and all of the assumptions I had made from the title and cover flew right out the window. The story begins with Martin receiving a summons to his mother's attorney an old family friend. His elderly mother suffers from advanced Alzheimer's and had left a letter with the attorney to give to her son. Martin is given the mysterious letter and a few objects that set the whole story in motion. Ultimately Martin finds a box of journals kept by his mother regarding her life and the adventures begin. I have to say I was captivated from the beginning. I felt the book was well written, I enjoyed the characters, and fell in love with Judy through her journal. This book is not filled with supernatural creatures, at least not of a typical nature, but here is the question of the day; what do you get when you take a brutalized young girl with cognitive sensitivities and superior abilities of strength? The Black Stiletto."
—DENISE ZAKY, NetGalley
"The Black Stiletto is a mesmerizing tale. The fact that it's actually told from several different points of view--and that it goes back and forth between present and past--is an interesting (as well as effective) way to relay the story... Seeing how such an iconic (in the framework of the story) character comes into existence is absolutely fascinating, and reading the words of a teenager is an unexpected (but oh-so-appropriate) choice--certainly much more affecting than if the tale were written as the memoirs of an old woman. The writing in the journals consistently sounds like that of a young (and, early on, innocent and naive) girl, a tone which lends her tale—that of the creation of an alter ego more Catwoman than Wonder Woman—a genuine poignancy. From the early tragedies and hard times that shaped the determined young woman and tough avenger she would become, to her invincible good cheer and can-do attitude, you can?t help but root for Judy, and like her... Another element worthy of mention is the setting--notably that of 1950s New York. It just feels like author Benson must have surely gotten the details right, with the flavors, sights, and sounds of the city, as well as the overall look and tone of the era, and it was fun immersing myself in a time so foreign... The Black Stiletto is a cool blend of smooth mystery-suspense with some dark comic-book spice, and I enjoyed every bit of it."
—GLAM KITTY, TheLiterateKitty/blogspot, complete review here.
"Raymond Benson weaves an intriguing tale of the early life of a superhero. The Black Stiletto—aka Judy Cooper—is a very relatable character. Her innate humanness, despite her special abilities, is just one of the many likable qualities of Benson's leading lady. Judy is a superhero that is real, she suffers the bumps, bruises and black eyes that any normal person would get in a fight. There are no miracle cures for the Black Stiletto. Benson also very skilfully utilizes various points of view. He switches back and forth between first person and third person, but manages to do so effectively and in a clear-cut manner. The story is aided by Benson's talent as a writer of James Bond adventures as well. I believe that helps him weave the mystery and suspense throughout the story very well. The Black Stiletto never disappoints, it keeps the action moving and the story flowing... I recommend this book to any one who likes mystery or suspense books. If you are looking for a great escape read, this is the book for you."
—MOM READS MY BOOKS BLOG — complete review here.
"Serious adult novels about caped or costumed super hero crusaders never work--until now. Fans of action-adventure are going to love this... Benson brilliantly forms the story and masterfully turns it from a comic book, to an adult novel. He could have kept Judy as some reincarnation of Wonder Woman or Super Girl—a cartoon character. Instead, he makes her very real... The scenes, the descriptions of the city, the language, the music, the current events all make the story real and familiar. The action is perfectly paced, and the fight scenes, technically described, are at once fast and realistic but don't slow the story. The characters come alive in personality and motivation... The plot is simple, but beautifully crafted in the way that Benson fulfills it. The pace is excellent, filled with just the right amount of detail, personal revelations of the characters, and realism in action as well as background... Bravo, Raymond Benson."
—THE DIRTY LOWDOWN, BlogCritics.org
"The appeal in this series-opener lies in the transformation of Judy Cooper into 'an international icon of feminist strength and power' who assumes near-mythic proportions. Prolific crime-fiction writer Benson captures the style of a young woman's diary and moves with ease between time periods in this comic book-like novel of nonstop action. Prime escapism."
—BOOKLIST, Starred Review
"I LOVED this book, I never wanted to put it down, and I can't wait until the story continues. Even though the book was presented from a first person perspective there were three main characters; Judy, her son Martin, and her adversary Roberto. Many other authors have tried to write in a similar fashion and have fallen flat, but these characters all had such unique voices it felt like a seamless transition from one character to another. The book feels like a starting point for a series and so could easily have fallen into a trap of seemingly taking forever to get to any of the good stuff in this first book. However the story and character development were so rich it neatly bypassed that trap and completely hooked me from almost page one. It was like reading a gloriously fleshed out story of a comic book and I half expected to see POW! WHAM! on every page I turned. I'll be keeping an eye out for Mr. Benson's next works, especially the continuing adventures of The Black Stiletto."
"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."
—DR. WESLEY BRITTON, Bookpleasures.com — full review here.
The July 2011 issue of Library Journal calls THE BLACK STILETTO "a mashup of the work of Gloria Steinem, Ian Fleming, and Mario Puzo, all under the editorship of Stan Lee."
"Benson has created one of the most original heroines I've read in a long time. Adventure and suspense made this book a rollicking good read. But the story is about much more than simply the evolution and escapades of The Black Stiletto. It's about relationships and just how well we know—or not—even the people we love most."
—SANDRA BROWN, author of Lethal
"A thriller that brilliantly succeeds at that most difficult of authorial endeavors: blending the past and the present into a single compelling story. Filled with cutting-edge suspense, wry humor and heart-wrenching warmth, not to mention great period detail, Black Stiletto will grab you instantly and simply not let go until the final page—no, make that the final sentence."
—JEFFERY DEAVER, author of Carte Blanche
"Irresistible: Suppose you found out—just too late—that your
mother had been a superhero crimefighter. What would you do? Sit
back, take a deep breath, and let Raymond Benson tell you."
—LEE CHILD, author of the Reacher Thrillers
"A terrifically fun thrill-ride featuring an intrepid heroine you won't soon forget. I tore through it in one sitting!"
—TESS GERRITSEN, NYT-best-selling author of The Silent Girl
"It's action! It's adventure! It appeals to women—and to men! It's faster than a speeding bullet, and a truly terrific read. Don't miss it!"
—HEATHER GRAHAM, author of Phantom Evil
"The Black Stiletto is a wonderfully stylish (and addictively page-turning) return to the days of yesteryear. Full of action, full of suspense, and brimming with originality, this sleek and charming adventure will win your heart."
—HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN, Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity-winning author
"Judy is a fantastic character, and Benson absolutely nails the way women write in their diaries. I think this sort of strong woman (particularly one in a time period where we don't think of women having much independence) will be enormously appealing to female readers. The action is great, and Benson writes in a voice that's accessible and engaging."
—TASHA ALEXANDER, author of Dangerous to Know
"The Black Stiletto is a fun romp with a unique point of view."
—LISA BLACK, author of Trail of Blood
© Raymond Benson.