Jon Collins's Reviews > The Pirate's Ghost

The Pirate's Ghost by Kenneth Robeson
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Apr 20, 11

bookshelves: pulp, crime, doc-savage
Read in April, 2011

This was my first foray into the pulp icon that is Doc Savage. Having little point of reference for what is a typical Savage story, I found The Pirate's Ghost to be an enjoyable piece of fleeting entertainment, and not much else.

The draw of the Man of Bronze, as best as I can glean, is not a result of his relate-ability or believability, but rather his personification of a marginally outdated idea of masculinity. Doc Savage and his entourage of super-geniuses are an infallible crime fighting collective that string the reader along not for the thrill of if the protagonists will prevail, but rather how.

The story of The Pirate's Ghost takes Doc Savage & Co. to the desolate frontier that is Death's Valley. A high-profile scientist has recently died and a fervor of rumors begin to emerge regarding his final invention that could have immeasurable implications worldwide.

The secondary characters (non-Savage and cohorts) function more as Western stereotypes designed to solidify the frontier scenery. With names like Sagebrush Smith and Hoke McGee coupled with innumerable variances of cliche utterances such as "Gosh" and "Golly," these characters are never fully developed into anything more than mono-functional plot devices for Doc Savage to navigate.

That being said, the intentions of the Doc Savage series (once again, as much as my minimal familiarity enables me to understand) is not aiming for high-brow intellectual stimulation. It is a dated piece of male-centric escapism, wherein the reader lives vicariously through the serialized exploits of a portrait of perfection.
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