From: Mark D. Nevins ( nevins_mark@yahoo.com)
Date: 04 Jan 2008

Juri writes:
"The major disappointment of the year was Paul Malmont's hyped THE CHINATOWN CLOUD DEATH PERIL."

Coincidentally, I just read this one, and I don't agree--but I also don't think I'd describe the book as "hyped." It's obviously a first novel, but it's not a bad one for a first, and I found it a pleasing read. Neither really "noir" nor "hard-boiled," it was nonetheless a lot of fun, and I appreciated the earnest enthusiasm of the author, which came through, I thought, in just the right dosage. I also liked some of the period details, the story itself (fantastic but not preposterous), and the various cameos. I wouldn't compare the book to Chandler or Westlake, but I don't think its author would, either. I will admit to being a big fan of Dent/Robeson, and I will also admit that I can see how this book would not be well-received by someone who isn't a big fan of the hero pulps.

I did have a few questions about some of the details, e.g.,
- Did Heinlein and Hubbard ever meet Dent and Gibson?
- Is there any truth to the animosity between Dent and Gibson?
- I assume that was Chester HIMES in the railway car--does that work chronologically?
- Possible error: Lot of talk late in the book about Gibson and Dent and the creation and writing of THE AVENGER--but I understood that, in spite of the use of the Robeson house name, neither of them had anything to do with that.

I'd be interested in hearing any other opinions on this book, though I don't expect it's really in the sweet spot for this mailing list.

Best, Mark Nevins

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