I’d read two books for Galax Press, publishers of the fictional works of L. Ron Hubbard, in the past, so when they offered to send me a third to review, I jumped at the chance.
These books are marketed as from the Golden Age of storytelling. These stories are all from the 1930s and 40s, in the heyday of pulp fiction. The paper was pulpy, and the stories fantastic.
Dead Men Kill is about a string of murders seemingly perpetrated by zombies. Detective Terry Lane is on the case, and he’s struggling to solve the mystery before he becomes one of the victims. It’s just good old-fashioned story telling. We begin the tale in the middle of one of the crimes. No convoluted backstory, no excessive exposition; just in-your-face action. Det. Lane is the quintessential detective, gruff and smart. There’s a beautiful damsel, lots of witty one-liners, and plenty of flying bullets and fists. Mr. Hubbard even does a nice job with the bad guy reveal. I didn’t see it coming!
This particular gem came to me in two forms: a paperback book, and a pair of CDs, with a fully dramatized performance of the book. I used both. I read while at home, and picked up where I left off for the commute to work. The narrator has one of those movie trailer-guy voices, which I think really adds to the drama of the story.
While this story isn’t overly glossy, and I don’t think it’s ever meant to be, it is true to its time period. Phrases like, “I’m going to string you to the nearest telegraph pole.” and “My men just delivered the other mimeograph.” remind you that this is a story from a by-gone era.
Galaxy Press offers an expansive collection of books and audio which includes 153 stories from L. Ron Hubbard. They run the gamut from detective stories, to westerns, to fantasy and science fiction. Definitely worth the experience.
While I was given this book as payment for a review, please know that my thoughts are genuine.