Thursday, 23 August 2012

Review - The Carnival of Death

The Carnival of Death
By L. Ron Hubbard
Publisher: Galaxy Press
ASIN: 978-1592122684
Pub Date: February 11, 2011
Running Time: 2 Hours 
Directors: Jim Meskimen and Tait Ruppert
Voice Cast: Jim Meskimen, R.F. Daley, Jason Faunt, Christina Huntington, Lori Jablons and Tait Ruppert.
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Carnival-Death-Stories-Golden-Age/dp/159212268X/

Galaxy Press was nice enough to send me another package of audiobooks from their Stories From The Golden Age series, which are all written by legendary author L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986) and were published in Pulp Magazines during the 1930s and 1940s (aka The Golden Age). This time around I was sent six two discs audiobooks (in which a few have two or more stories), which all them are in the mystery/suspense genre.

I picked out The Carnival of Death to review first because I was intrigued by the creepy cover of death strangling a woman. The story originally appeared in the November 1934 issue of Popular Detective, and tells the tale of a US narcotics agent Bob Clark going undercover as a security guard at Shreve's Mammoth Carnival as there was rumors of drugs being sold by someone there. Just when he thought he had a lead, several gruesome murders occur. All of the victims were decapitated!

Bob has the murderers figured out quickly as they had to be the four tribal headhunters in the circus, but the headhunters disappear without a trace. More victims are found. Bob must trust no one if he is to catch the real killer.

The Carnival of Death is a long story, around ninety minutes or so, and I was hooked into the plot after the first minute. There are so many twists and turns that are thrown at Bob Clark throughout the story. What I liked most about the story is that I couldn't figure out who the killer was until the very ending.

There is one other tale in this audiobook titled The Death Flyer running about half an hour. Unlike the first story that falls in the mystery genre, The Death Flyer is more horror than anything else. It originally appeared in the Fantasy magazine April 1936 issue, where the main character Jim Bellamy finds himself stuck to a train track, in which a person would not want to be stuck there as a train had crashed on those tracks years ago. A train is coming towards him in a hurry, but it stops in nick of time and the engineer helps Jim get free from the tracks. The engineers allow him to aboard the train, but Jim soon realizes that the train's occupants may be the undead.

The Death Flyer is a freaky ghost story with an even freakier ending. It would have made an excellent episode of the Twilight Zone. I actually got goose bumps down my arms as I listened to this haunting tale. In my opinion, it is better than The Carnival of Death, even though I still liked that story too. I recommend this audiobook to all readers who enjoy a good mystery and a chilling ghost story.






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