“Dead Men Kill” by L. Ron Hubbard 

audio review“Dead Men Kill”
by L. Ron Hubbard
Multicast performance
Produced by Galaxy Audio
approx 2 hours

For some reason horror fans seem to be drawn to zombies, there are podcasts of zombie stories, several books and of course the re-writing of Jane Austen’s novel, “Pride and Prejudice” into “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”  Many fans will consider George Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead” the beginning of this craze, and the die-hard fans will even think Max Brooks with his “Zombie Survival Guide” as reason for the trend.  But back before these guys brought about the flesh eating scourge of zombies, L. Ron Hubbard wrote a mystery that brought the living dead into America.

First published in 1934 in “Thrilling Detective” magazine, “Dead Men Kill” is a great zombie/detective story.  Galaxy Audio a branch of Galaxy Press has released this novella as a pulp book and a pulp audio book.  The audio book is produced with the same fervor and nostalgia as all the other Hubbard audio books.  The narrator keeps you in the story while performing as a narrator from one of the old radio serials.  The actors in the performance definitely have that nostalgic feel when having to perform the action in the story that is purely pulp-fiction.  The melodramatic delivery of the voice of the zombies on the kill is fun but chilling.  Even the incidental music which was composed specifically for the Galaxy Audio Golden Age stories releases will launch you back to the mid-twentieth century when tales were told in magazines for a dime.

The story follows the heroic Detective-Sergeant Terrence “Terry” Lane as he investigates a series of murders among the wealthy in his town and the clues to who did the killing point only to people that have been dead and in the grave for several days.  The people of status are all being blackmailed and when they can’t pay,  someone close to them, that has recently died, comes back to kill them.

Lane’s only clue is a receipt from a pharmacy in Haiti, and a note from Loup-Garou, a man who tells Lane to retire from the police force or suffer the same fate.  Lane gets some help from a female performer who works at a Haitian night club.  The adventures begin and the suspects are plenty as Lane digs up a grave and finds the body missing.  The same body is then found to have murdered a banker.  Lane is kidnapped, drugged, almost turned into a zombie and escapes from a coffin to find the zombie maker.

With an exciting story and some interesting twists, Hubbard weaves a fun tale from zombie land that will have a chill rolling down your spine.