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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Douglas' LiveJournal:

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Friday, June 2nd, 2006
10:34 am
The Derelict of Skull Shoal (#133)
March 1944

Characters: 4
Bad guy: 4
Aging(readable today): 4
Complexity: 5
Plot: 4
Tech Cool level: 0
Overall: 4
Dates read: 03Nov05-05Nov05

Settings: Atlantic Ocean

New Gadgets: None


Ok, this one was weird.

Doc Savage is Bill Doyle? Doc gasps in surprise instead of trilling? He is in worse condition then probably any time previously. In fact, he's practically an invalid throughout most of the book. This is a definite Frank Miller style story.

Renny, Monk, and Ham are here. Monk gives Doc smack talk about his habit of pretending not to hear questions he doesn't want to answer.

Dent had to be trying to see what he could get away with on the theory that the change would get people talking about how odd a book it was. I wonder if it worked? Anyone ever seen any blogs from 1944 on the subject?

The book is a bit of Sargasso Ogre and a bit of the Golden Man. A bit of an odd duck most of all.
Tuesday, May 30th, 2006
9:39 am
Death Had Yellow Eyes (#132)
February 1944

Characters: 7
Bad guy: 4
Aging(readable today): 4
Complexity: 7
Plot: 6
Tech Cool level: 1
Overall: 6
Dates read: 02Nov05-03Nov05

Settings: New York, flight over Atlantic Ocean, Spain, flight over Europe, countryside near Oltenita Roumenia

New Gadgets: Collapsible cellophane airtight hoods, tear gas squirting camera


Monk, Ham, and Johnny are in the book. Pat gets arrested off camera and never appears, much to Doc's relief. Ham has an ancestor, Colonel Blackstone Brooks, who was a poor, pretentious, lady chaser. So we know where 2/3rds of his genetic material came from.

We have another rare instance of Doc surprising a crook in hand to hand combat and still having difficulty subduing the victim. Doc also keeps a crook's gun that he finds interesting. That seemed out of character. Not being able to think of a place to go to hide out from the cops also seemed misplaced. You think he'd be well prepared for that by now. Telling Monk and Ham to tone down their bickering though, I can buy.

Doris Day is in this book. Aha! She changed her name in the late 40's a few years after this story ( http://tinyurl.com/py6w8 ). Interesting.

A man threatens Doc with death. This time Doc doesn't miss a beat when returning the challenge. Like the Black Black Witch, Doc gets behind enemy lines. Unlike the Black Black Witch, it happens towards the end of the story.

There are some reasonably well thought out and more complicated plot threads than usual. The bad guy is less of a central point in this book, but the overall effect isn't too bad.
Sunday, May 21st, 2006
10:16 am
According to Plan of a One-Eyed Mystic (#131)
January 1944

Characters: 7
Bad guy: 7
Aging(readable today): 5
Complexity: 6
Plot: 5
Tech Cool level: 1
Overall: 5
Dates read: 31Oct05-02Nov05

Settings: La Guardia New York, flight to Kansas City, Kansas City Missouri, flight to Southwest and back, flight to Kansas City, airport in Northwestern Missouri, Kansas City Missouri, Kansas state line, flight to Labrador, Labrador, boat trip, hidden coastal camp

New Gadgets: Convex surveillance mirror with rubber vacuum cup

Zoot suits, clang-slang, swingers (the 20's kind, not today's type). This is odd stuff to see in a Doc Savage book. I'm surprised it hasn't been used before, even if it would be a bit dated.

Renny features prominently in this book, though Monk and Ham are also evident.

Doc uses an amusing technique to get rid of gawkers in Chapter VI.

The federal government refuses to help Doc, even though he isn't a wanted man this time. This is a first.

Then the federal government sends help.

You may need a score card.

A logically tucked away sub-lieutenant crook was given to us via clues that weren't as obvious as usual, but were available.

In a way, the book reminds me of the type of Doc Davis likes to write, but with the extra bit of care that Dent uses.
Tuesday, May 16th, 2006
9:02 am
The Spook of Grandpa Eben (#130)
December 1943

Characters: 7
Bad guy: 6
Aging(readable today): 4
Complexity: 4
Plot: 6
Tech Cool level: 1
Overall: 5
Dates read: 29Oct05

Settings: unnamed town, countryside, unnamed town, Mountain Lake

New Gadgets: New skin dye that itches when exposed to soap


Once again, Ham's name is now due to a hatred of pork, as revealed in Secret of Su. Boring. Monk and Ham confuse, surprise, and disgust Doc early.

