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

Friday, July 25, 2014

Twelve Hours To Destiny

Steve Carradine #4: “Twelve Hours To Destiny” by Manning K. Robertson. Working for British Intelligence, Steve Carradine is sent to Hong Kong to find why their agent there has disappeared. His job is to find him, and discover the secret he held of a new super weapon in Chinese hands. In Hong Kong, Carradine discovered a double agent, then is contacted by the missing agents niece. Her uncle has been taken to the mainland, where he’ll be tortured for what he knows about China’s secret weapon. The girl is part of a Chinese acrobat troupe, and they have free movement in China. She smuggles Carradine into China, then her troupe helps him rescue her uncle from a guarded facility. The troupe hate the communists, and have been fighting them on their own, using their acrobat show as a camouflage. After rescuing her uncle, however, Carradine discovers they only have twelve hours before the new weapon will be tested, and they must again travel into deeper country, and enter a well-guarded compound to destroy the facility and weapon. This is a really nice plot, with good action. Everything seemed to go like clockwork, however, and if it hadn’t been for the troupe of Chinese acrobats, it’s doubtful one man could have pulled everything off. Personally, I thought Steve Carrigan out-Bond Britain leading spy, James Bond.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Chinese Pleasure Girl

Curt Stone #4: “The Chinese Pleasure Girl” by Jack Seward. Curt Stone’s Far East Investigations is hired by an ex American CIC agent to find out who is trying to sabotage his bars in Yokosuka. A pretty good plot, with a nice bit of action, and we see a lot of Yokusuka. It’s a fun read, but we still have the main problems with this author. He’s trying to teach us the Japanese language in a fiction novel. We get dialogue in Japanese and repeated in English, which distracts from the flow of the story; plus, just when something is about to happen, he gives us a page or two of documentary on some aspect of Japan, its history, or a subject he wants us to know about Japan. By the time we get back to the scene of action we’ve forgotten what was happening. It slows the pace of the story drastically. It’s a good series, and the interaction between the main characters is fun., I’m just not interested in learning the language, and I can look up whatever information I need on Japan. The author would have been better off sticking to the action.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Kingdom of Johnny Cool

The Kingdom of Johnny Cool by John McPartland.  Mafia Grand Master, Giovanetti “Johnny Cool” Colini, retired and living in Italy, wants even more power from the mob in America. Capturing the bandit, Guiliano, known as the King of the Hills, he trains the killer for two years, teaching him everything he needed to know about the Mafia organization in America, telling Guiliano he will be his son, and inherit his power and wealth after killing certain men, and taking control of the mob in America. Taking the name of Johnny Cool, Guiliano sets up his plans upon reaching America. I read this when it was first released in 1959, then saw the movie version in the early 1960s, starring Elizabeth Montgomery and Henry Silva. Both were great. McPartland wrote novels featuring tough men, like Tokyo Doll and Affair In Tokyo. Johnny Cool is also a tough man. Guiliano had been a killer bandit in the Italian hills, and he brings his fierce code to America to wrest control of the Mafia leadership. The ending is brutal, as McPartland often makes his stories. The movie was kept close to the paperback story, as well as I remember it.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Hong Kong Incident

Mark Hood: #3 “Hong Kong Incident” by James Dark (James E. MacDonnell). Karate spy Mark Hood is in Hong Kong, supposedly for a Grand Prix race, but it’s merely a cover to assist a Chinese scientist to defect. As a hurricane bears down on Hong Kong, the enemy is also after the defector, and the story runs nonstop from the first page.

There is really no plot, and no super villain – except maybe the hurricane. The defector is killed immediately, before telling Hood some terrible secret, and there is a bar incident and prostitutes, then a battle ship chasing a submarine. The whole story takes place in a 24-hour period. No sex this time around, and very little to do with karate, except to wonder what his master would do in certain situations. This was an easy read and fast-paced at 60,000 words, but not very exciting.