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Retirement. Publishers, thank you for the many years of reading pleasure you gave me, but all good things must come to an end. Due to failing eyesight I am forced to retire. I can no longer review your books, and any that you send will be donated to the local library, unread. Do not send any more. I can only read for a couple hours every day, and this does not allow me to finish a book in reasonable time. I will be devoting time to my own books from now on, and reading on a personal level. Books that interest me. I prefer paperbacks and hardbacks, not eBooks. My eyesight has been failing the last few years, and I cannot handle hundreds of review books any more. My books are still available for review. Anyone interested in reviewing any of them, they are found in the Link to Tom’s Books On Amazon. Contact me for pdf copies at

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Sons of Thor

The Sons of Thor (Book One)
By Erwin K. Roberts (Robert E. Kennedy)
Pro Se Productions
ISBN #978-1475250671
96 Pages
Price $5.82
Rating 5-Stars

It’s the 1930s: The Phantom Detective, while trailing a suspect through the subway tunnels, watches as the man plants a bomb on the tracks. Acting quickly, there is a gunfight and the man is fatally wounded. His last words are familiar to the Phantom. Twenty years previous, as a young officer serving in France during WWI, Richard Curtis Van Loan encountered a vicious unit of German soldiers calling themselves The Sons of Thor. He thought they had disbanded at the end of the war, but now it appears they are back, and in America.

The first book is a fun action novel that covers the period in 1918 France, as well as the present 1930s, as the Phantom chases down The Sons of Thor. A plot by the current group is to kidnap rich university students for ransom, plus an unknown famous person. The Phantom, in fine form, rushes to crush the scheme. He is given some assistance by The Crimson Mask towards the end. The author has fun dropping names of other pulp characters in the story. Captain Midnight helps Van Loan in France in WWI, while George Chance, Jethro Dumont, K-9 (the government official head of Secret Agent X), are all mentioned. The Phantom has a secret apartment in a building that also houses such names as N. Wind Investigations (The Nightwind),  Dale Foundation (Jimmy Dale), B. Jonus (The Shadow), and Hidalgo Trading Company (Doc Savage). Although the current case comes to a satisfactory end, the Sons of Thor are still around, and will be back for Book Two, the conclusion.

The Sons of Thor (Book Two)
By Erwin K. Roberts (Robert E. Kennedy)
Pro Se Productions
ISBN #978-1477513934
109 Pages
Price $8.96
Rating 5-Stars

The first part of Book Two features Jim Anthony in “Home On The Pandemic Range”, where the Sons of Thor are working on a virus to release around the world. As best I can figure the story takes place in the late 1930s. Felix Thomas, the Railway Post Office car employee, is reading Doc Savage Magazine, “The Munitions Master” from 1938. Tiger Standish, Howard Hughes, Wrong-Way Corrigan, and The Phantom Detective are in the story.

The second half of the book brings in The Black Bat, Carol, Butch, and Silk, In “The LaGuardia Action”. Frank Havens, acting as CONTROL, brings in other pulp heroes of the time to battle The Sons of Thor. Rex Parker is called, but he has not as yet become The Masked Detective. Mike Axford makes an appearance, as does Jim Anthony and Hooks McGuire. The Celluloid Burglar & the Green Ghost (Johnston McCulley, maybe) are mentioned, Bob Clarke (The Crimson Mask), Dr. Skull’s free clinic is mentioned. Some of these characters were not around in 1938, so I’m not positive about the timeline, but WWII is not mentioned, although Nazis and Hitler are. Also showing up towards the end is Sergeant Harrison “Pretty Damn” Hasty. The Sons of Thor appear to be planning on replacing important people with look-alikes.

Although each book can be read separately, The Sons of Thor is the theme of both books, and highly recommended to be read together. The novel is well written, and entertaining from beginning to end. Pulp fans will enjoy all the cameos of their favorite pulp characters, and the action is fast paced. A good read!

Tom Johnson
Detective Mystery Stories

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