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Spy Killer (Stories from the Golden Age)

2.97 of 5 stars 2.97  ·  rating details  ·  276 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Kurt Reid may be innocent of the murder he's charged with (and of grand larceny, for that matter), but he's got no time to be thrown in jail and defend himself. Instead, Reid flees to pre-Communist China and Shanghai, the exotic city of mystery and death.Reid takes refuge in a tea house where he meets White Russian Varinka Savischna, whom he manages to rescue from certain...more
Paperback, Large Print, 160 pages
Published May 3rd 2011 by ReadHowYouWant (first published April 1936)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 712)
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Jim
I received a free copy of this book via the Goodreads First Reads program.

Spy Killer comes from the great pulp fiction era of the 1930's and 40's. Originally published in 1936, this spy story is one of those action-on-every-page books that you don't want to put down until you finish. In James Bond-like fashion, the hero, Kurt Reid is quick with his fists, deadly accurate with a gun, and always gets the girl. Falsely accused of murder, he jumps ship in Shanghai and instantly finds himself caught...more
Terri
This has been an interesting experience. Unannounced and unordered, a box of books appeared at my school library doorstep from Galaxy press, a "charitable donation." That's always a red flag. Then I saw the cover - L. Ron Hubbard and a racist image. Those were red flags as well. L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology and the Sea Operation fame - controversial and kooky at best. I thought this would be a fun "test" for my Book Club kids. I gave them a copy of the book and "The Golden Gazette" that accompa...more
Shauna
Kurt Reid is a man on the run, accused of a crime he didn't commit.
Kurt Reid is angered by what doesn't make him "feel strong or masculine".
Kurt Reid is torn between two beautiful ladies- American ingenue and a Russian femme fatale. He 'loves' them both.
*cue eye roll*
The way things were going I was sure the ladies (who were friends) would end up suggesting some sort of polygamous arrangement for the three of them… and why not? Kurt Reid had seemingly represented every other man's man ideal th...more
EZRead eBookstore
Gunfire, muscles, and Benedict Arnolds abound, it’s time yet again for a pulp fiction review! Kurt Reid, our hero in “Spy Killer” is a bucko sailor looking scratch the itch of helping damsels in distress. He also has the misfortunate habit of being arrested by practically every Chinese and Japanese soldier who lays eyes on him. When Varinka Savischna appears and gives him a job to do in Shanghai, our meaty man is drawn in like a cat to catnip. This EZ Reader would have just sailed back to the go...more
Krycek
Dec 06, 2012 Krycek rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pulp fiction completionists
[Thanks go to Goodreads and Galaxy Press for offering this title as a first-reads giveaway]

I think most people know of L. Ron Hubbard as the Scientology guy and for the sci-fi novels Battlefield Earth and the Mission Earth series. Before all that, though, he apparently was a pretty prolific writer for pulp magazines in the '30s and '40s, writing not only science fiction, but a wide range of adventure fiction.

This review is on the Galaxy Press title Spy Killer which I won as a Goodreads giveaway...more
Craig
This short novel was originally published in FIVE NOVELS MONTHLY magazine in 1936, and has been brought back with the original cover and interior illustrations. The Galaxy Press editions that I've seen are all quite handsome volumes. It's listed in the Tales From the Orient section of their catalogue, which is accurate although the basics of the plot could have been told in just about any setting with a few minor adjustments. I never got much of a "feel" for China from the story, honestly. It's...more
Mounica
This is definitely not the kind of the book I usually read: it’s pulp fiction, it’s a mystery story, and it’s an audio book. I wouldn’t have given this book a second glance if it wasn’t for the free copy I received from Galaxy Press. I really enjoyed the experience. It was a wonderful thriller, and I was so caught up in the action and suspense that I didn’t see the twist coming. The recordings were excellent. Different actors played the characters, and music and sound effects accompanied the nar...more
Christopher
May 04, 2014 Christopher rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
Well, L. Ron Hubbard is at it again. This time with some Oriental spy adventures! What can I say about this "book"...