Taken out of context…

"That's right," said Ham. "Just looking at Monk's odious face arouses me."

(Monk) "And vice versa."

Doc does undercover work to investigate…the productivity of a business he owns. Hurr?

An interesting and different beginning. Doc even manages to get out a mildly snarky joke during battle.

We only see the two aids and their pets, but an interesting bit of misdirection is used in the reveal of the mastermind. Not a terrible book.
Saturday, May 13th, 2006
9:10 am
The Secret of the Su (#129)
November 1943

Characters: 4
Bad guy: 4
Aging(readable today): 5
Complexity: 3
Plot: 3
Tech Cool level: 6
Overall: 3
Dates read: 26Oct05-29Oct05

Settings: Logantown Georgia, Long Island, New York, flight to Caribbean, Cuba, Florida Bay, Everglades, Lower Macumba Key, Everglades

New Gadgets: 3-part radioactive chemical "bumblebee" trackable bullet, shortwave radio tracker for "bumblebee", hair dye that won't dye skin, rubber mouthpieces, black soot chemical combo, anti-soot lens chemical


A person in trouble, realizing he could be caught on the way to seeking out Doc's help, alertly goes to Pat Savage instead. Good call.

Johnny reveals that Santa is a fake. Useless info #7492.

Ham's name now comes from a plain old hatred of pork. Nice retcon.

...All 5 and Pat no pets...

Hmm, a lost race book actually based on real world evidence. That's interesting.

Sadly, very little else is. The most interesting part of the book to me was the historical notes on the Seminole Indians, which is pretty sad for an adventure tale.
Wednesday, May 10th, 2006
9:51 am
The Goblins (#128)
October 1943

Characters: 8
Bad guy: 5
Aging(readable today): 4
Complexity: 3
Plot: 5
Tech Cool level: 2
Overall: 4
Dates read: 26Oct05

Settings: Sandersonville Idaho

New Gadgets: Combo gas tank additives that create trail if two cars use the same route, footfall microphone attachment to radio combo gadget


Doc considers his distinctive looks to be an unfortunate detriment to his profession and learned his art of silent movement from fierce African warriors. In the story, he breaks out of the pokey and kidnaps a sheriff. Who'd want one?

Old west towns are cool. I'm surprised we haven't seen more of them in Doc novels.

Monk has to restrain an uncharacteristically distraught Ham. No one else but their pets is along this time around.

There's some oddly satisfying character interaction toward the end of the book. However, the low page counts are really beginning to hurt the action sequences. There's just not enough space for much adventure left.
Sunday, May 7th, 2006
10:58 am
Hell Below (#127)
September 1943

Characters: 6
Bad guy: 6
Aging(readable today): 3
Complexity: 5
Plot: 5
Tech Cool level: 3
Overall: 5
Dates read: 20Oct05-21Oct05

Settings: Washington D.C., farmhouse on the Potomac, flight to Arizona, Lightning Flats Arizona, flight to Pacific, ship in Pacific, The Dirty Man Ranch Mexico

New Gadgets: Color identifiable gas and smoke grenades, compact radio transmitter/receiver with enough power for coast to coast transmission, alloy kite with microphone


All 5 aids and Pat are in the book.
Doc starts the book with another temper tantrum in the War Department trying to get into the field.

Monk gets cocaine.

A girl hits Doc with a weight joke.

The superfirer is considered "too complicated for military use."

The trilling origin is consistent with the previous book.

The fuel additive for tracking enemy planes from The Talking Devil is back. In that book it was announced that it was being snuck into enemy fuel tanks in Europe. In this one it's revealed to have been thwarted by a chemical neutralizer in that capacity. Nice continuity.

A German makes an uncomforting comment about Doc being a fine example of the "master race" strategy.

The war in Europe is now considered a forgone conclusion in the Allies favor.

