Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Devil, Devil by Michael Avallone (Satan Sleuth 3)

Devil, Devil
by Michael Avallone
Satan Sleuth 3
1975 Warner Paperback

Philip St. George is the Satan Sleuth, another in a seemingly long line of useless occult detectives who end up doing more harm than good, though to be fair, given Avallone's idiosyncrasies, this may have been on purpose.

St. George is a pretty self-conscious Doc Savage homage, down to his bronze skin and hidden explosive buttons, and a magnificent schlong as Lester Dent only wished he could have described.  A wealthy adventurer, he dedicated himself to exposing fake occultist and satanic cults after his wife and child were murdered in the first book.

Here he faces a satanic cult of wealthy socialites, coerced by Sister Sorrow and kept in place through a series of human sacrifices.  And by face I mean get captured by and run away from.

St. George is made aware of the cult by a lady in distress who promptly dies under mysterious circumstances.  He attempts to infiltrate the cult, gets captured, escapes, karate kicks a cat, lets Sister Sorrow escape, and calls it a night.  Sister Sorrow, who was like a wall behind where St. George could have looked for her if he bothered, steps on his explosive buttons and the entire top of the building is destroyed, including the cult's innocent hostage St. George didn't bother rescuing.

And that's it.  Maybe two chapters of a Doc Savage story padded out to 174 pages by the generous use of a thesaurus and dramatic line breaks.

Like this one.

And this.

Almost every sentence is its own paragraph.

Which eats up a lot of page count.

This tactic is slightly less effective for ebooks - the usually generous page count on Amazon is 155.

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