“Cargo of Coffins”
by L. Ron Hubbard
Multi-cast performance
Produced by Galaxy Audio, 2009
approx 2 hours

My audiobook excursion into the Stories from the Golden Age continues with more pulp fiction from the master story-teller L. Ron Hubbard.  This time around I gave another Sea Adventure a listen.

While Hubbard knew how to write in the twists and turns in a story to keep a reader on the edge and eager for more, the folks at Galaxy Audio know how to take these exciting stories and produce them into audio dramas that not only keep the story true to the original form but also seem to push the listener even closer to the edge.  With superb voice acting, dynamic sound effects and original music, these audio books could easily be promoted as audio dramas and find a place on the radio waves.  In fact with the fun character actors and excellent narration these audio books have the feel of the old radio dramas of the mid-20th century.

This time around the Sea Adventure takes us across the ocean.   “Cargo of Coffins” was originally published in the  November, 1937 issue of  “Argosy.”   Lars Marlin is out to seek revenge on Paco Corvino, he vows Paco will die at his hands, but a fluke of a moment finds Lars as Captain of an ocean going yacht where Paco is working as chief steward.  The wealthy family on-board all wish they could meet someone of royalty.  Paco fakes an illness and eventually his death.  He has expressly forbidden anyone to open certain envelopes in his cabin unless he dies.  With what seems like his death the crew opens the envelopes to find Paco is actually royalty, at least that’s what he wants them to believe.  After a day Paco “comes back to life” and is immediately treated according to his new-found position.

Lars knows this is a scam but under threat, by Paco, does not wish to expose his background, having escaped from a penal colony island.   Paco orders the ship to dock at the same penal colony where he loads aboard the yacht some coffins, under the guise of returning the dead men to their home soil.  It turns out Paco has alternate plans for the yacht and passengers and Lars is set to prevent that from happening before the ship can pull into Casablanca.

In an exciting story that will keep the listener wanting more, Galaxy Audio will place you on an ocean going yacht with action that seems so real you will be ducking bullets and hoping not to get seasick.

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