Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Book: The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril by Phil Malmont

So what do Walter Gibson (author of The Shadow and Lester Dent (author of Doc Savage) have in common with HP Lovecraft and Joe Kavalier - other than the fact that they're all pulp writers (except the last one, who's a fictional pulp writer?) They all converge in The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril. A love letter to the genre of hardboiled detectives, superpowered heroes before they splashed into four-color, dames and damsels in distress, great escapes, and "lies," Chinatown Death Cloud Peril pairs Dent and Gibson - assisted by a rather undead HP Lovecraft - in a mystery-thriller where the stakes are none other than saving the world.

Malmont really did his research, and it shows. What could have ended up as a genre parody instead turns into an appropriate homage, and worth reading for the sheer pleasure and fun of it, just like the pulps themselves. It's rare that a writer sets out to accomplish something like this within a genre he or she so clearly loves, and Malmont delivers from the first page to the last. I normally don't rave about books without a little criticism, but there is very little to be had here. Check it out. Also, if you'll be in San Diego, it looks like Malmont is going to be on a panel called "The DaVinci Clones." Might want to drop in and say "hi" if you pick up the book and read it on the plane down (hint hint).

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