Rating - 2: not worth reading (skip it)
This book epitomizes why the pulps were looked down upon. It is bad in the way only a period piece can be, perfectly fulfilling all the stereotypes without a hint of irony. The storytelling is workmanlike and the story is poor. As such a pristine example of a pulp novel, however, it may have some interest.
Lane is a hard-boiled detective on the trail of a murderer, a murderer who is already dead. Two rich men have been killed by the zombies of their servants, and Lane knows this mysterious Loup-Garou behind it all. He meets a beautiful woman with a heart of brass, but will she bring him to the mastermind behind this fiendish plot or to his own funeral?
Someone had the idea of re-issuing all of L. Ron Hubbard's old pulp fiction. The last quarter of the book is a listing of them, and presumably these "Stories from the Golden Age" will be re-emerging, if they are not already available.
If you were making a parody of the pulps, you could use this as your basis. You only need to push a little harder to make it work. It has everything you need! Steely-eyed detectives who don't take no guff! Exotic foreign mysteries -- from Haiti! Zombies! Murder -- with zombies! Unexpected shootings! Beautiful birds with gorgeous gams -- with zombies! There is even a two-page gratuitous racist joke. Throw in some Nazis and you are there; sadly, Nazis were not a popular antagonist in 1934.
The prose is straightforward enough to make Hemingway look eloquent. If you want hard-hitting action without all that shilly-shallying around with mental acrobatics, than this! Is the book! For! You!
In fairness, that mocks it in entirely the wrong tradition. This is in the noir voice that looks upon zombie attacks with a grimace and a scowl, not a field of exclamation points. Oh, they are there, how they are there, but they are used selectively to mark scenes.
You could make a shooting script from this almost directly. Everything is pretty clearly described, and it already reads a bit like a story where important information has been edited out for the screen. Wherever you see an exclamation point, cut the scene and/or go to the rising music. You know the flourishing music that accompanies a Surprise! Revelation! Whoa, who expected that knife to appear there?!
The scenes are described so clearly that you can see bad acting under poor direction in your head. Loup-Garou in the car is just a perfect nickelodeon serial villain, filmed on the first take.
This is exactly what you should expect from a pulp novel. As a work of literature? Poor, very very poor. On the other hand, the novelty and the paucity of it can carry you along. Writing the review was more fun than reading the book, but I could not have done it without you, L. Ron.
This is normally where an Amazon link would go, but I cannot find one. I cannot even find a link on the publisher's site. Much luck to you.