Stone #2: “The Eurasian Virgins” by Jack Seward. An American heiress, who wants him to find her brother’s out-of-wedlock daughter, contacts Curt Stone. Gail Owen wasn’t aware of the child until her parents died. The girl, Rose Hasegawa, is now 16, and has been taken by a Japanese gang working the flesh market for young virgins. Stone puts his Far East Investigations to work on the case, and he personally looks for the girl. A good story, but the author tries to teach the reader the Japanese language and culture, often including the English interpretation after the Japanese dialogue, slowing the pace of the story drastically. This would be okay if the reader was learning Japanese, but isn’t a good idea for a fiction novel. Unfortunately, there is very little action in this novel. Published during the same period as Earl Norman’s Burns Bannion, it lacked the fun and karate action that Bannion brought the reader. Still, it is a good plot.
Friday, May 30, 2014
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Jungle She by Dan Cushman. Frisco Dougherty is back. This time the beautiful half-cast wife of a huge and powerful Dutchman named Van Hoog, who has escaped from his plantation, wants Dougherty to enter his Borneo estate and discover the secret of his fortune. But things go awry, as usual, and Dougherty becomes a prisoner of Van Hoog, and is betrayed by his Chinese connection, the Wash’eng. Cushman uses the same formula in all his jungle adventures, just changing a few names, and altering the plot. But his dialogue is some of the best I’ve ever read, and his characters come to life. Although the immensely strong Hoog (this character appears in every novel, just a different name) beats Dougherty several times in the story, the final fight scene on a rope bridge high above a jungle river is straight out of the Saturday Matinee serials. And in each novel, at some point, some one will be reading a pulp, or a comic book, or a paperback mystery novel. These jungle adventures by Cushman are a lot of fun.
Thursday, May 8, 2014
The Dragon’s Eye by Scott C.S. Stone. Michael Hawkins, a freelance reporter was tired of wars and death. Beginning in Korea, and then in Vietnam, after one of his friends, Jerry Ward, died when a soldier stepped on a land mine, Mike gave it all up. Moving to Hawaii, he was learning to surf when another friend turned up at his door. Leslie Trent, like Hawkins and Ward was a reporter in Asia, but now it appears he tuned spy. An Englishman who had gone over to communism wanted to defect from China, and asked to be brought to America, with his lovely Chinese wife. But he would only do so with the help of Hawkins, who he had met during the Korean peace talks in 1952. Against his better judgment, Hawkins agrees, and goes with Trent to Asia, where they have stops in Taipei, Hong Kong, and Bangkok. Their mission appears to be compromised from the very beginning, as the enemy agents seem to know their every move, and friendly agents die before they ever reach the Englishman and his wife. And once they do, it could well mean their own death. This was a very good story set in Asia, and the author must have known the area well, as he wrote of it with great detail of accuracy.