Monday, September 15, 2014

Pulp of the Week - Doc Savage 41

July 1936 - The Black Spot

The Black Spot starts while Pat Savage is attending a costume party with a mobster theme at the ritzy Vandersleeve estate in tony Westchester. The party is so high profile and the guest list so exclusive that a newsreel cameraman is present. When the host is killed, Pat and cameraman Red Mahoney are witnesses and get involved in a real gangster mystery.

The Black Spot is a New York centered tale of villainous intentions penned by Laurence Donovan. A killer has invented an vicious and most mysterious murder technique that leaves the victim dead with only a small black spot on their chest. The killings start out in the ritzi suburbs of the Westchester hills outside of Manhattan. The black spot killer quickly moves to Manhattan and continues to target the super-rich.

This is a much smaller-scale story than Donovan's previous effort, but ultimately far more satisfying. There is tension here, and Donovan writes the team well, with a satisfying, exciting finish. My favorite non-Dent Doc Adventure thus far.

The pulp cover is by Walter Baumhofer and the Bantam paperback cover is by Fred Pfeiffer. I'll give The Black Spot a 9 out of 10.

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