Read Spy Killer (Stories from the Golden Age) by L. Ron Hubbard Online


American Sailor Kurt Reid is a hothead and a hard case—a man who hits first and asks questions later.  As scrappy and rough around the edges as Jimmy Cagney, it’s no wonder that when the ship’s captain turns up dead, it’s Reid who takes the rap.Falsely accused and under the gun, Reid jumps ship and vanishes into Shanghai —only to get caught in a web of intrigue, betrayal,American Sailor Kurt Reid is a hothead and a hard case—a man who hits first and asks questions later.  As scrappy and rough around the edges as Jimmy Cagney, it’s no wonder that when the ship’s captain turns up dead, it’s Reid who takes the rap.Falsely accused and under the gun, Reid jumps ship and vanishes into Shanghai —only to get caught in a web of intrigue, betrayal, and murder.  In a world where nothing is what it seems and everything is for sale, he’s soon out of his depth, drawn into a spy game in which the winner takes all . . . and the loser takes a knife to the back.Will Reid live up to his reputation as the Spy Killer? He’ll have to learn the rules fast, because with players like sexy Russian agent Varinka Savischna in the hunt, the game is about to turn as seductive as it is sinister. As a young man, Hubbard visited pre-Communist China three times, where his closest friend headed up British intelligence.  In a land where communists, nationalists, war lords and foreign adventurers schemed for control, Hubbard gained a unique insight into the intelligence operations and spy-craft in the region—a knowledge that informs stories like Spy Killer. “Vividly written, super-fast-paced.” —Ellery Queen...

Title : Spy Killer (Stories from the Golden Age)
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781592123025
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 121 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Spy Killer (Stories from the Golden Age) Reviews

  • Ross Blocher
    2019-05-21 09:21

    I got this a while back as a free download on the Nook. My biggest question now is why Bridge Publications would choose this L. Ron Hubbard story to share widely. It is not the sort of story you offer in hopes of garnering a wider audience - it's precisely the sort of thing you hide for being poorly written and racist. Originally published in Five Novels Monthly in 1936, it's the pulp writing you expect from a penny-per-word gig: heavy on action, but light on any kind of underlying theme or message. I've heard or read roughly seven similar stories by L. Ron Hubbard, and would recommend any of those before this one.Spoilers ahead, if this can be spoiled... Kurt Reid is a tall, dashing sailor who's on the run because he's been falsely accused of murdering a boat captain. He's stranded in China, but it's okay... he was raised in the Orient and knows "the yellow countries and their languages". He quickly gets embroiled in more danger and a web of intrigue - the evil Lin Wang extracts a confession that could exonerate Kurt from the murder charge, but then sends him on a murder mission in order to win his freedom. The target turns out to be Varinka Savischna, a beautiful Russian woman who Kurt doesn't want to kill. He teams up with her, but now must decide between her and another beautiful woman, Anne Carsten. When he and Varinka escape from immediate peril at the hands of a Chinese Death Squad, she convinces him to help her kill a car full of "Chinese" and pretend to be one to double-cross Lin Wang. Varinka has the supplies to help Kurt disguise himself:...She showed him that she had phials of dye secreted in the belt - a part of a spy's equipment. She made him rub it on his face and hands. She fixed a small band behind his ears which pulled his eyes up at the corners, giving them a slant.The disguise is apparently flawless, fooling the "dull-faced Chinese and Mongols who were interested only in minding their own business" at close range. Kurt infiltrates Lin Wang's fortress, only to find that Lin Wang has Anne Carsten captive, and the disgusting little "Chinese" is intent on molesting her:And you said I was loathesome. Oh, but you did. And if you didn't say it, I saw it in your eyes. It's there now. You think I am ugly, but I can be very pleasant. Very pleasant.Lin Wang discovers the double-crossing plot, so Kurt kills him. After escaping with Anne, he learns she's been hiding another secret: she was Varinka all along! She had been using the same makeup-and-wig disguise to fool him, the Chinese, AND the Japanese (they're involved, too). Now he's free to ride off with her into the sunset.The constant plot shifts are only surprising because every character is lying or some kind of double-agent, and one doesn't really care enough to extrapolate forward. Some really bad writing includes gems like, "Captain Yang loomed over him like a mountain which has a summer house at its summit." Or consider this description of Lin Wang:But the eyes were the worst. They were not black, they were an unhealthy, mud blue color, like bichloride of mercury. The lids were half lowered over the protruding pupils.Beside being bad writing, it exemplifies Hubbard's use of awkward terms like "bichloride of mercury", devoid of context (at least here he tells us that's a muddy blue color), to show off some technical term he has learned about sailing, aviation, or what-have-you. Thankfully, as with all Hubbard works, a glossary is included.

