Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I finished two books last week. The other was The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril by Paul Malmont. I thought I knew what to expect going into this book, and from the reviews and word of mouth I had high expectations. This book exceeded them on all fronts.

First, for some twisted reason, I love reading about writers. My favorite books by Isaac Asimov, of which I've probably read a hundred, are his autobiographies. Often my favorite part of anthologies and short story collections are the introductions giving you some of the story behind the story. I even love reading about writers in fiction. One of my favorite scenes in a P.G. Wodehouse novel goes something like: Aunt Dalia called. Though Nero Wolfe was about to have Archie call Inspector Cramer to bring everyone to his office so he could reveal the killer, I had to put the book down and go to her. (That's from memory and so no where near as good as the original). And don't even get me started on Philip José Farmer's fictional author period.

So, I knew going in the book was about Lester Dent and Walter Gibson, with L. Ron Hubbard and H.P. Lovecraft thrown in as well. But many other authors appear, including several science fiction writers (I won't say who as one of them is a surprise). So Paul did a wonderful job peopling the book. But where it really surprised me was the adventure itself. Just like in the pulps the book celebrates, the action builds and builds and keeps coming at you, one surprise after another. This is the part of the book that really went way beyond my expectations.

I'm definitely looking forward to reading his second book, Jack London in Paradise, and perhaps a sequel to Chinatown sometime down the road.

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