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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

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Jimmie Dale Alias The Gray Seal

"Few characters as obscure as Canadian novelist Frank L. Packard’s gentleman cracksman, Jimmie Dale the Gray Seal, have had the impact and long term import of this one. Almost unknown today, Packard and his creation not only exerted a tremendous influence on the pulps he came from, but established many of the tropes of the modern superhero in comic books. From his secret lair, the Sanctuary, his multiple identities, and his calling card, a gray diamond paper seal, Jimmie Dale set the pattern for the mystery men and super heroes who will follow."

- David L. Vineyard

In the summer of 1912 New York City was being terrorized by a bizarre organization of metal-clawed criminals who ascend stonewalls as easily as others climb stairs. Dubbed the Spider Gang by the press, they roamed over every part of Manhattan from neighborhoods of squalid tenements to the most luxurious mansions of the rich. It wasn't wealth that they sought however; instead it was the City's most beautiful women who were being carried off for some sinister purpose.

A new challenge for the Gray Seal! The very first in a long, long line of crime-fighting urban vigilantes has returned in an all new novel length adventure. More than a century ago bored society millionaire Jimmie Dale hid his identity behind a mask and slouch hat to become the safe-cracking master criminal known as the Gray Seal. His objective was excitement rather than financial gain, but quickly decided that justice was a still more worthy goal. Dale became feared and hunted by both the police and the underworld as he waged a one-man war on evildoers the law could not stop. Commanded by the mysterious woman of a thousand faces known as the Tocsin, Jimmie Dale pits himself against those who prey on the weakest members of society. The Gray Seal novels of Frank Packard influenced a wide range of heroes including The Shadow, the Spider, and the Green Hornet. The Gray Seal strikes again!

Jimmie Dale Alias The Gray Seal (Crime Mystery)
By Michael Howard
Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN #978-1548060466
Price $15.99
374 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“Return Of An Old Favorite”

It’s 1912, and The Spider Gang is terrorizing New York. Halvard Romeron, a Norwegian, has arrived in the city that never sleeps, and his gangs of weirdly dressed men who can climb building walls are kidnapping young, beautiful women of different races. It’s believed they are to be used in the white slavery market.

Marie LaSalle, only known to Jimmie Dale as The Tocsin, has sent him as The Gray Seal out to try to find and rescue the women. In the meantime, Dan Reid is in New York and Marie LaSalle reveals to him that she’s still alive, and tells him about The Crime Club that is searching for her, so she must remain in hiding least they murder her like they did her father and uncle. While in town he decides to assist the daughter of his old friends in her current search for the missing women.

I am an old fan of the Jimmie Dale mysteries from the turn of the twentieth century, and this brand new novel is a treat, bringing back great characters and action. I must say, the old stories are a bit dated a hundred years later, but the current author has brought a more modern sensibility to the stories, making for a fun read. The story actually begins in 1920, as Jimmie and his wife, Marie look back on their beginning in 1912, a few years after she had recruited the robin hood thief to help her in her fight against gangdom. The Gray Seal predated most of the masked Robin Hoods and vigilantes of the pulps, including Johnston McCulley’s famed Zorro. Future crime fighters would follow The Gray Seal’s use of leaving a mark (a gray seal) noting the crime was his. Zorro would leave the “Z” mark on his opponent’s with his sword, The Spider would leave a crimson mark of a spider on his victims, and The Black Bat would leave a black bat image on his victims. However, in this new story, the seal was mysteriously absent this time, though mentioned in passing. Highly recommended for both old fans and new. An old favorite has returned.

Tom Johnson

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