The New Adventures of The Eagle (Spy Thriller)
By Various Authors
Pro Se Press www.prosepulp.com
Rating 3 Stars
The Eagle originated in the pulp magazines during the 1940s, and featured American G-2 spy, Jeff Shannon, known to the world of espionage as The Eagle. This volume contains six brand new adventures of the characters by new pulp writers.
“Lights! Camera! Sabotage!” by Bobby Nash is a simple plot involving sabotage of secret military installations conducting classified experiments. The sabotage occurs during the filming of a movie studio nearby, and one of the members is suspected of being a spy. Naturally they call The Eagle back from Europe to handle the case (?).
Well written and interesting, but weak. Anyone could have uncovered the spy, even a Hollywood detective. The author uses a lot of popular phrases that add nothing to the story in my opinion. Although, Nazis are mentioned, and it’s obvious the story takes place during WWII, one of the actresses is wearing a bikini. Bikinis were not introduced until 1946, so I may be wrong about the time period. I won’t even discuss The Eagle’s escape from a locked room filled with gasoline fumes (from barrels of petrol) by exploding small charges against the door! But a fun read, nevertheless.
“A Black Friday In Australia” by Lee Houston, Jr. In 1939 The Eagle is sent to Australia by request of their government, but while en route, he discovers an Axis agent on board the ship and uncovers a dangerous plot. Germany has set up Safe Harbor in Australia, where their ships and submarines can dock for refuel and supplies. The Eagle is captured, but a huge brush fire is spreading over this part of Australia, and the Germans have to abandon the Site as the fire approaches. Jeff Shannon is left to die, but escapes and trails them on a motorcycle. The fire eventually catches everyone but The Eagle.
Well written, but a one-dimensional plot, and with characters you don’t really care for. The author relies on an actual event – the brush fire of 1939 that destroyed so much area of Australia. Still, a fun read, even with the minor faults.
“The Melting Skin” by Ashley Mangin. The basic plot has to do with Germany inventing a radio wave that melts the skin. But this is a ruse, as an American gangster intends to steal plans from England’s work on the atomic bomb. The Eagle rushes from an America beach to England to France, to Germany – in the matter of paragraphs, then returns to England with his report, but discovers that the enemy has been aware of his every move. He had really been set up, so now it’s back to France and Germany to catch a couple double agents, and back to France once more; then he returns to America to pick up two friends to help him catch the gangster, and then ends up back at the beach.
The plot was terrible, and badly executed. There was really no “interesting” action to keep a reader involved. I had trouble getting through the story.
“Fire From The Skies” by R. P. Steeves. A scientist has been kidnapped in Greece. He was working on a super weapon Germany wanted. Obtaining his papers, no one could interpret them, so they hoped to use his old love as a threat against him. Jeff Shannon, aided by his secretary (?) Joan, and a Greek named Rico go after the kidnapper who has the scientist, hoping to stop him before they can take him to Germany. There’s quite a bit of action, but The Eagle is never in any real danger. Regardless of the plot, this seems to be a minor entry, just moving from one action scene to the next. But the author definitely keeps the action moving.
“The Coming Storm” by Teel James Glenn. In the U.S., the Brown Shirts have kidnapped a scientist and holding him in nearby Camp Nordland in Sussec County, New Jersey. The FBI has sent in agents, but they were lost, feared murdered by the Bund. They request from G-2 America’s greatest spy, The Eagle. Jeff Shannon had once been an amateur magician, and the Bund is seeking entertainers, which the FBI feels will be a way to get The Eagle in their camp.
This was a gem of a story. It had a real plot, real characterization, and good dialogue. The story is set in September 1938, and the hurricane of September 21st, known as the Long Island Express, plays a part in the final scene. Jeff is assisted by an ex boxer named “Lefty” Kovaks (wonder why there’s never a “Righty?), who felt he owes his life to the super spy. This is a great read by a writer who knows pulp fiction.
“Island of Deceit” by Nick Ahlhelm. Germans have infiltrated a Marine base in the Philippines, with plan to destroy this strategic American military installation, allowing their Japanese allies to take over the island. But C.I.A. agent (what happened to G-2?) Jeff Shannon, The Eagle is on the job.
This was another hard story to get through. Basically, the plot was interesting, but the author lacked the writing ability to pull it off.
I actually wanted to give this a 4-Star rating, but though some of the stories were readable, there was only one that really deserved high ranking. A couple should not have been included in the book. I even have to wonder if any of the writers of this volume ever read an original Eagle story? It is worth reading, if you have a few hours to kill.