First of all, "Galaxy Press" is asking a cool $9.95 for this book. Lucky for me, not only did I receive this (along with several others from the same "Stories from the Golden Age" collection) as a gift, but I was also informed they were purchased at the local Job Lot for about $2 each. That being said, several of the other books contain 3 to 4 stories under one theme, such as scie...more
Jackie
Nov 12, 2008 Jackie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jackie by: free copy from Galaxy Press to YALSA members
Told as if in a 1930's spy movie, Spy Killer by L. Ron Hubbard is full of espionage and intrigue. Killers and spies are not who they seem, the locations are exotic, the men are strong and resourceful and the women, beautiful yet cunning. Historical notes are in included in the back of this fast-paced-action pulp fiction novelette. Thanks to Galaxy Press for this free re-release of this book.
Thomas
"Spy Killer" is a classic L. Ron Hubbard story from 1936. Published prior to the wave of espionage novels inspired by Eric Ambler's "A Coffin for Dimitrios" in 1939, Hubbard had anticipated the espionage genre's popularity with this startling tale. "Spy Killer" is a well-written thriller, and readers will encounter the mysterious Russian woman Varinka Savischna. Hubbard's blazing talent is evident in beautiful lines like this: "The steam which rose from her cup of tea was not less illusive than...more
Juliet
This was a fun read. There is an unexpected twist at the end that pulls everything together.

I have come to appreciate the short high impact stories of this era. I can see why the "pulp" fiction was so popular during the depression years.

Definitely worth giving it a read - highly recommended.
Kit★
I picked up a few books of this author's at the dollar store. I thought they looked neat with the pulp art covers. I decided to read this one first, it sounded interesting and totally different from my usual reads. Plus the short length enticed me, I wasn't feeling like jumping into any long books yesterday. I was actually surprised that it was shorter even than it looked. The story itself was only 88 pages. There was a couple page introduction in the beginning, a 10 page sample of another story...more
Pat



The book Spy Killer by L. Ron Hubbard was an interesting book. This book is a mystery fiction about an American sailor, Kurt Reid, living in Shanghai, China in the late 1930s. He is framed for the murder of the captain of his ship, and forced to go under cover for the Chinese military. While under cover he becomes friends with a very secretive Russian women and an old girlfriend of his. This book has both an internal and external conflict. The internal conflict is this mans choice between two w...more
James
Spy Killer

The Spy Killer is another one of the pulp fiction stories from L. Ron Hubbard, this time originally published in the late 1930s, before the USA got into World War II, Japan was occupying areas of China and one Kurt Reid was found on the streets of Shanghai, sopping wet and escaping the police.

Why? He's accused of a murder he did not commit, runs into a Russian spy (who happens to be a gorgeous woman, of course) and gets tangled into a conflict between her and a Chinese gangster.

Seems...more
Nick Dolan
Yeah, I don't know what I expected. "Spy Killer" had its charm but Kevin J. Anderson's introduction makes me want to give this zero stars. It compares Hubbard to Shakespeare, Dickens, Hemingway, etc. You should also know that the publisher, Galaxy Press, is owned by the Church of Scientology. If you don't want to support the church, don't buy this book. You won't be missing much.
Anthony
An American sailor on a ship in Shanghai Harbor is accused of a crime he didn't commit. He manages to escape and gets caught up in a spy-and-criminal plot involving tensions between the Chinese and Japanese and two beautiful women: an American ingenue and a Russian femme fatale. This was my least favorite. I struggled with Hubbard's tendency to refer to every character by their full name every time they appear. It's always Kurt Reid, Varinka Savischna, Anne Carsten, Lin Wang. Even when they refe...more
Kelly Hager
Most people--if they know the name at all--know Hubbard as "the Scientology guy." But apparently before Scientology, he wrote a ton of books. He wrote mysteries, science fiction and spy tales.

Spy Killer is about Kurt, who has been accused of murder. (I'm guessing there's a series about him, because Spy Killer read like being plopped in the middle of someone else's conversation.) To avoid being executed, he's told to kill a traitor...except it turns out the traitor is this woman he just met and...more
J. Ewbank
This book is like a lot of Hubbard's books in this genre, there is a lot of action. The characters are interesting and the plot is good. Those who like the action packed Hubbard novels will like this one.

J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the Isms" "Wesley's Wars" and "To Whom It May Concern"
Scarlett Sims
I actually "read" this as a full cast audio CD, but that edition wasn't available to add.
I haven't read a whole lot of mid-century pulp spy novels, but this was pretty much exactly what I expected it would be. I'm not sure whether the audio enhanced the experience for me or not. Usually I like the addition of sound effects and voices, but some of the accents seemed to be on the same level as Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Obviously this book is a product of it's time so a lot of the wa...more
Shannon McGee
We find the protagonist, Kurt Reid, reflecting over his past. He is at a nightclub watching a beautiful woman from across the way. He starts up a conversation. That is his first mistake. This could cost his life. Now he running around Japan trying to find someone to trust.