  • Terri
    2019-04-22 09:05

    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 accompanied the book. I didn't say anything about the cover or the author. I told them to see what they could find out about the author and something called "pulp fiction." We will see what they come up with.For a good discussion of what "pulp fiction" is see: If "pulp fiction" is synonymous with "short," "fast paced" or "poor quality writing," "Spy Killers" is successful on all levels. And if one reads the book through the lens of the common man of 1930's America, this book is/was successful on many levels. The relationship between China and Japan and the U.S. at the time might explain some of the sentiment here. Language like "chop-chop" or "yellow countries" or"round faced, slit eyed proprietor," "yellow devils," or "coolie" might work within the context of the times. However, the reason for re-introducing these books in 2012 must be purely economics. Read through the lens of an educated individual of the 2010's, this book was pretty much trash. Lots of racist, sexist language and situations. Most contemporary Americans will have thin knowledge of what was happening historically at the time - the tension between Chinese Nationalists and Communists, the tension between China and Japan, and the unwillingness of Americans to get involved in the affairs of China at the risk of angering the Japanese. This lack of understanding might only serve to perpetuate old stereotypes.There book is purely plot driven, and even that is thin. Things happen way too coincidentally and quickly with little build-up or explanation. There is little in the way of character development. The author tends to concentrate on the physical qualities of the characters only. And gender stereotypes abound, as do stereotypes about the West versus the East. The writing, in terms of the use of figurative language, is sometimes pretty good and at other times crazy bad. Consider this simile: "Captain Yang loomed over him like a mountain which has a summer house at its summit." Awkward. Or this: "But his eyes were the worst. They were not black, they were an unhealthy, mud blue color, like bichloride of mercury." "Bichloride of mercury?" Really? The violence is described pretty graphically and in detail - glorified really. The writing is just plain crap.Anyway, I think this ought to be a great discussion. I am interested in seeing what my high school readers come up with on this one. It will be interesting to see if the red flags appeared to them as well.

  • Jim
    2019-05-18 07:22

    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 up in the spy game of Chinese war lords, Japanese officers, and a Russian spy who seems to be working both sides against the middle. A fun romp and worth the read for those who put action and adventure over introspection and purple prose.And yes, it's by that L. Ron Hubbard. Long before he wrote Dianetics, Hubbard was churning out the stories for the pulp fiction market. An interesting look at his career before he founded his Scientology organization.

  • Shauna
    2019-04-27 12:18

    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 the author had ever entertained. (view spoiler)[Surprise, surprise, the two women were one in the same, Kurt Reid had simply failed to notice. But then,(hide spoiler)] Kurt Reid is not the brightest bulb.The number of Kurt Reid's in this review bothering you yet? Then you may not enjoy Hubbard's tendency to refer to his characters by their full name each and every time they appear. Gets old fast.I picked Spy Killers up, because it was available free at and I was curious as to what a book by the father of scientology might be like. Pretty terrible, actually... though I am adding a star for all of the unintentional (I'm assuming) humor.

  • Logan
    2019-05-04 14:26

    This review covers the audio book version. My first audio book with sound effects! That was exciting. The numerous fist fights, gunfire exchanges, and characters walking through doors really came to life as I listened to this. The music between chapters was pretty fun too. Unfortunately, the voice acting (and some of the writing itself) struck me as terribly racist and offensive. The characters all fit into neat little stereotypes. There's nothing deep or challenging about any aspect of the story. All that said, it was kind of fun to listen to and laugh at, much as Kurt Reed (not sure if it's just this story or all L. Ron Hubbard stuff, but if you hear a character's first name, expect the last name to be dropped as well) laughs off basically everything that goes wrong. That might be the only truly positive thing I took away from it. Heroes laugh in the face of adversity. Cool. I'll keep that in mind.

