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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

"Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?"

At the library the other day, I found The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril by Paul Malmont. The jacket blurb mentioned Walter Gibson who wrote 282 of the 325 Shadow novels that were published between 1931 and 1949. When my husband and I were first married, a local radio station began re-broadcasting the radio series about The Shadow. I remember being enchanted with the idea of the series, so completely and hopelessly out-of-date. We would turn out the lights and listen to program in the dark. Completely hoaky...and I loved it.

So I put the novel in my book bag, eagerly anticipating a fun read. The first thing that caught my attention was not the Walter Gibson character, but the young writer Lafayette Ron Hubbard. Huh? Then names like H.P. Lovecraft, Fitzgerald, H.L. Mencken, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Dashiell Hammett, Houdini, Harry Blackstone, and the names of pulp fiction writers like Lester Dent (Doc Savage) and Robert E. Howard (Conan, the Barbarian). The novel begins in 1937, the year H.P. Lovecraft died and the year Hitler began the Anschluss. Whooo...this is getting interesting.

I go back and read the entire jacket blurb. Oh, this will be so much better than I expected!

What authors have been influenced by the pulp fiction writers of the 30's and 40's (most particularly by Lovecraft, who enjoyed no success in his lifetime)? Stephen King, Jeffery Deaver, Glen David Gold, John Carpenter, Clive Barker, Anne Rice...

"The Shadow knows."

Here is the cover and more info.

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