The Red Menace (The Shadow #4) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPresss & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Red Menace
Series: The Shadow #4
Authors: Maxwell Grant
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 176
Words: 53K



Synopsis:

From Thelivingshadow.fandom.com & me

The Shadow lives by darkness, gliding through the waiting night unseen, a mocking laugh his only calling card. None who have trafficked in crime will ever forget him. The may sneer at the law… but not at The Shadow. Each generation of evil breeds a newer, stronger root, and The Shadow’s latest adversary is no exception: The Red Menace. This brilliant, diabolical political assassin has decided to play both sides of the Revolution in order to steal the ultimate weapon… and invincible power. Time is running out if The Shadow is to stop this crimson-masked megalomaniac from making his insane dreams come true!

Harry Vincent is sent on a mission to watch over a scientist who is developing an areal torpedo that the commies want. The Red Menace sends his own minions as well. The Shadows saves Harry from drowning and takes down the minions but they have already given the torpedo plans to the Red Menace. Meanwhile, the Shadow is dealing with a Russian Prince who appears to be fighting for his life against the Red Menace and his cabal of secret masked commies. The Shadow uses the Prince’s loyal aide to kill the cabal with a bomb. Then the Shadow makes a transatlantic flight, tracks down the Red Menace on a train in Europe and unmasks him, as the Russian Prince! The Shadow steals the torpedo plans back and lets the Prince live to face the torture in store for him for his failure by his commie masters.

My Thoughts:

Boo yah! Damned commies. Getting shot and blown up and scheming. They were perfect in this story and I loved it.

The Red Menace was a great copycat of the Shadow and emulated some of his best traits. In many ways he reminded me of Schwartzvold from Big O (the anime) and how he imitated Roger Smith and Big O with his Big Duo. Subtly different, bad and just not quite good enough. It’s exactly what you want in a badguy who you know is going to be defeated. The Red Menace follows this formula perfectly and it suited him to a T.

I still wonder why the Shadow bothered rescuing Harry Vincent in the first book, or bothers continuing to use him. Harry is brash and has enough common sense to fill a thimble (and no more) and needs continual rescuing. In fact, I’d say his role in this series is more akin to the Lady in Distress (Nell Fenwick from the Dudley Do-Right cartoons) than as an actual aid to the Shadow.

Nell Fenwick, aka, Harry Vincent

I really thought about giving this a halfstar bump up just for how many commies get kaboomed, but that’s a small enough personal pleasure that I didn’t feel quite right about it.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Shadow Laughs (The Shadow #3) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPresss & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Shadow Laughs
Series: The Shadow #3
Authors: Maxwell Grant
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 156
Words: 47K



Synopsis:

A duel with Evil

When an innocent man is murdered under strange circumstances and a crack police detective is lured to his death, The Shadow sees the signs of a vicious plot. He uncovers a ruthless gang of counterfeiters, led by the most powerful and diabolical man in New York’s underworld.

Harry Vincent is sent in to investigate, the Shadow gets shot and eventually Eeeeeeevil is brought to justice.

My Thoughts:

Yeah, I liked this. I liked the brevity of the story. But it didn’t feel short. It felt just right. Thrills and chills and action and guns, bad bad guys, doofus good guy minions and a brilliant leader. It’s kind of a mix and match hodgepodge of elements that will work together no matter what order you put them in.

These are reminding me of Louis L’amour and his westerns (these obviously came first but I didn’t read them first). And if you look at the numbers, you can see that this write by numbers approach can work and work well. Lamour was writing his stories up until he died and Grant churned out over 300 stories about the Shadow. It’s pulp and it’s good.

It’s not going to work for everyone but if you’ve felt the need of a good old fashioned action story without a moral message telling you what you should be thinking/doing, then at least give the Shadow stories a try. If you don’t like the first couple, then it’ll be a safe bet the Shadow isn’t for you and you’ll know it. But you won’t know unless you try.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Eyes of the Shadow (The Shadow #2) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPresss & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Eyes of the Shadow
Series: The Shadow #2
Authors: Maxwell Grant
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 171
Words: 51.5K



Synopsis:

From Thelivingshadow.fandom.com & me

MARKED TO DIE

Six prominent men were expecting a share in a glittering fortune. But, one by one, they were being brutally murdered. Until the Shadow discovered the plan—a plan so fiendish that only the twisted mind of a monster could have conceived it. The Shadow assumes the identity of Lamont Cranston to investigate the serial murders and stalwart Harry Vincent gets to play camper and act as bait. Justice is committed, Shadowstyle!

My Thoughts:

Another enjoyable entry in the Shadow series. I’ve got a bunch of omnibuses (omnibie?) of Shadow stories that come in sets of 5, so I’m guessing I’ll read a quintet each rotation and then take a couple of months off before adding another quintet back in. I can see myself easily burning out on these and I’d really rather take a few extra steps to prevent that as I am enjoying them.

These are beyond a shadow (ha, aren’t I clever?) of a doubt “pulp”. So if you know you don’t like pulp stories, then you can safely assume The Shadow isn’t going to work for you. If you know that you DO like pulp, you can’t automagically assume this will work for you, because this is as different from Conan or John Carter as you can get and yet both of those are pulp too. But chances are still better than even. If you like pulp and you like the 1920’s era and double pistols are your thing, then I’d say it’s a match made in heaven.

The Shadow has some sort of power to blend into “shadows” but it isn’t speculated upon or dwelt upon at all. Is it supernatural, is it a mutant power or is it just him being really, really, really good at hiding and disguises? Personally, my vote is that he drank a shot of bad russian vodka and it gave him superpowers. The other thing is that Lamont Cranston, a rich playboy that Bruce Wayne was modeled on, appears to be the Shadow’s alter-ego. But I’ve read enough stuff by Riders of Skaith to know that even that simple deduction isn’t so simple and weirdness is going to abound there too. Basically, I don’t try to figure anything out.

Bad guys do bad things. The Shadow investigates one way or another, his agents (his “eyes”) act on his behalf and there’s a lot of weird laughing going on in the shadows. Oh yeah, and the badguys get what’s coming to them. Or their henchmen do anyway. A really good badguy manages to get away.

I’ve been looking at various covers and man, this one rocks! I couldn’t find a really big version of it, but this was as big as I could find. Two-pistol’ing it baby!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Living Shadow ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Living Shadow
Series: The Shadow #1
Authors: Maxwell Grant
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 224
Words: 67K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia

Harry Vincent, saved from suicide by The Shadow, is recruited to watch Scanlon, courier for Wang Foo, the Chinatown mastermind. Cronin murders Scanlon, but fails to find the metal Chinese disk Scanlon uses as an identifier. Vincent finds the disk, poses as the courier, is exposed, captured, tortured, and saved by The Shadow. Millionaire Geoffrey Laidlow is killed for his hidden jewels; the rest of the story involves searching for Laidlow’s killer, and the killer searching for the jewels, to be fenced with the Chinatown mastermind. In the end, the criminal mastermind’s lawyer Ezekiel Bingham, is free and unpunished. Diamond Bert Farwell, exposed as Wang Foo, goes to jail.

My Thoughts:

Riders of Skaith started reviewing the The Shadow books last year. I’m glad I jumped on the bandwagon as I rather enjoyed this novel. But everything Riders says about Harry Vincent is totally true, sigh.

Rating: 3 out of 5.