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  • By Michael Brown
    Jan 5, 2011
    This book collects Lester Dent's 3 "Foster Fade/Crime Spectacularist" stories, which were published in early 1934 in Dell's "All Detective Magazine". Foster is one of a series of "gadget heroes" that Dent, better known as the real author of "Doc Savage", created while he also worked on writing Doc Savage. The first was the short-lived (2 stories) of Lynn Lash. I'm not sure if these are currently available, but as more of Dent's works are reprinted, hopefully soon. The next is the Lee Nace/"Blond Adder" series (5 stories), published by Ace. These stories were written during the early period of Doc, but dropped due to time constraints. Altus Press has put out a great collection of these stories. The "Crime Spectacularist" (3 stories) was next. The final was Click Rush, who had 18 stories published in Street & Smith's "Crimebusters" pulp. These stories are seeing print in various reprints by Sanctum Books (who is... More > reprinting Doc, The Shadow, The Avenger, and The Whisperer). I would really liked to have seen some kind of intro or overview, to better understand this character and how he fits into Dent's oeuvre. In reading the "Blond Adder" collection, you find out that he was writting those stories as he was doing Doc during his first year. The intent of the "Blond Adder" was to create another series character for "10 Detective Aces" pulp, but Dent got burned out and had to drop it. So I surprised that these stories were published less then 6 months later. So he again took up the task of creating another gadget hero. Was the intention to ALSO make this an ongoing character, or did something prevent it?? While the "Crime Spectacularist" is a gadget hero, his schtick is different. We soon learn that Foster Fade is a private detective, but one working for a newspaper called the "Globe", which is a big selling "yellow journalism" paper. His 'beat' is to find spectacular crimes and solve them, having them written up by his assistant Dinamenta "Din" Stevens, a platinum blonde writer for the paper. His gadgets (we are told the paper has 2 mechanicts on salary creating them for him) are setup in his office and items he carries and uses, and are part of his schtick. If these are written up in the articles on him (as hinted) wouldn't that give away a lot of their value? The stories are pretty much standard detective stories. What makes them interesting are the gadgets Foster uses and the death schemes used in the stories (not fully explained until the end). And that may be the problem with the stories. The mysteries are NOT very mysterious, once we find out what's going on: gun running to latin american rebels, treasure from chinese war lords, sunken treasure of smuggled diamonds. What makes the stories is the strange means of death: the Aroma Assassin, white-hot corpses, and dead-men with mysterious cuts on them. So I wonder why the series ended? Dent couldn't keep up or the stories didn't click with readers? While this is a good collection, the quality is not up to the level of Altus Press. While the original illustrations are included, there is no intro or information on the character, nor are the original covers reprinted (the cover source is not given, but its not from any of the original magazines). I have never gotten any books from Pulpville, and if this is indicative of their work, I would only get their works if they are the only sources for certain stories.< Less
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Product Details

Pulpville Press
November 15, 2006
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.84 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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