The different German factions are an interesting twist, and the characters aren't terrible, but it's overall a bit of a cut rate Hunt for Red October type book.
Sunday, April 30th, 2006
9:37 am
The Mental Monster (#126)
August 1943

Characters: 5
Bad guy: 3
Aging(readable today): 5
Complexity: 4
Plot: 4
Tech Cool level: 2
Overall: 4
Dates read: 19Oct05-20Oct05

Settings: New York, New Jersey, New York, Willow Flats, Kentucky

New Gadgets: Combination radio wire receiver/transmitter and phone, field listening device (miniaturized to matchbook size), gas jets in manholes around HQ to cover escapes


A crook hears that Doc has been killed early in the book and decides he needs to disappear before repercussions occur. So he does. It's a very nice bit, beautifully understated.

Johnny and Long Tom get uncomfortable enough that Doc has to hide a smile. Part of the new more emotional Doc is that he is also more receptive to humorous situations. Monk owns the building that his penthouse is in. But it's his only piece of real estate. Two books earlier, Ham had fallen to #2 in the best dressed polls. Now he's back up to #1. The pets are along as well but no Renny or Pat.

White birdies and psychics, oh my!

Doc gets his trilling from a Hindu specialist in mental discipline, which I supposed is an upgrade from the more general explanation of he got it from oriental wise men he studied with way back in the Fortress of Solitude book.

Some odd setup that could have been used better at the end seems forgotten. The book feels a little hurried in wrap up. Perhaps the word count was inching above editor limits. Finally, the bad guy has one of the most pitiful demises ever.
Thursday, April 27th, 2006
5:40 pm
Mystery on Happy Bones (#125)
July 1943

Characters: 8
Bad guy: 5
Aging(readable today): 4
Complexity: 4
Plot: 6
Tech Cool level: 2
Overall: 6
Dates read: 17Oct05-18Oct05

Settings: New York, Washington D.C., flight to Caribbean, Little Abaco Island, flight over Caribbean, Happy Bones Island, flight over Caribbean, Happy Bones Island

New Gadgets: Explosive anesthetic gas grenade, focused radio beam equipment


Heheh, wanna see Doc get his ass kicked by a girl? Well, here's very close to that.

Then she kicks Johnny's ass.

Doc mean streak shows as he watches with amusement. He even heckles. I have to say that I laughed long and hard at this scene.

Monk, Ham, Johnny, Renny and pets slide on through this tale, in which we learn that Doc has learned the art of sleeping while being awake from a Ubangi hunter from the Belgian Congo. Presumably, walking while standing still will be his next lesson for mastery.

Doc has an excellent action sequence in a flying plane he stows away in. The scenes with this girl are hilarious. A fun book with a sound premise and an extraordinarily interesting female lead.

Postscript: Woot! For those on Flearun that used to know me as "Aruba Doug" (from when I lived in Aruba, natch) a footnote about the Divi Divi tree common to Aruba is in the text of this story. It's on page 113 in the Bantam edition.
Sunday, April 23rd, 2006
10:06 am
The Running Skeletons (#124)
June 1943

Characters: 6
Bad guy: 5
Aging(readable today): 7
Complexity: 4
Plot: 6
Tech Cool level: 1
Overall: 6
Dates read: 16Oct05-17Oct05

Settings: train from Chicago to New York, New York, train from Chicago to New York, New York, Westchester County New York, flight to Boone Shot Missouri, Boone Shot Missouri, farmhouse near Admiration City

New Gadgets: Magnetic tracking transmitter, new anti-canine chemical


Renny's first words in the book made me laugh out loud. And at one point Doc says "I hope no one gets fatally killed." Presumably, the non-fatal killings are ok though. At another point, Doc runs away from thugs right into a…closet. Oops!

All 5 aids and Habeas are along, but no chimp. Monk and Ham team up in a friendly way during the book. How very ominous. Monk also gets the bejeezus scared out of him.

Two government related tidbits:

Doc has only two vehicles in his fleet left. The rest are with the War Department being examined as prototypes. And,

The Income Tax deadline is mentioned as being March 15th at this point. A little web research ( http://tinyurl.com/mthhj ) shows that this changed to April 15th in 1954.

