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.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Roppongi & Atami For Trade

Kill Me In Roppongi & Kill Me In Atami

Burns Bannion #9: “Kill Me In Roppongi” by Earl Norman (Norman Thompson). In this final novel of the “Kill Me In …” series, Hedges sends ex-Stars & Stripes newspaperman, Addis Racquets to him for help. Racquets now runs his own small paper, and has received a death threat along with an ad. He hires Bannion to answer the ad, and find out what’s going on. Although Inspector Izawa and Hedges are mentioned, they have no active part in this story. It involves the IOON (International Order of Nationalists) Nazi organization. They are running an illegal abortion scheme in Japan, bringing women from all over the world that need an abortion, then blackmailing them to work as their sex spies. Unfortunately, this was the final Burns Bannion novel. Not a great series, but definitely a fun one with sex and karate as the main theme. The series was published by Berkley in the U.S., but distribution in the Far East must have been poor, so Norman Thompson, who had contacts with the military and Stars & Stripes, had the series printed by a Japanese publisher under his ERLE BOOKS Logo. This enabled him to get his books on the racks in the PX system of military bases, where millions of G.I.s became familiar with them. I don’t know if Berkley was aware of this double-dealing or not. Sadly, the ERLE Editions seem to have been printed without editing or proofing, so there are many typos in them. If readers have a choice, buy the American editions published by Berkley instead. Actually, I’m not sure if Berkley even published the last two stories or not.  This one is only 49k, kind of short for a paperback. I have a pdf of this one for trade.

Burns Bannion #6: “Kill Me In Atami” by Earl Norman (Norman Thompson). This one could have been a Bud & Lou comedy film. Bannion is hired by a wealthy widow, Mrs. Hikonami. She wants a renter removed from her estate. Legal action would take years, but she wants Bannion to see that he leaves early, even if it means a karate chop to back of the neck. But there’s more to the case, as he soon finds out. The widow’s husband was murdered by a karate blow to the back of the head, forcing the head into a sharp instrument, but everybody says it was a suicide. En route to the estate, Bannion picks up a ‘wooley booger’ girl (read the book to find out) who loves sex, but someone hangs him and pins a suicide note on his chest. Arriving at the mansion, he finds the widow’s sister, Fujiwara, and Mrs. Hikonami’s daughter, Asako.  The three women are exact images of each other. Over the next three nights, the power goes off, and one of them enters his room to seduce him, but he never knows which one. Except that it isn’t the 300-pound maid, who also knows karate. There are hidden passages behind a bookcase, tunnels beneath the mansion, and monsters lurking about the tunnels and an abandoned sanitarium nearby. More supposed suicides happen, men hanging in the tunnel, and Bannion’s wooley booger girl inside the sanitarium. This is one of my favorites in the series. Thought Hedges is mentioned, he isn’t in this story. Inspector Ezawa introduces Bannion to Mrs. Hikonami, and then we don’t see him any more. Oddly, this is the only Burns Bannion novel not reprinted in the ERLE Edition in Japan. It’s only available in the American Berkley 1962 printing. I might add at this point that the Berkley editions were well edited, while the Japanese ERLE editions were not. This Berkley edition paperback is for trade.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Throne of Satan

Mark Hood #7: “Throne of Satan” by James Dark (James E. MacDonnell). The story starts off as a case has come to a close. Mark Hood and Tommy Tremayne have stopped Borja, a scientists, from stockpiling nuclear bomb material on an island. Hood transfers the material to a waiting ship while Tremayne remains with Bprja on another boat. Borja escapes and captures Tommy, then a submarine appears and picks them up, and they are taken to a volcanic island called Dominica. Hood soon finds a planted clue and heads for the island with Murimoto, his Japanese karate trainer. They are captured and taken before the giant Dominat; a man standing at least seven feet tall, with the build and strength of Hercules, and the genius of Einstein. Dominat has created scientific gadgets and machines that make him a literal superman, plus he has a huge missile in the volcano aimed at America. It’s evident that he wants to take over the world. This was one of the best of the Mark Hood stories, and it was good to see Murimoto in action instead of Hood this time. Unfortunately, several of the Mark Hood stories have dealt with the same plot, just a variance of each.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Assignment Tokyo

Mark Hood: #4 “Assignment Tokyo” by James Dark (James E. MacDonnell) was a little slow, but a good story. There is one sex scene, but it isn’t descriptive and not as hardcore as most Aggressor novels. Odd, he enters the karate tournament in Tokyo as a cover, and his opponent is the Japanese champion, and they fight for two hours before Hood is beaten. But then throughout the book everyone he meets is tougher than him.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mindanao Pearl

Mindanao Pearl By Alan Caillou. David Calib’s father sends him after a thief named Smith that stole from his San Francisco company. Reports put Smith somewhere in the Pacific islands around Mindanao. David is to locate Smith and turn him over to the police in Manila; a simple task, though David isn’t used to roughing it. A few years in the Army, but he was more accustomed to the finer things in life. Things are not as easy, as his father let on. Arriving in Mindanao, he’s mistaken for Smith’s cohort, a man after pearls Smith stole from the Ordue brother on a plantation on the island of Pangalau. The brothers capture and torture him, but their sister, Andree, helps him escape. They head for the volcanic island where Smith is thought to be hiding out, with the brothers in hot pursuit. Gaston Ordue is a giant of a man with incredible strength, and has beaten men to death before, and Andree is afraid he will kill David if she doesn’t help him. There was a lot of similarity in this story and stories by Dan Cushman, but where Cushman is strong on dialog, Caillou is strong on description. Regardless, the story is a fun read.