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

Sunday, October 7, 2018

No Shelter

Holly Lin is living two lives. To her friends and family, she's a pleasant, hardworking nanny. To her boss and colleagues, she's one of the best non-sanctioned government assassins in the world. 
But when a recent mission goes wrong causing one of her team members to die, she realizes she might no longer be cut out for the work — except the mission, as it turns out, is only half over, and to complete it will take her halfway across the world and bring her face to face with a ghost from her past. 
Things are about to get personal. And as Holly Lin's enemies are about to find out, she is not a nanny they want to piss off.


No Shelter (Spy/Assassin)
By Robert Swartwood
RMS Press
Price $15.00 (Paperback)
Price $      (Kindle)
338 Pages
Rating 4-Stars

In this first novel featuring Asian-American Holly Lin, we learn her background and that she works as an assassin for the government, her boss is Lieutenant-General (3 stars) Walter Hadden; she also is employed as his family’s nanny, which gives her total access to the general. She is the daughter of a Japanese mother and Chinese father. She had joined the Army after high school, and while overseas her friend was raped and beaten by a soldier. She took it on herself to get even when her friend committed suicide, and she was arrested for murder. General Walters got her out of jail and brought her to work for his assassin unit. This is a complicated plot in which her task originally was to retrieve a flash drive from an arms dealer and take him out. There was a party with prostitutes that night and she is brought in as one of them. After killing the arms dealer and his guards, she gets the flash drive and rescues one of the girls. The Mexican girl tells her there is a ranch holding thirty or more illegal Mexican girls slaves for prostitution, and she takes it on herself to rescue them. Naturally, this upsets a cartel and they want her dead. And so does terrorists who were after the flash drive that is now in the hands of the American government. People who are supposed to be dead show up very much alive, which complicates the plot – and her life – even more.

This is a good story with plenty of action, and Holly Lin takes a lot of beatings before it comes to an end. My one big complaint with the story concerns the character of Holly Lin. The author does everything right with her, but he fails making her a female Asian assassin, instead she comes across more as one of the boys. As good as this story is, I’m hoping the sequels bring out both her femininity and Asian background. There are male authors who write feminine leads quite well. For instance, Ian Hamilton’s Ava Lee; Thatcher Robinson’s Bai Jiang; The Black Stiletto by Raymond Benson; and K.W. Jeter’s Kim Oh. However, Holly Lin is highly recommended for its great plotting and action.

Tom Johnson

Author of THE MAN IN THE BLACK FEDORA

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
Author of THE MAN IN THE BLACK FEDORA


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
Spiderline
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

Author of THE MAN IN THE BLACK FEDORA