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Doc Savage: The Desert Demons (The Wild Adventures of Doc Savage Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Kenneth Robeson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description


On the urgent orders of their chief, Doc Savage’s men are
assembling in Los Angeles. The desert skies are swarming with howling
red things. Has the weather gone mad? Or is something unearthly attacking
the West Coast?

Rushing from his Fortress of Solitude in the North Pole, the Man of
Bronze prepares to confront a threat to humanity unlike any he has ever

Pulp writer Will Murray—author of seven previous Doc Savage adventures—once again teams up with legendary series creator Lester Dent to bring back to life the seminal scientist-superman who starred in his own best-selling pulp magazine back in the 1930s. Doc Savage returns. For real.

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 502 KB
  • Print Length: 271 pages
  • Publisher: Altus Press (14 July 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005LKN09M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #221,533 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Demons 20 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Another dip into the action and adventure of perhaps the first superhero. A rip roaring adventure that harkens back to the classic pulp adventures
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  43 reviews
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Doc Returns! 25 July 2011
By Barry Reese - Published on
This novel kicks off the newest incarnation of Doc Savage, in a series that's billed as The All-New WILD Adventures of Doc Savage. Thankfully, the presentation within isn't nearly as camp as that series title would imply. For all fans of the hero pulps, this book is a really big deal -- it's the first new Doc novel in nearly twenty years and it's a treat from cover to cover. As with most Altus books, it's an oversized paperback -- personally, I would have loved to have seen something closer to the old Bantam books in size but this is certainly easier reading for tired eyes like mine.

The plot is classic Doc: a mysterious "desert demon" cloud descends upon the earth, killing nearly everything in its path. Along the way, we learn that certain prominent people are vanishing and that Doc is soon to be a target of this strangely dangerous "demon." This book is a great reminder of the days when pulp featured one exciting scene after another: if you want to see Doc throwing himself from one moving vehicle to the next, dodging a hail of bullets or flexing his Herculean muscles in an attempt to avoid seemingly certain death... this book is for you.

This novel is based on an outline by Lester Dent and I'd love to have seen how much Murray had to work with -- this certainly reads like Dent, implying that Murray has truly captured the "voice" of Doc just as much as his creator did. At no point in this excellent story did I ever pause for a moment and think that Murray's individual style was peeking through. This reads like a lost Dent story and I mean that in a good way. In general, I prefer authors to take classic characters and interpret them through new eyes but in this case, the pastiche works very well.

The presentation of the book is classy but my copy has several odd issues on the dedication, table of contents and copyright pages -- certain letters are replaced with boxed "x"'s and I was very glad that the problem did not extend into the story itself.

The only thing that bothers me about the book as a whole is the price... When I first heard that Altus was going to be publishing these, I had mixed emotions. On the one hand, I knew it would look good... on the other, I knew it would cost me an arm-and-a-leg to read it in print. This is a 250 page paperback and it costs $24.95 -- about what I generally pay for a hardcover. This is outrageous. Hell, at this price, the damned thing should be turning its own pages. I realize that Altus can charge whatever they can get but ordinarily, I'd tell people to just get this one off or something in hopes of finding it cheaper. As good as it is, no paperback is worth $24.95. But it IS Doc, so I urge all of you to support the endeavor in hopes that we get more classic heroes returning in (hopefully) cheaper packages. My first thought was that Altus had to charge more to cover some sort of licensing fee but since nearly all their other publications cost this much (or more!), I don't think that's the case. That's why I rarely buy Altus, either. People who say that e-books are going to replace print are right for many reasons -- one of them being that it's ridiculous to pay cover price for the print versions. Only old folks like me are going to fork over nearly 30 bucks for a paperback book and even then I felt like my head was going to explode.

Aside from that, however, this book is a treasure and I highly, highly recommend it to pulp fans far and wide. A worthy return of one of pulp's greatest characters.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Trilling Adventure! The Man Of Bronze Is BACK! 28 July 2011
By Andrew Salmon - Published on
Having discovered Doc Savage and the Fabulous Five about 8 years ago, I've been playing catch up ever since. So it was with a great deal of excitement and anticipation that I greeted the release of the first new Doc Savage novel in 18 years. Finally I'd be able to buy a new Doc adventure when it came out!

And I was not disappointed.

If you're a long-time Doc Savage fan, this novel will scratch you right where you itch. Everyone is here, including Pat Savage and the ever-annoying Chemistry and Habeous. If you're looking for a different kind of Doc adventure or a new take on the legendary hero, then you will be sorely disappointed.

That's right Doc fans young, old, novice or veteran... DOC SAVAGE IS BACK! The Doc you remember -- whether it be via those timeless pulp magazines of the 30s/40s, the unforgettable run of Bantam paperbacks from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s or whether you just started picking up the double novel re-issues courtesy of Sanctum Books. Yup, THAT Doc is back in a new adventure from Kenneth Robeson extraordinaire Will Murray.

Based on an original outline by the incomparable Lester Dent, and incorporating a considerable amount of vintage, unused Dent material, The Desert Demons is a worthy and fitting continuation of the Doc Savage legacy. Channeling Dent, Murray has given us an incredible Doc Savage adventure that slips seamlessly into the established canon. No updating, no re-imagining here. This is a classic Doc yarn that will delight fans everywhere.

The plot is classic pulp and classic Doc. Out in Hollywoodland, a mysterious red cloud is swooping down out of the sky, devouring people and machinery alike, causing no end of headaches for film crews and the general population. And Pat Savage has disappeared into this mess. What follows is a rollicking adventure mixing science fact with science fiction while bullets whiz, grenades explode, schemes run rampant and gadgets save the day. All the classic pulp fiction elements are here: breakneck pacing, snappy dialogue and a relentless pace that keeps you turning the pages.