  • Craig
    2019-05-19 14:17

    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 a fast-paced tale with a surprisingly intricate plot. There's a twist at the end that caught me by surprise, one of those things that should have been obvious in hindsight but was so well hidden that I was taken by surprise at how well everything tied up.

  • Krycek
    2019-05-07 10:23

    [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 (my first--yay!  I don't think I have won anything since that raffle in elementary school). I'm going to be clear from the start thatthere might be some possible spoilers in the review and I'm not going to tag/hide them because I honestly don't think it matters a whole hell of a lot. Just letting you know. If you avoid spoilers at all cost you might want to stop reading now. Spy Killer is about this sailor named Kurt Reid who is accused of killing his captain and stealing the ship's loot. So he jumps ship and finds himself in Shanghai as a penniless fugitive. While in Shanghai he meets a beautiful Russian woman named Varinka and an old flame called Ann Carsten and gets himself embroiled in a plot by the nationalist Chinese to kill a colonial Japanese spy. Wow, Kurt Reid is having a bad day. But I couldn't care too much because, you see, Kurt Reid is an idiot.He is "renown for a temper as hot and swift as a glowing rapier" and is a "bucko" sailor. The little glossary in the back of the book says "bucko" means "a person who is domineering and bullying." In other words, Kurt Reid is an asshole. In fact, that is a better description of him than "bucko." He's just a big, dumb, asshole bully, basically. Funny thing is Kurt Reid is supposed to be a big hero in the tradition of manly men among men. However, astute readers can pick up on Kurt Reid's inner lout in such passages as:Funny girl, that Russian. She had kept him from questioning her by the sheer force of her personality. She seemed to have some numbing power over him which fell as tangible as a cloak.He felt angry at that. It didn't make him feel strong or masculine.And Kurt Reid needs to feel strong and masculine, people. Oh, yeah, but I said that he was an idiot, right? Right. He is. He's always like three steps behind whenever some kind of revealing moment occurs. Like:There is Takeki [the spy he was supposed to kill], foreigner," said the officer again.Kurt swallowed hard.He was staring at Varinka Savischna [The Russian lady].Four pages later, after some food and conversation:The food gagged him suddenly. He realized then that this Takeki and Varinka were one and the same person.Wow, it took him that long? I had to reread those pages because I thought I had missed something, but no. Kurt Reid really is that dumb. There is no doubt about this by the time you get to the end of the story because, get this, Varinka and Kurt's old flame Anne Carsten are the same woman. Yeah!  She was in disguise as the Russian woman! That's why Kurt never recognized his old girlfriend! Makes sense! No, it doesn't! Yes, it does, because KURT REID IS AN IDIOT.But okay, so what? So the guy is a few bricks shy of a load. So he's dumber than a bag of dirt. So what if the plot is no more intelligent. This is pulp fiction after all, written for light entertainment. It's the equivalent of watching WWE. There's no harm in that. I was thinking this might turn out to be a two star book because of this, but as I read more serious issues nagged at me until they basically hit me in the face with a hammer and I stared at the book in disbelief for a moment. I will describe this event.In a bit.But first I have to say that I understand that this story was written in the 1930s and some amount of racism is to be expected. I'm sure in those times you were weird if you weren't a little racist. I like to think that modern readers are much more enlightened and understanding about different people and cultures and that we can recognize when we are reading something inappropriate. But the thing is the really great pulp writers went beyond this. H.P. Lovecraft, as I understand, was pretty racist, even for that period in time, but it wasn't obvious in his fiction. Robert E. Howard's stories featured people from a diverse range of cultures and while many of his stories would be considered racist by today's standards, his themes often transcended racial stereotypes. Spy Killer, though, does not.Ah, the "Golden Age," when men were men, women were sultry and Asians were yellow and slit-eyed.Like I say, I sort of expect that in a story from this time, but it doesn't help to make it any more relevant for modern readers. Still, I was willing to accept that this story was a product of its age until the big moment when I got hit in the face with the stupid hammer. Kurt Reid is provided with a spy's disguise kit:He stopped and she showed him that he had phials of dye secreted in the belt--part of a spy's equipment. She made him rub it on his face and hands. She fixed a small band behind his ears which pulled his eyes up at the corners, giving them a slant.Voila, instant Asian. Easier than ramen noodles. Yeah, it was pretty offensive. I can't really imagine why any publisher would think that it would be a good idea to reprint this book.Oh, wait-- maybe it's because of the little biography of L. Ron Hubbard that reads like a Kim Jong-Il propaganda piece. Imagine if James Bond, Indiana Jones and Ernest Hemingway somehow merged their DNAs into a lovechild and this lovechild became a rockstar brain surgeon that solved world hunger. That's basically how awesome they portray L. Ron Hubbard to have been. I'll be honest, I don't buy it. (Strangely enough, there is no mention of Dianetics or Scientology. Seems like these are significant things, but it only refers to his "serious research.")Even if he was that awesome, why would such an awesome dude write something as sucky as Spy Killer?

