146g 11/47 Once Over Lightly

Chuck Welch
November 17, 2007 - 1947 / Bantam 145-156 / larkin / novel / pulp / rosmond / swenson

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Sudden death turns a carefree vacation into a captive hell, as Doc races to prevent a terrifying transaction that could reduce America’s cities to radioactive rubble!

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  1. Bryan Bullock says:

    I really liked this story. It had its moments, but it was Doc handling a “mundane” problem, along with the proper authorities, something he doesn’t do too often. He’s almost more of an agent here than a free opearator and doesn’t seem thrilled about any of it. The narrator is pretty clever and manages to catch Doc out on a few tricks.

  2. Thomas Fortenberry says:

    Once Over Lightly is definitely a Doc Savage tale over lightly. It was a short one and virtually all the action happens off-stage and therefore it is unsatisfying when things just pop and then are over. The reader gets to simply read the explanation at the end like a bystander listening to the rumor in the lobby of the hotel where they heard something exciting had happened the night before.

    This is the second book featuring a female first-person point of view protagonist, which is the only thing fascinating about this work. Mary Olga Trunnels, the heroine here, is a private investigator — just like the more flamboyant protag in Let’s Kill Ames. Here Trunnels (that name, ugh) comes to California to protect her friend Glacia from an unknown danger while she greedily pursues an unknown prize. The whole shebang is kept in the dark, along with a somewhat capable Trunnels and hence us the readers, until the end.

    While it had moments and some neat observations of Doc (such as when she realizes he only shows emotions he wants to show and changes them like clothes) and crew from a bystander, it simply did not live up to much. And Bryan is right above: Doc here seems more like a disgruntled, rather famous federal investigator roped in by the bureaucracy of government to work on a mundane case, when he’d rather be on vacation.

    Over all not much to offer, whether Coming or Going.

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