Yeah, I know…not Doc related…but fascinating to a history buff accountant nevertheless. :)

What do you mean you wonder how I get dates? Jeez…

There are several nice pieces to the book. The scientific "hook" and its reveal are nicely done. But the ending felt arbitrarily shortened.
Wednesday, April 19th, 2006
9:09 pm
The Talking Devil (#123)
May 1943

Characters: 6
Bad guy: 7
Aging(readable today): 5
Complexity: 4
Plot: 5
Tech Cool level: 6
Overall: 6
Dates read: 14Oct05-15Oct05

Settings: New York, flight to Kansas City, Kansas City Missouri, Mississippi River near Iowa, Millard Missouri airport, Mississippi River near Iowa, New York, flight to Georgia, Georgia near coast

New Gadgets: Shock reducing bone saw, new pursuit plane that needs long runways and frequent fuelling, trackable air fuel additive/scanning lens combo, cellophane hood to protect clothing from dust, quick parachute harness release, daisy chained wind up gas grenades


War rules are forcing flyers to log every plane trip with the government for approval.

Long Tom, Renny, Monk, and Ham join Doc on this adventure. Interestingly, Doc gets sued for malpractice. And during the arming up for a fight, Doc grabs two tomato soup cans with sand in them and Monk grabs a stick. Ooooo…scary.

Unfortunately, Doc receives some very bad news about graduates of his college. Later, the police, suspecting the existence of Doc's crime college, insist that Doc hand his captives over to them.

As for Doc's aid, Renny and Long Tom threaten a crook's life during interrogation. And a little delicate looking guy schools Monk. Monk's ass kicking is really quite humorous, even the other aids think so.

A couple of amusing scenes and an atypically well developed campaign to discredit Doc elevate this story to slightly above average.
Monday, April 17th, 2006
8:14 am
The King of Terror (#122)
April 1943

Characters: 10
Bad guy: 7
Aging(readable today): 4
Complexity: 6
Plot: 6
Tech Cool level: 4
Overall: 7
Dates read: 12Oct05-14Oct05

Settings: New York, Tulsa Oklahoma, California, flight over Pacific, Tahiti, Po Piki, Blanco Grande Hidalgo

New Gadgets: Sliding hidden panels at ground floor in HQ building, faked assassination movies of Doc dying in hallway, tracking vapor/litmus cane combo, handkerchief impregnated with anesthetic, tiny saw blade in cap on wisdom tooth

"They killed Doc Savage on Saturday." Talk about an attention grabbing first sentence.

Doc's private elevator is now far removed from the regular elevator banks. Doc is the President of something called the Scientific Club. And two genteel hit men are a nice touch.

Cuerpo and Cabeza…er…Monk and Ham are the only aids in this story. How to put this part tenderly…Monk threatens to rape and kill a girl. I had no idea this passage existed.

I have to wonder if Dent is testing the reader with a paradox. In the previous book Doc hides material to escape with inside a scar on his left shoulder. In this book we are quite specifically told there is no scar on Doc's left shoulder. This has to be a test of our powers of observation, right?

Handsome Mayfair, a distant cousin of Monk's is introduced. One of Doc's guards has a particularly interesting background, goal, and remorse for what he does. Very interesting indeed.

A reference is made to the war winding down. I was surprised to see that this early.

This book has some of the most fascinating characters we've seen. The female opponent is written particularly well.
Friday, April 14th, 2006
8:08 am
The Black, Black Witch (#121)
March 1943

Characters: 6
Bad guy: 4
Aging(readable today): 6
Complexity: 3
Plot: 6
Tech Cool level: 3
Overall: 6
Dates read: 11Oct05-12Oct05

Settings: flight over occupied France, French countryside near Carotin, New York, Jersey City New Jersey, New York

New Gadgets: Mock skin over Doc's left shoulder for concealing tools, explosive red powder set off by moisture, wire television security system covering all 6th floor approaches, anesthetic gas capsules on the insides of the elbows

Doc's first venture into the war theatre. Bet he's happy to see that. The book mentions that Monk is a lieutenant colonel and that Doc's rank is much higher, so we now know Doc is a general.

Monk has a truly bizarre dream. Johnny appears to have a jalopy like Long Tom's. And Ham becomes the second best dressed man behind a Hollywood actor in "the polls which counted". Awwwwww. Pat is also along for the ride.

