Tuesday, October 28, 2014

King's Mate


The Girl Factory #2: “King’s Mate” by Robert Franklin Murphy. Su Lin Kelly is asked to find a missing Russian biologist who appears to have been kidnapped upon arrival to the US. She discovers that he wasn’t kidnapped, instead disappeared on his own. He’s been invited to a chess tournament on the island of Caligua, where world champion chess players are gathering to play the ruler, Prince Komoroff. In each preliminary game against each other contestants who win collect one hundred thousand dollars until the last two standing faces off, and the final winner of the contest will win one million dollars. But Su Lin finds out those defeated players are summarily murdered, but everyone told they had left the island. Su Lin, Joe Zen and Mala are on the island and must rescue the Russian. Okay, this is the same plot as Bruce Lee’s “Enter The Dragon, but with chess instead of a karate tournament. Still it was a fun plot, and plenty of action, only disappointing in all the erotica and unnecessary sex that distracted from the plot. A shame, the books would have been better if played straight, but I guess the publisher was aiming at boys just entering puberty.  Cut twenty pages out, and you would really have a good book. As it is, it’s a fun read.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Assault On Ming


Cabot Cain #2: “Assault On Ming” by Alan Caillou (Alan Samuel Lyle-Smythe). Cain is hired by an ex mobster, now going straight, whose daughter has been addicted to heroin by one of his old partners in the business. Now his daughter is missing, and he wants Cain to find her before Ming kills her. All may not be as it first appears. Ming’s headquarters is in Macao, and he has a large Chinese organization controlling the drug and smuggling in the East. Thinking that the girl is after Ming for what he has done to her, Cain hires an American prostitute in Hong Kong to impersonate her, hoping to draw Ming out of hiding to capture the bait. The prostitute comes with her own bodyguard, a small Chinese martial arts expert named Mai. Things immediately go haywire, and the prostitute is captured before Cain can put his plans in effect, and he and Mai now have to rescue the prostitute, and still find the missing girl.  This was another topnotch story featuring Cabot Cain, a giant of a man in size, strength, and education. Although the author still hasn’t got his size straightened out. In issue #1, he went from 6’9” and 240 pounds one minute, to 6’7” and 210 pounds the next. In this novel, he’s 6’7” and 200 pounds. The actual description of thick legs, arms, chest, and shoulders sound more like the 240 that we first were told. But the stories are fantastic, and I hope we see more of Mai in future stories. She added some nice karate and judo action to this one.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Girl Factory

The Girl Factory #1: “The Girl Factory” by Robert Franklin Murphy. Su-Lin is quickly tossed into a strange case when one of her friends, an independent agent, is murdered. Leaving her two pictures of what at first appear to be the same girl, but turns out to be a cloning process; one is real, the other a clone. And now someone wants Su-Lin Kelly dead.

            The story starts out very similar to a Modesty Blaise adventure, but quickly turns into a Baroness adventure instead. There is lots of descriptive sex that has nothing to do with the story, and weakens the plot. She is as rich as Modesty and The Baroness, of course, but is supposed to be Chinese – or at least Eurasian. She has a Hawaiian maid, and two men, Zero and Joe Zen, also of Oriental background, I believe. Su-Lin was trained in the martial arts and the Kama Sutra in a Tibetan monastery, and equally expert in both. Yet, no one seems the least bit Asian. Marrying a rich spy, when he’s murdered she is left with money and his network of agents, and decides to follow in his footsteps. This was a fun read, and a good plot if you take out all the unnecessary sex and erotic scenes that distracts from the story.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

China Coaster


China Coaster by Don Smith. Captain Michael O’Connor has lived most of his life on the China coast, working on ships in some capacity, until becoming the captain of a ship owned by a Shanghai company. When the communists move into China, foreigners lose their standings unless they become Red. Mike finds himself without a ship, and out of a job. Then it gets complicated. A Russian agent believes he is an American spy and tries to kidnap him and take him to Russia, but he escapes. A White Russian girl hides him, and he cares a lot for her, but she is murdered by the Russian agent, and his only chance now is with the help of a Chinese gangster. Obtaining passage on a ship, he finds out too late that it’s rigged for a pirate take over. His suitcase contains weapons he wasn’t aware of, and when the pirates take control of the ship, he is forced to steer it to their coordinates. With other American and British on board, he must obey or the passengers could be killed. The pirates loot the boat of Red China gold, and take it ashore at Bias Bay, where it is then secreted away in care of the Chinese gangster. Now the book takes on the plot of “Lost Horizons”, as he is taken to a mountain valley ruled over by the pirates, and headed by Pao Chu, a 25-year-old beautiful American girl. She had been shipwrecked as a child, and a Mandarin (the Chinese gangster) had raised her as his daughter. They fall in love and he wants to take her to San Francisco, and leave China waters, but first he wants to kill the Russian agent who had murdered the girl in Shanghai. He goes after the Russian, and while away, the Chinese gangster dies, and chaos reigns in Chingfoo, the Shangri-la-like village. Returning for his love, Pao Chu, he finds one of the pirates in charge, holding her a prisoner. Now they must escape this paradise and make their way to Hong Kong and America, if they don’t get killed first. This was an action-packed novel, and predates the author’s more popular Secret Mission spy series. The story is copyright 1952, but my copy is dated 1953. A good plot, and a fun read.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saigon


Nick Carter #6: “Saigon” by Michael Avallone/Valerie Moolman.  Madame Claire La Forge, the widow of French intelligence agent La Petite Fleur, still cares for their plantation in North Vietnam, with her trusted bodyguard, Saito, a Japanese servant. When a French agent stumbles into her plantation, dying, he claims to have a hidden message for Intelligence, and she sends Saito to Saigon to contact the French Intelligence Service. Hawk is also notified, and with Nick Carter already in Vietnam disguised as a doctor with the World Health Organization, he is alerted to respond to the case. This was a topnotch Killmaster story. It appears there is some question about the authorship, however. Michael Avallone submitted “Saigon”, as the third story in the new series, but it was delayed until the sixth issue, with Valerie Moolman taking over the writing of the series from Avallone. “Run Spy, Run” was the first book in the series, and a good entry by Avallone, but his second story, “China Doll” was awful. I’m guessing that he was fired after “China Doll”, and “Saigon” was turned over to Valerie Moolman for rewrite. “Saigon” seems all hers, though she may have used Avallone’s original concept, but heavily rewrote the manuscript. Very little, if anything, seems to remain of Avallone’s writing in this one.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Invisibles


Mark Hood #13: “The Invisibles” by James Dark (James E. M MacDonnell). Mark Hood is sent to a small Caribbean island where he encounters voodoo and murder. Intertrust believes someone on the island may be building a nuclear bomb. What he finds is Shango, the power behind the island voodoo, and possessor of a heat-exchanger unit powered by nuclear fission. This machine can create hurricanes, and Shango wants to blackmail the world with his power. This is a nice entry, with some good karate to take care of the bad guys. A fun read over all.