Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pulp of the Week - Doc Savage 30



August 1935 - Spook Hole

Spook Hole begins in New York with a one-armed man and a seafaring scalawag having a brutal encounter on the docks of Manhattan.

Those docks are an important setting for this adventure. One unique feature of this saga is the number of potential villains that are introduced quite quickly in this adventure.

There is the one-armed man, 
The thug with baseball bat sized bundle of wires wrapped in heavy tape,
The femme fatale, Nancy Law,
The brutal Captain Wapp,
The thug in pursuit, Oliver Orman Braski,
The mysterious Hezemiah Law,
The denizens of the Spook Hole,
And the traitorous sailor, Sass.

There are a number of unusual features of this novel. Pat Savage makes a brief but memorable appearance. In one scene, Doc's unconcious trilling gives him away. There is also an interesting aside about how a few years earlier there was a boom in small airports. "... airports mushroomed up with great frequency around New York, not a few of them be located in spots so unhandily located that only the enthusiastic promoters dreamed they would ever be useful in a practical way. The result is that at present many weed-grown flying fields are eyesores in the suburbs."

There are the usual fights, shootouts, disguises, and in the end the deep mystery of the Spook Hole itself.

For this review I read my battered Bantam copy that I bought at a library book sale many decades ago. The book was published in Sept 1972. The paperback cover is an iconic one by Fred Pfeiffer. Visit the Pfeiffer Pfiles blog for more information about this great painter. The pulp cover is by Walter Baumhofer. The interior illustrations are by Paul Orban and once again come from Chris Kalb's great Doc site.

I'll give Spook Hole a 7 out of 10. There is far too much mucking around back and forth in New York and not nearly enough of interest once they get to the Spook Hole.


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