Nostradamus figures prominently in the saga. And Germans in Stalingrad are mentioned. Sucks to be them. An implication that the Germans are in trouble is also made.

Doc has a weird sitcom like entrance on the main gang, who isn’t a normal gang at all.

This was a decent starting book, but it dipped a little late in the tale. Once more Doc was close to a product that could have really helped him, if not for Monk.
Tuesday, April 11th, 2006
4:55 pm
Waves of Death (#120)
February 1943

Characters: 5
Bad guy: 5
Aging(readable today): 3
Complexity: 3
Plot: 5
Tech Cool level: 2
Overall: 4
Dates read: 09Oct05-10Oct05

Settings: New York, Nahma Michigan, Escanaba Michigan, Michigan woods, New York, Buffalo New York, Marquette Michigan, Michigan woods

New Gadgets: Flare grenade, plane exhaust muffler that makes car sounds

Doc cold-cocks Monk. Renny and Long Tom threaten to stick Pat into an asylum to keep her away from the excitement, but she persuades them to have her help cover their tracks instead. Ham, Johnny and Chemistry also appear.

Pat invents a device that the war department can use? That's different. In this book, Pat's Mayan tutor is a mystery, yet she told Doc that it was Monk back in The Man Who Fell Up. Pat also says that she's going to faint and then does. Can people actually do that?

Not a very creative or captivating story. The setting is a bit different, but the adventure is a bit pedestrian.
Saturday, April 8th, 2006
5:23 pm
The Time Terror (#119)
January 1943

Characters: 5
Bad guy: 7
Aging(readable today): 2
Complexity: 4
Plot: 6
Tech Cool level: 1
Overall: 5
Dates read: 08Oct05-09Oct05

Settings: New York, rural New York, Trapper Lake Mackenzie Canada, flight into Canadian Arctic, Arctic crater

New Gadgets: High heels with radioactive cake in them/Geiger counter combo

Doc is allowed in the war room but still not in the war. Someone targets Doc's news gathering agency, which is listed at 4 people.

In the Bantam printing, there is a very strange "Doc Savage and his aids" ad in the middle of page 6.

This time Doc, Monk, Ham, Johnny, Pat, and the pets find their intrigue is with the Japanese.

The setting is extremely reminiscent of The Land of Terror only this time Doc doesn't destroy it. It's a pretty poor knock off though.

How mortifying! A crook is eaten by a vegetarian dinosaur. He must have said something to deserve it.
Tuesday, April 4th, 2006
8:41 am
The Devils Black Rock (#118)
December 1942

Characters: 6
Bad guy: 6
Aging(readable today): 5
Complexity: 5
Plot: 6
Tech Cool level: 1
Overall: 6
Dates read: 07Oct05-08Oct05

Settings: Mile High Arizona, New York, rural New York, New York

New Gadgets: Liquefied anesthetic rifle bullets, steel handhold rod for perforating and holding on to car roofs

Doc's HQ building is referred to as "Manhattan's best bomb target".

Monk's habit of trusting girls too easily finally convinces the rest of the gang to try to break him of the habit. Even Doc joins in a bit. We also see Doc admonishing Monk several times, something he never used to do with the aids. All five guys and Habeas appear.

Doc makes a rifle mercy bullet, but finds the fast action anesthetic won't work in it, so he has to use an inferior formula. I thought that was a nice touch.

A Nazi plot. The US with secret poison gas making plants. Good stuff. Yum yum yum.

An odd epilogue is tacked on to the end of the Bantam story. It looks like it may have been accidentally truncated. Overall a decent book.
Friday, March 31st, 2006
8:53 am
They Died Twice (#117)
November 1942

Characters: 7
Bad guy: 6
Aging(readable today): 5
Complexity: 3
Plot: 4
Tech Cool level: 1
Overall: 5
Dates read: 05Oct05-06Oct05

Settings: New York, flight to Central America, Valley of the Vanished

New Gadgets: New truth serum that allows clearer speech, moratory oxide for enhancing anesthetic effective length

The aids and pets are around, but Pat misses out. Renny makes a thorough vandal and Doc meets his dad.

