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

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Kill Me In Roppongi & Kill Me In 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.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Land of Precious Snow

“Land of Precious Snow” by Thaddeus Tuleja.  Young Jethro Dey and his father travel to Tibet in search of precious white gold, but they are attacked by bandits and all are killed. Jethro believes he is also dead, but after a few days lying in the frozen snow, a man appears almost as a vision, naked, but unaffected by the cold and ice. He tends to the young American for several months until he is strong enough to travel, then the old man leads him to a monastery many miles away. In the meantime, one of his friends has set out to find Jethro and his dad, hoping they are still alive. It is a long journey, and finally they meet at the monastery. But now Jethro is a new man, and wishes to remain, not for the gold, but for deeper understanding. He gives up his belief in Christian religion, and accepts Eastern beliefs. This was written in Victorian style, as indeed, it’s the era the story takes place. I’ve never been a fan of Victorian fiction, however. The author is a historian, and also wrote the K’ing Kung Fu series as Marshall Macao, another series I couldn’t get into. “Land of Precious Snow” was supposed to be the first in a new Green Lama series, with Jethro Dumont’s name changed to Jethro Dey. This novel, however, was merely how Jethro reached the monastery, and the writing was too academic to be of interest. There were supposed to be three more novels after this one, but none appeared. Probably due to the negative response the first story received. We never see him as The Green Lama, so the book was a waste. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Doorways To Danger

Doorways To Danger by Mark Napier. Sam Cape, an Australian officer is on leave from Pacific patrol duty, and picks Singapore because it’s a big place with lots to do. Plus, he’s a friend of the local police chief. After a night of hard drinking he wakes to find a nude blonde in his bathtub, strangled. How did she get there? Who killed her? Then a rich British gentleman and his daughter show up He wants him to find the murderer of his son. He’s on vacation, he tells them, but his friend in the police department was sure he would help them. It was just something that would interest him more than drinking and chasing women. This was a nice little mystery with plenty of women, Chinese Tong killers, and local crooks. My copy is the original hardback published in the UK in 1966. I can’t find out anything about the author, and I’m not sure this book was even published in the US, but it is a good story and well worth searching for.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Brannan's Run

Brannan’s Run by Stephen Cord. Joe Brannan, ex-pat now living in Thailand had served with 1st Battalion British Parachute Regiment, but now operates a dive boat in the sea around Pattaya, Thailand. When he learns about a sunken Khmer Rouge boat loaded with gems in Cambodia water, the promise of wealth is too good to pass up. But others want the treasure too, including Cambodian Navy/pirates and the Russians, and either is willing to kill for them. Then throw in a beautiful rich Russian woman with long legs and flaming red hair, and Joe just might take the chance after all. This was an exciting action adventure in the mold of those paperback originals of the 1950s, when tough men operated around the Java Sea and Asian Ports, looking for that one strike to make it rich, if they don’t get killed in the process. Then throw in some Muay Thai martial arts for fun. Except for the mature language, this would have fit easily into those early ARGOSY and ADVENTURE pulp magazines of a bygone era. We could use more of this genre today, reminiscent of the past when bold adventure created living legends of action heroes and dangerous dames. It’s also fun returning to the streets of Bangkok and the mysterious East, where beautiful women and death wait hand in hand for an unwary stranger. Highly recommended for the action and adventure lovers everywhere. OK