  • EZRead eBookstore
    2019-05-07 08:07

    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 good ol’ US of A.Kurt Reid is a man of action throughout, but I actually argue that this book is about Varinka Savischna. Sure, Kurt is fighting for his life throughout, but Varinka is like the puppet master when it comes to spying and intrigues. It’s a combo of brains and brawn, except Varinka has brains, more brains, and a side of brawn. Kurt just happens to attract great action scenes.Compared to my other pulp reads (“Dead Men Kill” and “The Baron of Coyote River”), “Spy Killer” felt a little more gritty, and had more plot twists than 88 pages have ever seen before. I think part of the grody grittiness was due in part to the villain, Lin Wang, who warrants a description with words like: “leprosy”, “unhealthy”, and “protruding.” In fact, if I were to type up the way this man was described in full, this review would receive an “R” rating. Even the delicious description of punching zombies in “Dead Men Kill” has nothing on the limping, dead-eyed Wang. On the plus side, “Spy Killer” did have a nice element of romance, unavoidable considering how naturally hunky Kurt is. It’s not “The Notebook”, but there is somewhat of a love triangle between Kurt, Varinka, and his old flame Anne Carsten. You’ll have to read it to understand what I mean by “somewhat”.A fast read for pulp fiction fans and people who are just generally interested in gunfire, “The Spy Killer” has a classic feel with an action movie style, and makes for a great afternoon dose of adrenaline.Considering naming myself Varinka, EZ Read Staffer Jenifer

  • Mounica
    2019-05-23 13:19

    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 narration. Great for a long drive.

  • Jackie
    2019-05-02 12:17

    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.

  • Juliet
    2019-05-21 12:20

    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.

  • Happyginger1
    2019-05-10 14:09

    At first, when I saw the book, the cover looked very racist. But I like murder mysteries so I gave it a try. It was OK. The book was not well worded or structured. But it was fast paced from the first page to the last page. Kurt Reid was a very interesting man... and was accused for something he didn't do. The character was not well wrote. There was a lot of unanswered questions.

  • Jay Carper
    2019-04-29 07:26

    Pulp is rightSpy Killer is an entertaining story as long as you don't expect too much. A few points stretched believability beyond the breaking point. If you can overlook that, then you will probably enjoy it.

  • Kit★
    2019-04-23 13:18

    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 in the back, plus a glossary of terms that was a couple pages long. So I flew through this story right quick. Kurt Reid is the old-fashioned stereotypical manly man. Good with his fists, good with a gun, good at being a jerk... I didn't mind him though. Sure he wasn't the cleverest crayon in the pack, but he was not bad. I rather liked how he wasn't real smart, it kept me guessing just like him. Now, I'll say right off that I know absolutely nothing of Chinese or Japanese history, why they were in conflict in the time period of this story. It was still interesting though for me, having the book set there. Not a setting I'm used to reading about at all. Of course the author reflected the times the story was written in and was not very PC, but I'm glad the publisher didn't fix or edit that stuff out like Harlequin did in re-releasing their 60th anniversary vintage collection (which were way more pulp-y and less romance than the Harlequins of today). It probably would've messed up the whole feel of the story. As it was, I could envision it like one of those old-fashioned movies, in black and white of course.I liked the action, there was plenty of narrow escapes, gunfights, captures, and whatnot. I also liked the twist at the end of who Varinka really was. I totally wasn't expecting that, and it made me grin a little. This story was nothing amazing, but it entertained me, and was a quick read. I'm glad I read it. I have three more books by this author on the TBR, and will definitely get to them soon. Two of them are Westerns, and one looks like it might be fantasy-type or something, so I'm curious to see how I will like them.

