045 04/36 The Men Who Smiled No More

Chuck Welch
April 19, 1996 - 1936 / bama / Bantam 037-048 / baumhofer / donovan / nanovic / novel / pulp

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It started with a senseless murder. Then it spread — all over New York men were becoming robot-like automatons without emotions. The Man of Bronze went into action. But even Doc Savage was stricken helpless before he solved the terrifying menace of The Death’s Head Grin!

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  1. Andrew Salmon says:

    I just finished this one and I must say that it is one of the best! The best word to describe this adventure is: relentless. This one moves like a rocket! Twists and turns! And, you get to see Monk, Ham and the rest of the fabulous five like you’ve never seen them before. Doc’s internal battle against the ‘creeping inertia’ in his nervous system alone makes this one worth reading. One of Doc’s best scenes without a doubt. From opening sentence to the last line this one just never stops! Great fun!!

  2. Tom O'Carroll says:

    This was NOT one of my favorites. Partly because it was not a Lester Dent tale, but also because the “brain dead killers” was overused in the series. (The Mindless Monsters, & The Munitions Master, to name two).

  3. Tim Weber says:

    It’s astonishing that anyone could actually like this Laurence Donovan adventure, but I guess that’s the interesting thing about taste. No offense to those who liked it, but “The Men Who Smiled No More” is absolutely awful. Donovan wrote nine Docs and the only one that could actually be called good was “Cold Death.” I find Donovan’s prose an almost incredible chore to read. His writing is like a refrigerator magnet poetry game a friend had, in which you mix and match phrases and words to try to make a coherent sentence. This is not as bad as say, “Murder Melody”, but it’s pretty close. Most of the adventure is spent near a duck pond; not my choice for an exciting setting.

  4. This gets my vote for the absolute worst Donovan Doc ever, maybe even the worst book of the series. It’s virtually unreadable and the disgustingly gruesome duck killing scenes were just horrible. The writing is terrible. I refer to this one as The Ducks Who Quacked No More…

  5. Paul Cook says:

    Loved the cover; hated the book.

  6. douglas rhine says:

    loved the book.
    i wish i had the memory other doc fans have..
    i remember not being able to put this one down.
    and i was like 14 or so years old when i read it..
    not sure how many teenager today would sit long enough to read.
    .i do remember something about a fish tank in this story..

  7. The 4th Doc novel I ever read, way back in November, 1973. I’d only been reading Doc for 2 – 3 months, and this bad boy rocked! It was the best for me, at that point ( probably explains why I rate Donovan quite high on my list of ghost-writers in the Doc canon), and even on re-reading it 20 years later, it still did it for me. And that fabulous Bama cover…!

  8. Michael Bloom says:

    This one is really, really bad. Donovan must have been on a bender (or coming off one) when he wrote it (see the recent Sanctum Books reprint of MURDER MELODY for great backstory (written by Will Murray) on the life of Laurence Donovan).

    Even if I’d read this as a kid I would have hated it.
    Just like I hated Murder Melody as a 15-year-old. I remember thinking ‘wow, Mr. Robeson really lost his way on that one…’

    Great Bama cover however.

  9. Tom Gallagher says:

    Reading Doc in publication order, so just getting to this one. Donavon’s writing is as difficult to swallow as his plots, and this one’s the worst (so far). It was good to see Pat get more involved in the story line, but Monk’s lines make him out to be a sub-human at times, and the banter between him and Ham just doesn’t have the crispness of Dent’s writing. It did move at a fast pace, but this and Murder Meoldy are at the bottom of the books.

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