If you're a long time fan I guarantee you this novel will be the read you've been waiting for since the travesty of First Wave. If you've never read a Doc adventure in your life, then why not start here? If you are an adventure junkie, then The Desert Demons is the book for you.

The book is available in multiple formats. There's the softcover for sale here. But there is also a deluxe hardcover edition available through the publisher's website. I opted for the latter and can say that when they say deluxe they aren't kidding around. In the hardback edition, you get a fantastic Afterword in which Murray takes you behind the scenes of the book's creation. Find out precisely where Dent leaves off and Murray takes over in the story. In fact, reproductions of Dent's original typescript pages are included. And it comes with a signed bookplate, including the signatures of Murray, cover artist Joe Devito and a faux signature from Lester Dent himself. Devito also chimes in with an essay about how he came to be associated with the Doc Savage Bantam released in the 90s. If you're a fan of this stuff, then the hardcover may be for you. If not, there is the softcover and an e-book is pending.

Pulp fiction, both classic and new, is all the rage these days and reading The Desert Demons will show you why so many readers embrace this classic adventure prose. The Desert Demons is a stand out addition to the New Pulp movement and, as it is the first of a new series of Doc novels, pulp fans new and old have a ton of fun ahead of them.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doc is Still Savage 22 Feb. 2012
By P. J. Lozito - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been a Doc Savage fan since around 1970. This is the first new Doc Savage material in almost two decades. It was with bated breath that I purchased this brand new volume that Doc scholar Will Murray cobbled together from original author Lester Dent's notes.I was not disappointed.

For maximum effect, especially to recreate the feeling of a 1930s pulp magazine, where Doc Savage got his start, read this all in one or two sittings.
The plot concerns very mystifying "demons" terrorizing California, particularly Hollywood. When Doc's pesky cousin disappears while out west, Doc and his men show up to pierce the veil of this menace and locates the girl. This time they end up on the run from the cops.
You may also get a chuckle out of Mr. Murray's pretty good attempt to bridge the pulp magazine cover hair style of Doc as contrasted with the James Bama widow's peak helmet-of-hair from his Bantam era (spoiler: Doc wears a wig-like protective garment of Clark Gable-like locks over short hair).

There are many outstanding moments, like the grenade being tossed into Doc's fast moving car, the demons harrowing encounter with Doc's airship and, of course, Doc's battle with enraged alligators. I particularly like how certain characters figured what repels and attracts the demons. The true nature of the menace will certainly keep you guessing. The final showdown with the villain is great!
My only criticism is in Mr. Murray's attempting to write as much like Lester Dent gave some of that awkward dialogue often found in Doc Savage adventures. People tend to remind the reader of facts than really talk to each other. If that was his aim, he succeeded. Some dialogue may be stiff but the action never flags. All hail a Doc Savage that has not been made new and improved.
A word about the price of this novel: this trade paperback book retails for $24.95. That's the going price for a hardcover these days. If you have bought used Doc Savage novels or magazines over the years, you owe it to the memory of Lester Dent to buy this.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Glad to see DOC return ... but it feels different 24 Sept. 2011
By M. Spitzer - Published on
I am super excited to see DOC SAVAGE return.
He is my favorite action (and of course pulp) hero of all time.

But for some reason DESERT DEMONS did not really grab my attention and make me want to keep reading it non-stop until I was finished.

In fact, I found myself kind of needing to push myself to read it.
I would read a chapter or two, then put it down.
Then see it sitting there a week or so later and think to myself ..... "I really should finish this".

By contrast, with Murray's earlier Docs and of course the originals, I would often finish them in 1-2 days.

In all fairness, maybe I have gotten older and this affects my approach to pulp style literature.

I noticed a similar problem with the recent new James Bond novel.
It was a labor to motivate myself to finish it.
However, in that case, I realize it was not just me, as the overall reviews of the new Bond were kind of harsh and weeks later when I decided to re-read some of the original Fleming novels which I had not read in 20+ years, I again breezed thru 3 of those in 2 weeks.

I admire Murray for the efforts to bring Doc back, and I enjoyed the story enough to keep supporting his efforts and buying the new planned stories.

In fact, I found the AFTERWORD of Desert Demons a more interesting read as Will describes the 20 year effort to bring Doc Savage back to market.

For me, I think the characters and backdrops may have been just a little over the top for me personally.
We all know the Dent-style characters have a certain camp to them, but the gun-slinging Cowboy running the film studio and others in this story just did not pull me in.

So to summarize, It is GREAT that Will Murray has brought Doc Savage back to life.
Desert Demons captures much of the Doc feel ......... and as I said, to be fair maybe my perceptions are tainted by age and now being close to 50, I don't "see" pulp style literature the same way as I did when I was 11-30 years old.

But while, I can see myself re-reading other Dent and Murray DOC SAVAGE stories in the future, I don't think Desert Demons is one I will ever re-read.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Novel, if a bit long 19 Aug. 2011
By Geographer - Published on
Will Murray provides an excellent continuation of an unfinished Lester Dent novel. The criticism about the use of racial jargon from the 1930s is offbase. The best Doc Savage novels were written in the 1930s. To attempt to "fix" these problems with a sensibility from 2011 is anachronistic at best. Complaining about the crime college is also wrong. It made sense to readers in the 1930s. Will Murray is not writing a Doc Savage novel set in 2011.

I have only two criticisms of the novel: it is too long and the western idiom spoken by Sam gets old really fast. Other than that, this is a welcome addition to the series.

If you are interested in pulp novels with an updated sensibility - try the Gabriel Hunt series from Hard Case Crime.
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