Death from the sky, two months in a row: Doc Savage in Cold Death and The South Pole Terror (#SFWApro)

6371215COLD DEATH is another contribution to the series by Laurence Donovan, and one of the strongest in a while. There’s some continuity touches (the mysterious ray which triggers spectacular explosions is a variation of the cold light from Ool’s home in Land of Always Night) and no shortage of action: Devastating explosions, Monk fighting his way out of a mechanical death trap and mid-air perils when planes get caught in the explosive blasts (which are vaguely explained as the result of the cold light triggering a response from Earth’s magnetic field). This makes for a much stronger entry than, for example, Donovan’s Seven Agate Devils, but the plot structure is a little lacking. We never really learn what the villain’s agenda is, only that he plans to Make Demands. Still, the sheer energy of the action scenes makes up for a lot (cover by James Bama, rights with current holder).

Curiously, Lester Dent’s SOUTH POLE TERROR also gives us a death threat from above, but the plot is considerably stronger. It opens with one of those distinctive Dent set piece, a yacht found off New York with everyone on board dead, apparently driven mad and horribly sunburned to boot. And when Doc receives a package bearing on the mystery, he x-rays it, the package explodes and Doc dies. No, seriously. I’m not kidding … okay, I’m kidding. But it does make for a heck of a kickoff.

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Doc and the team are soon embroiled in the mystery which involves the mysterious ray, some McGuffin at the South Pole and Velma Crale, a notorious “she-male” adventurer and publicity hound. No, she’s not trans, she’s just a woman who does guy stuff, something which doesn’t usually get a rebuke from Dent. But Crale is ambitious and not above double-crossing Doc to get a piece of the action, which is presumably why she gets scorn more than respect. Overall, this is the stronger of the two. (All rights to image with current holder; I don’t know the artist).

2 Comments

Filed under Doc Savage, Reading

2 responses to “Death from the sky, two months in a row: Doc Savage in Cold Death and The South Pole Terror (#SFWApro)

  1. Pingback: He Could Stop the World With His Magic Island: Doc Savage again (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Another ‘Other Doc Savage’ — Will Murray tries fiction | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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