I am not a big fan of pulp mystery but I figured this would be better then Hubbard’s Science Fiction. It was and it wasn’t. I found myself skimming a lot of description because it seemed like one page he was getting away from t...more
Brentin
First, I listened to this novel on Audible. It was my first fiction novel so I'll address those aspects first. The narrator was very clear but had a tendency to rush during the "action" scenes. There were multiple actors doing the dialogue of the various characters, which I'm not sure how I feel about. However, there are good long pauses between chapters making for easy stopping points.

as for the novel itself, it's fairly cliche. A man on the run accused of a crime he didn't commit, a beautiful...more
Bill Fletcher
Can't help it -- I really love L. Ron Hubbard's pulp fiction. This one is about as politically incorrect as you can get but it didn't stop me from reading it through in one sitting. And then buying a whole collection of them!
Maria
Kurt Reid has escaped lock up on a ship, and false charges of murder, to jump off to Shanghai. While there he meets White Russian Varinka Savischana who recruits him on a mysterious mission.

Why I picked this book up: Galaxy Press was handing out free sets of books to those that were willing to host one book club at their library and report back with the results. They are busy reprinting some of the pulp fiction from the 1930s & 1940s and I hoped that it would be popular in our library.

Why I...more
Chelsea
This was a short, amusing read from an interesting genre, but it was expectedly unsurprising. Plot developments were often laughable, but it was a fun little story nonetheless.
Leslie
Surprisingly enjoyable pulp fiction set in Shanghai. A touch more graphic violence than I like but not enough to turn me off.
Josh Hamacher
Managing to put aside my distaste for L. Ron Hubbard and his legacy of Scientology, I downloaded this as a free book to my Kindle. I wasn't really aware that Hubbard was quite an accomplished pulp author in his early years and figured it was worth checking out. It's a very short book, a very fast read, and it's not horrible. Being a pulp, it has the larger-than-life protagonist, the supporting cast of stereotypes, and the paper-thin plot full of twists. And yet, I rather enjoyed it. I can't even...more
Ivan
Thanks you Goodreads and Galaxy Press for this title as a first-reads giveaway. I won this a long time ago and finally got to reading it. I don't know why I didn't sooner since it is such a quick and easy read. The story moved along quickly with face pace. This story was good at first then halfway through I just lost a bit interest. I liked the setting, but it just felt rushed and I guess that's what these types of books were like back then. Pulp Fiction that went straight to the point and did i...more
Judy
In addition to reading this pulp novel, the free Kindle download had a lot of information about the author, L Ron Hubbard, one of the most prolific pulp authors of the 1930s-1940s. In addition, Hubbard was what can be called a "renaissance man." He was skilled in a lot of fields, but is probably known more for his ability to churn out thousands of words a day. This book, "Spy Killer," was a typical one -- filled with adventure and danger. I will try to read more by him, just to get to know hime...more
deela n'Erth
alurnya keren!
ending yang tak terduga!
wow!
aku nggak nyangka bakal kayak gitu endingnya.
twist banget >.<
Nick
A fun spy thriller, very short, from the pulp era. Not great literature, but certainly a quick and enjoyable read, if you want a spy story from the heyday of pulp fiction.
A sailor, after being framed for a murder, is mysteriously allowed to escape into the war and intrigue of China in the 1930s. Evil warlords, beautiful spies and a host of other standard types travel through the story at breakneck speed. Mostly standard stuff, but a few clever surprises keep the story fresh.
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33503
L. Ron Hubbard was a popular pulp writer of science fiction, fantasy, adventure, mysteries and westerns during the 1930s and later founder of Dianetics and Scientology.

Known Pseudonyms:
Frederick Engelhardt
Kurt von Rachen
Rene LaFayete/Rene La Fayette/René Lafayette
Frankie Rohne
More about L. Ron Hubbard...
Battlefield Earth The Invaders Plan (Mission Earth, #1) Black Genesis (Mission Earth, #2) The Enemy Within (Mission Earth, #3) An Alien Affair (Mission Earth, #4)

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