Doc Savage #56 The Giggling Ghosts by Kenneth Robeson
PreconceptionsI knew of Doc Savage. And although The Golden Man (or should that be The Bronze Man) never interested me as a lad, I was happy to pick up of copy of one of his capers recently... from the free pile at the library, don't you know.
Prior to reading, I would have thought Doc was a futurist, planet hopping guy, who at least owned a space ship. But no such luck, he's more of an incredibly lucky-gifted detective with a bunch of near-future (but certainly plausible) gadgets.
So, yeah. I wrote these preconceptions after actually reading the book, so they are not as pure as they could be. Maybe next time...
"I am not an honest man... when I think I am dealing with a crook."
"Stop that!" Doc Savage said. There was such a quality of power and command in the bronze man's voice that it quieted the young woman although Doc himself was a little surprised that he got results; he could never tell about women.
It had been a quiet day for the newspapers: the international situation was calm, the stock market was stationary, and there had been no interesting murders.
The bronze man seemed in no hurry to leave his car. Instead, he leaned back, and there was a trace of a frown on his metallic features. "I think," he said, "that we're very near the end of this thing."
"For the sake of clarity," Doc said, "we might gather factors together and array them. There has been some confusion. It should be straightened out."
- Intrigued or Confused?
- Am I supposed to be able to tell the difference?
- The Heart Races...
- an interesting effect.
- Books don't mean much if one doesn't spend the time to read them.
- He's a scientist, an 'Honorary Policeman', and the common man adores him.
- This might be because his exploits are chronicled in straightforward, bite sized, staccato chunks.
- It's all a lie.
- Say it ain't so, Joe.
- Much ado about nothing.
- Wit! But of course!
- As a matter of Fact.
- I find myself making a study of the characters...
- Matching their description to the portrait on the back cover...
- Struggling to keep their names straight.
- No thought.
- All Action!
- What about the pig?
- What about the ape?
- They are treating Doc awfully nice, considering they plan on killing him...
- William Henry Hart does not like women.
- He likes boats.
- If you don't believe me, just ask him.
- It looks like a watch.
- But I bet, in this case, looks are deceiving.
- A fight is described as a litany of destruction: what was destroyed during the struggle.
- It's a nice bit of art, keeping the violence off screen.
- I can see doing the same thing for sex scenes: underwear caught in a ceiling fan, swirling around and around; a single high heeled shoe on the stove, in a pot of water, boiling merrily away; and a mattress dislodged from its frame, lying half on the bed and half on the floor; the whole room in disarray.
- A chase scene so improbable it's hard to care.
- But not to worry, it will all come together in the end. In that, I have faith.
- A silly bit of overkill, I'd say.
- Still, I have no doubt they missed their mark.
- All the same, I cannot complain about the details.
- Not in depth, but continual, like machine gun fire, pattering off in the distance.
- Making the Earth Quake!
- The easy way...
- Not much change in the news...
- after all these years.
- Just the facts, ma'am.
- The writing is very matter of fact.
- As of yet, I do not know the caper.
- But I can assure you, the crooks took the long way around.
- Doc, has five high powered 'assistants'.
- Because, you know, like attracts like.
- Lots of characters.
- I'm getting confused.
- I often carry bombs in my pockets.
- I find their detonation handy when posed with awkward social situations.
- 'And that's the last time I invited him to any party of mine.'
- As much as anything, I like how building signs are communicated.
- And that's how you kill door to door salespeople.
- You know, if that's your thing.
- Suffice to say, I'm not in the story. It's too unbelievable. It reads too much like a comic book.
- That Doc is a pretty smart guy.
- Savage, too.
- I guess that's why they call him Doc Savage.
- Like someone ripped out half the sentences from the book.
- I find myself interested in the sentence construction.
- Short, choppy, to the point. Single sentence explanations, as if only a dolt would require more.
- There is an absence of the's.
- Commas replace periods.
- He shot.
- Five bullets to the clip, reloading quickly, filling the room with lead.
- Doc ducked.
- There was a large desk to hide behind.
- Personally, I would say it gave him time to think... but Doc never needs time to think.
- A man of action.
- Backed by an unbelievable wealth of knowledge.
- No. An unbelievable array of skills, knowledge just one in a long litany, call it a list.
- An almost realistic superhero.
- No. A super hero that is in denial of his superhero status.
- Doc Savage's Super Power?
- Things could go wrong... if Doc Savage were not involved.
- I find the Doc Savage series to be reminiscent of the Executioner series and the Destroyer series.
- And as both of those are more modern, I believe I may find them more to my liking.
- After all, Doc Savage's high-tech tech is anything but.
- Doc Savage: What a let down!
- Over the top action without any risk.
- Doc looked under the entrance mat.
- It's a popular spot to hide a key.
- The key was there.
- The problem is that the key is always (and I mean always) there.
- It's easier doing things when you're rich.
- I recommend it to all my friends.
- Doc is a doc.
- Will wonders never cease.
- He looks.
- He acts.
- And maybe even, he owns or uses.
- A character, complete.
- Doc's adversaries are sporadic.
- They use 500lbs of TNT when they fail.
- But take folks prisoner when they succeed.
- But come on, just in the last chapter?
- A little weak...
- if this is supposed to be a Monster Story.
- Doc is a man of science.
- Thus, there is a Scientific Explanation to it all.
- The Talking Cure!
- It's no way to wrap up a caper.
- Too, convenient.
- All's well that ends well.
- But does it end well?
Final DiscussionWill I read another Doc Savage novel? Well, maybe in another decade or so. The book was not painful. But nor was it brilliant.
I am happy to know more about Doc after reading the story. He is smart, strong, and backed by unlimited resources, I'll have you know. But at the same time, the premise (a man who is inhumanly smart, inhumanly strong, and among the richest, most well respected men in the world) makes him more of a comic book wet-dream type character. And I cannot help but wonder why he bothers with any exploits, at all. I mean, it's not for the challenge for there weren't no challenge. All the pieces conveniently fell into place. But then, they did fall into place, so I'll give Doc Savage that.