Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

THE SINISTER SHADOW by Kenneth Robeson

Doc Savage the Sinister Shadow

Will Murray has taken up the reins of the Doc Savage series quite well with his “Wild Adventures.” He’s given Doc fans new adventures with a definite nostalgia spin, and he’s twisted Doc’s life into new horizons (that still make sense). The pairing of Doc and King Kong was very well done and I enjoyed it.

When I heard about the Doc Savage/Shadow crossover coming up, I was hopeful and excited. The pairing of the two biggest heroes of the age of pulps was something that I would have figured would have already been done. After all, the same company owned both characters. There was no reason not to do it.

Maybe the editors saw The Shadow as more of a gritty crime story venue and Doc Savage as more of a fantastic elements kind of guy. But I’ve read volumes of both series and I feel like there were a lot of similarities. There’s no doubt in my mind that the heroes were playing to the same audience.

Murray’s epic story of the two heroes meeting is truly that: epic. When I first got the book, I figured the story would veer more toward the Doc side of the story, or that the distinction between the two heroes would be more muted.

Instead, Murray blends both heroes equally, and plays them (and their aides) off of each other in interesting and exciting ways. There’s even a tonal shift between the Doc section of the book and that focusing on the Shadow. It’s like the story was written by two different authors, not the same guy, which is quite a feat to pull off.

Since I read the ebook version, I hadn’t really taken into consideration how long the novel was. I’d figured it was Doc-size, probably between 250-300 pages, the length Murray’s been writing them at lately—some of those like Skull Island and The Ice Genius. (The original Docs and Shadows were shorter, and got even more short as both series progressed.)

The Sinister Shadow clocks in at 500 pages and each one of those is filled with twists and turns, mysteries and machinations, and danger galore. Packed into those pages, Murray also leavens generous dollops of Doc and Shadow lore. Readers new to both series can feel free to dive right into this book and thoroughly understand both worlds.

In addition to all the lore and the exciting read, Murray also adds his own conjectures about the characters, their worlds, and the people who play in them. I was surprised and ecstatic to see one such revelation about a second-tier character(s) that makes perfect sense even if Walter B. Gibson (the Shadow’s primary raconteur) hadn’t thought of it.

So for you longtime fans of both series, here’s a love song just for you. And for you new to the heroes and haven’t ever gotten brave enough to dive in, here’s the perfect jumping-on point.

No Responses to “THE SINISTER SHADOW by Kenneth Robeson”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: