Earl Norman

The Earl Norman books are becoming extremely rare, and publishers don’t seem to be interested in reprinting the series. The only way some of us may ever have all the stories is for collectors to scan and type the stories into PDF to swap with other collectors. I have already completed PDFs of HANG ME IN HONG KONG and KILL ME IN ROPPONGI. I am working on KILL ME IN YOKOSUKA. If other collectors would do the same for some of the other books, we could eventually have PDFs of all ten books. Why not help? I can be contacted at fadingshadows40@gmail.com

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Ming Inheritance

The Ming Inheritance (Murder Mystery)
By T. Hunt Locke
Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN #978-1482680638
358 Pages
Price $12.99 (paperback)
Price $3.99 (Kindle)
Rating 3-Stars

Sam Collins, a former Boston City police detective, is happily retired in Chiang Mai, Thailand when his world is turned upside down. Innocently helping a friend track down a colleague Sam suddenly finds himself entangled in a mystery over 600 hundred years old. From the picturesque mountains of Mae Hong Song to the seedy go-go bars of Pattaya, Sam is lured into a race against time and history

When a drug lord murders Detective Collins’ family, Sam Collins kills him vigilante-style, and is forced to retire from the Boston Police Department where he worked undercover to stop drug trafficking. Instead of retiring to Florida, where 99% of these retired police detectives seem to go, Sam goes to Thailand, and that caught my interest in the story, as I was tired of all the retired detectives in Florida and wanted to see if Thailand would work out. New York city attorney, Jon Brochstein also retires and moves to Thailand where he opens a private detective agency. He and Sam Collins are old friends. One of Jon’s local detectives is missing and Jon asks Sam to look into the case. Oddly there seems to be a buried treasure involved and people are being killed to protect the secret.

The novel is well written, but could have used an editor. The author turns this little mystery into a travelogue and history lesson of Thailand, which made me want to go back to the Florida detectives. I’m not sure how old Collins is supposed to be, but remember he’s retired from the Boston Police Department, plus he goes through several colleges for diplomas, so I’m thinking he’s no youngster; yet his description and actions make him sound young and vibrant. Big, tough, and handsome of course: all the girls want to make love to him. So there is lots of descriptive sex added to the story, giving even less space for the mystery. Plus his desire for messages throws the mystery even more into the background. Another point that upset me the author gives special names to the villains. The villains are Wayne Travers and William Attenborn; their special names are Tun Perak and Iskandar. So now we have to remember who’s who when these four names pop up. If that wasn’t bad enough we have Professor Jiriporn Chaisaen who is given the name of Ajarn Lak. Personally, I wasn’t impressed with this first Sam Collins mystery set in Thailand. I’m hoping the sequels are better. However, if you want to learn about Thailand and it’s ancient history, then I highly recommend this as a travelogue and history of the country, with a little murder on the side.

Tom Johnson

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Garonsky Missile

Colonel Tobin’s Private Army #7: “The Garonsky Missile” by Alan Caillou. Colonel Matt Tobin was killed in battle during the last private war, and what’s left of the private army has drifted away. Major Paul Tobin, the colonel’s son, is living in California when an airline stewardess comes to his farm with news that Clara Abbyad, an Israeli female agent he worked with once, is in Cambodia en route to meet up with General Quong Trek, a ruthless military leader that kills and tortures people he doesn’t trust, or who don’t please him. Paul, afraid for her life, calls in Pamela George to find some of his men for a rescue mission. Soon he leads a handful of men, including a couple new soldiers, into Cambodia to find and rescue the girl. The final plot is weak, and though the do rescue the girl and kill the general, there isn’t much else accomplished. Besides Clara and Pamela, Paul Tobin, Rick Meyers and Cass Fragonard are all that’s left of the old crew. Two new men are brought in, Seth Karem and a pilot named Bob Fellowes. It was time the series came to an end.

