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Title: The Red Menace
Series: The Shadow #4
Authors: Maxwell Grant
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
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.
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.
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.