  • Christopher
    2019-05-15 10:30

    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 science fiction or western. This one, "Spy Killer", unfortunately contains only one story of the same title. There are 121 pages in the book, not counting the forward, and this story makes up barely 89 pages of that! Now ask yourself, is that worth the asking price of ten dollars?Regardless, the story just isn't that good. The main character is a drag with mysterious motives, often times I found myself wondering what his motivation was to do anything. Without spoiling too much, the twist was the saving grace of this one, and of course like all early Hubbard works, it is very easy-reading pulp material. I would recommend picking up a different book from the series, one with a few stories packed into the pages, or honestly a different author all together. Hubbard was sort of a jack of all trades, master of none guy, he claims to have written in all these different genres, but with his style it all sort of blurs together. Nice try ronnie boy.

  • Truly
    2019-05-21 07:08

    Para penulis majalah picisan, yang terbaik dari mereka, tidak menulis untuk para kritikus atau berusaha menyenangkan pengiklan yang malu-malu. Tanpa perlu menanggapi siapa pun selain pembaca mereka, mereka menulis tentang manusia hingga ke bagian-bagian yang tidak diketahui, ke daerah-daerah baru yang di masa depan akan dijelajahi. Merke menulis tentang apa yang akan terjadi pada kita, bukan tentang apa yang pernah kita alami.Paragraf itu saya ambil dari Pendahuluan yang ada pada buku ini. Dengan judul Kisah-kisah dari Masa Keemasan Fiksi Picisan, buku ini makin mencuri perhatian saya.Ceritanya saat bongkar-bongkar rak buku pada bagian yang terjauh (ehem) menemukan buku mungil ini tergeletak di bagian belum dibaca. Otomatis saya langsung berpikir, kenapa buku ini saya beli dan akan dibaca suatu saat, jika belum juga dibaca kenapa masih ada dalam timbunan. Pasti ada sesuatu yang istimewa. Maka memutuskan untuk mulai membaca.Kisahnya tentang seorang pelaut yang cepat marah bernama Kurt Reid. Ia dijebak berapa di tempat terjadinya pembunuhan, maka tak heran jika ia dituduh melakukannya. Demi berusaha menyelamatkan diri, ia lari ke Cina.

  • Pat
    2019-05-07 14:31

    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 women in his life, and the external conflict is his battle to get his life back. I think this book was written pretty well, the action sequences were especially done well, but everything else was not that great. The Action sequences in books are my favorite parts of books, so overall I really liked it. This book was similar to Sherlock Holmes because it had great mystery and suspense. Sherlock Holmes and Kurt Reid had some differences but they both made great mystery solvers. Each surprise in this book made it very hard to put down. I recommend this book to anyone who likes action and mystery books, and anyone who likes Sherlock Holmes books. I also liked how this book turned out, just because there was a happy and surprising ending. Word Count: 225

  • James
    2019-05-20 11:27

    Spy KillerThe 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 like a complex plot -- it is -- but it flows well at its 88 pages. The pulps usually ran these kinds of stories through several magazines, but here the reader gets to read it all in one go. The reading is fairly easy, and any words used at that time are clarified in a glossary in the back. The most gruesome scenes are the torture scenes as fingernails are being ripped out by pliers or guys are getting shot messily between the eyes. Surprisingly graphic tales for the kids of the old days. Recommended.

  • Anthony
    2019-05-04 13:18

    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 refer to each other, it's by full names and never just first names. It was so distracting that it's all I can remember of the story -- I know tensions mount and all comes out well in the end for Our Hero, but at this point I can't even tell you if he ends up with either of the women. I was actually afraid, having read this one first, to continue on to the others.

