The following reviews are up now. I'll update the list throughout the day as more materialize. If I miss yours give me a shout here or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Neeru: Some Buried Caesar by Rex Stout
Patti Abbott: Private Demons, The Life of Shirley Jackson by Judy Oppenheimer
Sergio Angelini: Dekok and the Sorrowing Tomcat by Baantajer
Joe Barone: The Pusher by Ed McBain
Brian Busby: White Hands by Arthur Stringer
Bill Crider: GUILTY Detective Story Magazine, March 1960
Scott Cupp: The Executioness by Tobias S. Buckell
William F. Deeck (via Steve Lewis): The Tooth and the Nail by Bill S. Ballinger
Martin Edwards: 12.30 from Croydon by Freeman Wills Croft
Curt Evans: Night Walk by Elizabeth Daly
Elizabeth Foxwell: The Mystery of Central Park by Nellie Bly
Ed Gorman: Plunder Squad by Richard Stark
Jerry House: Pawns of Death by Bill Pronzini and Jeffery M. Wallman (as Robert Hart Davis)
Randy Johnson: Space: 1999: Earthfall by E.C. Tubb
Nick Jones: Call for the Dead by John Le Carre
George Kelley: The Yellow Cabochon & 9 Tales of Henghis Hapthorn by Matthew Hughes
BV Lawson: Final Proof by Marie R. Reno
Steve Lewis: East of Singapore by Frederick Nebel
Steve Lewis: The Girl of Ghost Mountain by J. Allan Dunn
Todd Mason: Semiotext(e), Rucker, Wilson & Wilson, editors
John Norris: Coffins for Three by Frederick C. Davis
Juri Nummelin: The Dolly Dolly Spy by Adam Diment
Patrick Ohl (via Kevin Tipple): Death in Harley Street by John Rhode
James Reasoner: The Embezzler by James M. Cain
Richard Robinson: The Case of the Perjured Parrot by Erle Stanley Gardner
Gerard Saylor: Sunset and Sawdust by Joe R. Landsdale
Ron Scheer: Wyoming by William MacLeod Raine
Mike Sind: The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
TomCat: Dead Man's Gift by Zelda Popkin
Zybahn: Behind the Scarlet Door by Lou Cameron
The Son of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs
In blabbing about the third Tarzan novel, The Beasts of Tarzan, last week, I noted the similar pattern Edgar Rice Burroughs followed with his Mars and Tarzan series. Each cycle started with a close-knit trilogy featuring the main player, followed by a fourth book starring the hero’s son.
Alas, that’s not to be, because Akut, the bull-ape Tarzan befriended in Beasts, has recently become a hit on the London stage, and young Jack, oddly fascinated with all things African, sneaks off to see him. When Tarzan goes to haul him home, Akut and the ape-man have a rather public reunion, and the beans are spilled.
As a result, Jack sneaks off with Akut and winds up stranded in the jungle, where he spends the next who-knows-how-many years growing into the spitting image of his old man. I enjoyed his adventures roaming the wilds with Akut and seeing him change from a civilized kid to a wild beast.
Somewhere in the middle, though, the story shifts focus, and the rest of the book is more about a girl called Meriem. She's the daughter of a French nobleman who’s kidnapped and abused by an evil Sheik until Jack, now known by his ape name of Korak the Killer, takes her under his wing. We then meet whole lot of people, good and bad, who are hunting or chasing or trying to hold onto Meriem for their own purposes, good and bad.
As in most Burroughs books, the characters are either utterly pure of heart, or thoroughly evil bastards. They're sometimes capable of change, though. In this case, the hardship of the jungle converts a bastard into a pureheart, which is a bit hard to swallow.
All is not lost, though, because we’re treated to some fine savagery. A couple of evil Englishmen die with Akut’s fangs in their throats. A village of misguided natives is overrun by three thousand blood-hungry baboons. And a particularly evil villain gets himself squashed by an elephant.
Where this story fits into the overall life of Tarzan is anybody’s guess. Philip Jose Farmer attempted to explain it in Tarzan Alive, but his timeline leaves me even more bewildered. Following the events of the first three books, Tarzan seems to have retired from adventuring and spent the next ten years (at minimum) in civilization. At some point in The Son of Tarzan he and Jane journey to their African plantation, bringing much of their civilization with them. There’s no internal evidence that he dons a loincloth and returns to the trees until the end of this book, when his son appears to be about eighteen. So it would seem that Tarzan ceases to be the ape man for those eighteen years, donning the loincloth only when necessary to save the day.
My guess? I think Burroughs planned to put old Tarzan out to pasture after the first three books, much as he did to John Carter. Anybody know if that’s so?