Being a lover of pulp fiction what could be better than a pulpy adventure involving the authors of some of the best known titles? Walter Gibson (aka Maxwell Grant - The Shadow) and Lester Dent (aka Kenneth Robeson - Doc Savage) find themselves ensnared in a mystery involving the death of H.P. Lovecraft, poison gas and Chinese warriors.
There is a wonderful rivalry between these two giants of pulp fiction which walks the line between fiction and fact and is used very cleverly to have them confront the peril from opposite ends.
Malmont did a fine job of including other up-and-coming luminaries of genre fiction of the time (1930's) into the story. He also managed to include and make very important to the story, Lester Dent's wife and Walter Gibson's love. Both these ladies played critical roles in pushing the story further.
Once you read this you'll want to dig up as many Doc Savage and Shadow books you can get your hands on.
It took a little while for the story to get going (a function of today's fiction market expecting books of a certain length) which I had to struggle through. The book was divided into five "Issues" that were roughly the length of the magazines of the day, this was a nice nod to that era's fiction. It would have been nice if each of these issues would have had stronger cliff-hanger endings but that is a very minor criticism of the work.
I could feel the respect, depth of knowledge and love of the pulps that Malmont brought to this first novel. Which was confirmed in his tender epilogue.
Yup. I'm a fan.
Visit Paul Malmont's web page HERE