  • Kelly Hager
    2019-04-30 15:31

    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 who he has feelings for.(It's sort of a long story.)Anyway--this is a fun, short (only 88 pages) story and I would definitely be open to reading more of his stories in the future. It's also impressive how much action is crammed into those 88 pages. (I'm also oddly fascinated by Scientology, but that's a whole other thing.)

  • Tom Johnson
    2019-05-20 11:08

    Bucko sailor Kurt Reid is accused of killing his captain, and placed in the brig. When a chance escape is presented, he takes it and jumps ship, figuring he can disappear in China. But things seem to conspire against him, and he meets a beautiful White Russian woman who asks him for help. From then on, he’s either threatened by the Chinese or Japanese conquerors for immediate death. Ordered by the Chinese to assassinate a Japanese spy, he must penetrate Japanese-controlled area, and avoid capture. Was his escape actually a set up to throw him into this mess, and if so, will he get out of it with his life?The author is a master storyteller, and weaves a thrilling spy adventure in the heart of China during the Japanese occupation. This is an exciting tale, and lots of fun. Highly recommended to the spy adventure lovers, or just reader who love a good tale.

  • Thomas
    2019-05-09 13:08

    "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 the quality of her eyes." The audio book is outstanding. Each audio book features a multicast performance with music and sound effects reminiscent of radio's golden age. Starring the voice talent of Lori Jablons and featuring R. F. Daley, Shane Johnson, Jim Meskimen, and Tait Ruppert, "Spy Killer" is the perfect audio adventure when your driving long distance.

  • Stewart
    2019-05-16 11:21

    The kind folks at Galaxy Press have given me a few copies of their audiobooks over the years at semiannual ALA conferences. I promised one of their booth reps this summer that I'd post reviews of them on Goodreads to repay their generosity."Spy Killer" is one of L. Ron Hubbard's old pulp novels. It's a full-cast, two-disc audiobook with music and effects.Unfortunately, this one is kind of dreadful. An adventuring type who finds himself framed of murder ends up bouncing between Chinese gangsters, Japanese military, and a Russian femme fatale. It's a senseless mess of double crosses, disguises, and a hero who is alternately brilliant/capable and clueless.The voice acting is fine, but even by pulp standards, this is substandard.

  • Brentin
    2019-05-19 07:32

    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 for the novel itself, it's fairly cliche. A man on the run accused of a crime he didn't commit, a beautiful but mysterious foreign woman, plot twists and a surprise ending. It may just have been the time it was written, but there seemed to be a bit of racism in it.All in all, it makes a nice mindless diversion for a long trip or a lazy afternoon.

  • Shannon McGee
    2019-04-29 10:24

    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 the girl or mob boss and the next chapter he wanted to find them. Every chapter was back and forth with such repetitiveness that I didn’t really care what happens to any of them. Overall it is better than Hubbard’s sci fi but not better then the fantasy.

  • Maria
    2019-05-15 12:20

    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 finished this book: Because I was leading the discussion group on it.Who I would recommend this book to: 11 year old boys. I'm serious! And only after you have read every single Hardy Boy book twice.

  • Barry
    2019-05-03 15:28

    I never read anything by LRH before, and never thought I would want to, but after seeing a few of these pulp stories for sale at Job Lot I was intrigued enough to bring a few home. The style is classic pulp, tough guy heroes and venomous villains, and of course mysterious dames. the pacing is quick, the action is hot and the plot is twisted. Just as a pulp story should be. To rehash the plot would be to give away too many juicy details. Mr Hubbard's prose is colorful but not florid, and he seems to know his subject matter, the descriptions and references are most illustrative and evocative. Suffice it to say the book held my interest and kept me turning pages until the unexpected twist ending. I look forward to more of LRH's adventure stories.

  • Scarlett Sims
    2019-04-24 15:20

    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 ways other races are referred to aren't exactly what you'd call "PC." I'm not personally offended by it, more just entertained in sort of a kitschy way. I'm glad I have some exposure to this genre now, but I doubt I'll be seeking out too many more books of this type.

  • Ivan
    2019-05-08 11:05

    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 it with in your face entertainment. I'm curious to read more and found more of L. Ron Hubbard's books for free on amazon.

  • Josh Hamacher
    2019-05-19 10:15

    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 really put my finger on why; there's just something about this old pulp story that's enjoyable and that appealed to me.