The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril: A Novel by Paul Malmont
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A debut novel that casts the rivalry between two of pulp fiction's legendary writers...Walter Gibson (THE SHADOW) and Lester Dent (DOC SAVAGE)into an AMAZING STORY in its own right.
My own experience of the Pulps is limited to a collection of radio broadcasts of THE SHADOW from the 1930s and 1940s...on cassette tape. These tapes are rather fragile now (though I purchased them in the 1980s..i played them a lot) I still get a shiver when I hear that LAUGH..and the stories ain't half bad. I also recall seeing the Pulp Detective Magazines when I was a kid..the covers were a hoot...Scantily clad ladies a-languishing in "terror" whilst the square-jawed "dicks" let loose with their big "guns"...Jeesh ! Titillation sublime! And the stories were fun reading...
This story, as crafted by Mr Malmont has all the blood, cruelty, fear and vengeance of the old pulps..with a touch...just a touch...of Modern Day savvy. The courageous heroes, damsels in distress (with heaving bosoms and snappy repartee), evil villains, secret identities,are joined by global schemes, deadly superweapons (the Death Cloud of the title), and hideous deaths...which gives this tale a decidedly Modern twist (ouch!)..Full of outrageous lies that are all too true, this story also reminds one that these two fellows, Gibson and Dent, were writers working on deadline, even when they were facing the end of the world.
Where does real end and pulp begin? Maybe THE SHADOW is the only one to answer that. According to the end of this novel, he might just have more to say..another volume to add to his oeuvre....some day...
4 Stars (****)