Monday, March 26, 2018

PDF Copies

I’ve now got Earl Norman’s HANG ME IN HONG KONG, KILL ME IN YOKOSUKA, and KILL ME IN ROPPONGI in PDF format. It’s up to others to put the rest in PDF for the rest of us.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Imam of Tawi-Tawi

The Imam of Tawi-Tawi (International Intrigue)
By Ian Hamilton
ISBN #978-1487002749
Price $10.97 (Paperback)
Price $9.99 (Kindle)
400 Pages
Rating 4-Stars

Uncle Chang Wang calls Ava asking for a favor. A business he and Tommy Ordonez are in with Senator Ramirez in the Philippines are having trouble in Tawi-Tawi, an area heavy populated with Muslims, and the senator feels the Zagat college is training young men for terrorism. The senator connects Ava with a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who will work with her in uncovering the truth. But now that she is no longer in the old business, she no longer has all of her old contacts to access banks. She’s forced to recruit a CIA agent to help here, and this brings American power down on her. She must see the situation through to the end, no matter what the outcome, and her life might even be at stake

I pre-ordered this book, as the synopsis led me to think this would an action-packed adventure with Ava Lee and a CIA agent against a terrorist organization. The writing was still smooth, and the characters interesting, and Ava was very proficient, but I was disappointed in the lack of action. And the Muslims all turned out to be good guys, while the Americans were evil. There is a really big twist at the end, which was nice, but not very logical. The book is called the Triad Years, but this does not include the Triads, though Ava does talk to Xu on the telephone once, so it’s hardly a Triad novel. This is basically Ava Lee and the CIA. Personally, I hope the author brings in more action, if he wants to keep readers following the Ava Lee sagas. She is better than this book shows, in my opinion.

Tom Johnson


Wednesday, January 17, 2018


“Concubine” by Elsie Dean: Part of a double novel from Universal Publishing in 1953. The second novel, “Savage Mistress” by Jon Hartt, I haven’t read yet. The title is a bit misleading, as this is not the story of a concubine but a play on Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet”. Little Flower, of the House of Chiang is left without a family and taken to live in the House of Wong. The old Wong has a mistress named Morning Glow, but she’s becoming too old, and tells Little Flower she must escape before Wong calls her to his bedchamber. She tells her about an American missionary in town that will help you people, and then devises a plan for her to escape.
         Little Flower escaped and the missionaries take her in. Tom and Celcilia give her a room, but Celilia does not approve of her, while Tom helps does. Staying with them is their young nephew, Almose, who they want to study and become a missionary also. But young Almose has other plans; he wants to be an artist. When Almose and Little Flower meet they are instantly attracted to each other, and eventually become lovers. Almose has married her before God through a painting, but telling her he must leave shortly for school, but will come for her once he becomes a master artist and created his masterpiece.
         After he leaves, Little Flower discovers she is pregnant. The story now takes on the harsh reality of betrayal and heartbreak. Tom & Cecilia take Little Flower and her daughter to America where the young daughter, Mara (named after the Virgin Mary), has artistic talent like her father. Little Flower learns that Almose has married another artist and will never return to her. Lee Yuen, who had met her on the boat to America, knows the ways of Americans, and their hatred of non-whites, and tells her that she will eventually need his help. The time comes when her only ally, Tom, dies of cancer, and Cecilia moves in with her sister, and there is no place for Little Flower and her daughter.
         She goes to Lee Yuen, and he treats her good. She does not have to share his bed, but keeps house for him, and he promises to wait till she loves him. However, Mara grows cold against Little Flower for the trouble her mother has caused her. It has not been easy for Mara being a half-caste. After graduating high school Mara leaves for New York and art school.
Now the story comes full circle, as Mara meets her father, and Little Flower discovers that Lee Yuen is running the largest drug cartel in San Francisco, and she is little more than a prisoner in the house as Lee Yuen’s madness is now apparent, and she learns the truth behind the disappearance of Almose, and who was behind it from the very beginning.

This was a sad story of two young people torn apart by the madness of someone else, and their love destroyed for evil purposes, but the ending is heart-warming, and touches the heart. It is really nothing like I thought it would be, and yet much better than advertised.