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Dead Men Kill
L. Ron Hubbard
Multicast performance, unabridged
Galaxy Press, 2 hours

L. Ron Hubbard
Lafayette Ron Hubbard was born March 13, 1911, in Tilden, Nebraska and died January 14, 1986 in San Luis Obispo, CA. In the 1930s and 40s, he produced a large number of westerns and science fiction stories and novels, some under the pen-name René Lafayette. Among these, some were well regarded, including the fantasy Slaves of Sleep (1939), the novel Typewriter in the Sky, the well-regarded militaristic post-apocalyptic novel Final Blackout (1940), and the horror novel Fear (1940). In 1950, he published Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, and in 1954 he founded the Church of Scientology to promote his "applied religious philosophy." Between 1954 and the early 80s, Hubbard published no further science fiction or fantasy. His Battlefield Earth was published in 1982 and eventually spawned the movie of the same name. The ten part ultra-pulpish Mission Earth series was published largely posthumously, and as with Battlefield Earth received rather poor reviews. Further biographical information can be found on the official L. Ron Hubbard website and in Bare-Faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard by Russell Miller -- I'll let you decide what to believe.

Publisher's website
SF Site Review: One Was Stubborn
SF Site Review: When Shadows Fall
SF Site Review: Danger in the Dark
SF Site Review: To the Stars
BOOK REVIEW: To the Stars: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Gil T. Wilson

Dead Men Kill For some reason, horror fans seem to be drawn to zombies. There are podcasts of zombie stories, several books and, of course, the re-writing of Jane Austen's novel, Pride and Prejudice into Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  Many fans will consider George Romero's Dawn of the Dead as the beginning of this craze, and some die-hard fans will think of Max Brooks, with his Zombie Survival Guide, as reason for the trend.  But back before these guys brought about the flesh-eating scourge called zombies, L. Ron Hubbard wrote a mystery that brought the living dead into America.

  First published in 1934 in Thrilling Detective magazine, "Dead Men Kill" is a great zombie/detective story.  Galaxy Audio has released this novella as a pulp book and a pulp audiobook.  The audiobook is produced with the same fervor and nostalgia as all the other Hubbard audiobooks.  The narrator keeps you in the story, performing as a narrator from one of the old radio serials.  The actors in the performance definitely have that nostalgic feel when they perform scenes that are purely pulp fiction.  The melodramatic delivery of the voice of zombies on the kill is fun, but also chilling.  Even the incidental music, which was composed specifically for these productions, will launch you back to the mid-twentieth century when tales were told in magazines for a dime.

  The story follows the heroic Detective-Sergeant Terrence Lane as he investigates a series of murders among the wealthy in his town. The clues as to who did the killing point only to people that have been dead and in the grave for several days.  It seems that the people of status are all being blackmailed and when they can't pay, someone close to them that has recently died comes back from the dead to kill them.

  Lane's only clue is a receipt from a pharmacy in Haiti, and a note from Loup-Garou, a man who tells Lane to retire from the police force or suffer the same fate.  Lane gets some help from a female performer who works at a Haitian night club.  The adventures begin and the suspects are plenty as Lane digs up a grave and finds the body missing.  The same body is then found to have murdered a banker.  Lane is kidnapped, drugged, almost turned into a zombie himself, and escapes from a coffin to try and find the zombie maker.

  With an exciting story and some interesting twists, Hubbard weaves a fun tale from zombie land that will have a chill rolling down your spine in no time.

Copyright © 2010 Gil T. Wilson

Gil T. has spent a quarter of a century working in radio and has lots of spare time on his hands and reading or listening to books takes up all that time. Check out his blog to find out what he's up to at any given moment.

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