The book places the Hidalgo Trading Company "not far from where the Normandie had capsized" ( http://tinyurl.com/7t6so )

King Chaac and the other Mayans act very weird and Doc uses a rather underhanded trick to pull his bacon out of the fire.

There are a few continuity mistakes and some general laziness on the part of Dent. An example is a sentence of death pronounced on Monk by an ally. Though gripping, it is never really explained and is quietly rescinded.

As refreshing as it is to see old friends in King Chaac and Princess Monja, this book doesn't have the heart or depth of the other 2 Valley of the Vanished adventures.
Tuesday, March 28th, 2006
10:02 am
The Laugh of Death (#116)
October 1942

Characters: 6
Bad guy: 5
Aging(readable today): 3
Complexity: 5
Plot: 4
Tech Cool level: 5
Overall: 4
Dates read: 02Oct05-04Oct05

Settings: Fortress of Solitude, New York, Washington D.C., New Jersey, New York, Bogueville New York, New York, Washington D.C., Albemarche Sound

New Gadgets: Paint on thermal suit, polarized plastic dome on Fortress of Solitude with 1-way transparency, automatic radio feed device to Fortress of Solitude on aids telephoned daily reports, secret elevator hidden in pillar at HQ, dizziness pills, mini microphone receiver hidden in crumpled cigarette box, valium style tranquilizer (called a 'hypnotic')

Doc has changed the Fortress of Solitude, making it resemble a block of ice instead of a blue dome due to increased air traffic coming north.

There is some interesting reflection on Doc's parents at the beginning. Monk is the only aid in the book. Everyone else, including Pat, become unseen hostages throughout.

The police are now insisting that Doc give regular reports on his cases after the suspicions generated in the last few cases.

The safe in the reception room, revealed to have been Doc's father's, is blown. Doc uses a hired body double to confuse the crooks. He also has a full-blown temper tantrum, made more amusing by mention of his Yogi instruction just preceding.

A sub par book overall. Of minor interest is the first mention of Pearl Harbor and Bataan in the series.
Saturday, March 25th, 2006
10:30 am
The Fiery Menace (#115)
September 1942

Characters: 4
Bad guy: 4
Aging(readable today): 4
Complexity: 5
Plot: 3
Tech Cool level: 2
Overall: 3
Dates read: 30Sep05-01Oct05

Settings: New York, Washington D.C., New York, City Island, New York, New Jersey, New York, Desmodus Island

New Gadgets: Ultra violet lamp filter treated with Nickel Oxide, chalk button of alkaline salt of flourescein and anthracene, electric coil device for torture

A vampire? Oooo cool. And a sandwich. Uhm…what?

Police mistrust from the previous adventure has spilled over into this one.

…Yay, continuity.

Doc also receives his rebuttal from the War Department concerning going out on the battlefield. It's a no go. Bet you’re surprised.

Renny and Johnny are off in Europe helping with the war, but everyone else is here, including pets. Pat names Doc's vehicles 'Clarence', 'Tarzan', 'Adolph Hitler' and 'Churchill". No mention is made of which is which. Conjecture anyone?

An article mentions Doc smashing a Paparazzi camera and Doc actually considers how boring the adventure is so far (rightly so) at one point. That's funny stuff.
Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006
9:04 am
The Three Wild Men (#114)
August 1942

Characters: 6
Bad guy: 7
Aging(readable today): 3
Complexity: 6
Plot: 4
Tech Cool level: 2
Overall: 4
Dates read: 29Sep05-30Sep05

Settings: New York, Cyprus Chapel Virginia, Dismal swamp, New York

New Gadgets: Smoking heating powder (when exposed to oxygen), answering machine remotely activated and operated by coded whistles

Monk, Ham, and the pets are in the book and we get Renny via phone. We also find out that Monk is older than Doc, but not by how much.

A new and interesting acquaintance of Doc is introduced. There's also an interestingly written early ambush of the Docster.

Amour abounds. Monk declares his love for a girl and Doc tells a woman "You have intelligence as well as beauty."

Doc is an agent of the Department of Justice, until they revoke it in the book. And Doc stops a villain from something very similar to what Doc already does to opponents, though the villain doesn't suffer the usual fate.

The book is a little below average. Doc must think so too, he's trying to persuade Washington to put him and the gang on the battlefield.
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