Rediscovered: Splat Like a Cat on the Wall, a Review by Brian Leno

The Shadow.

Gangdom’s toughest foe.  

Wearing a black slouch hat, and a cloak with upturned collar, he carries twin automatics and depopulates the world of criminals faster than a poor relation diving for a seat at your dining table.

And his laugh, low and sinister, sends hardened gangsters scurrying to locate a fresh change of underwear.

That’s The Shadow, right? One of the great recurring pulp characters, a true iconic American hero.

Not according to The Shadow, a new novel by James Patterson and co-author Brian Sitts. 

I had heard that the beginning in 1937 with Lamont Cranston and Margo Lane was supposed to be exciting. That was as dry as a donkey turd. No excitement there. (I don’t care for the Margo Lane business. You don’t need dames in The Shadow novels. Dames is poison.)

Most of the book takes place in the dystopian world of 2087, and how The Shadow got there, and what happened, I won’t reveal. If you want to find out — well, torture yourself, just as I did.

When he wakes up after 150 years it would have been cool if he’d have looked around and yelled “Where’s my fucking hat!?!”

Alas, it was not to be.

When his new teenage sidekick, Maddy, shows Cranston her collection of old pulps with him on the cover, he’s a bit mortified. He states he would never dress like that and he doesn’t wear hats, doesn’t even own one.

She plays one of the old radio shows for him with the signature laugh and he says he’s never laughed like that in his life.

“Total showbiz nonsense!”

Won’t be caught carrying guns around either. Calls them “ridiculous.”

It is all labeled as “dime store trash.”

A show of the respect the authors have for the many thousands of Shadow fans?

Still, it gets worse. Lamont Cranston really can make himself invisible, not just by clouding men’s minds, but really invisible.

He shoots balls of fire from his hands (kind of Dr. Strange-like) and he turns himself into a cat.

A cat.

No creepy laugh for Patterson’s Shadow, maybe a meow or two.

They’ve turned our hero into a pussy.

Oh yeah, he is thousands of years old.

Plus he can turn himself into a brick wall.

I know this all sounds perhaps a bit unbelievable. He has to be clouding men’s minds. Got to be. But I’m pretty sure my reading is correct. This book is not exactly what one would call “a tough read.”

A few times as I was cruising along I was reminded of Obi-Wan saying, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”

This wasn’t The Shadow I was looking for, either.

Plus a Bonus One-Line Review:

Looks like those old Dennis Lynds Spy-Fi Shadow books just got a WHOLE LOT more authentic by comparison. — Tex (Lost in the Shadows Since 1982) Albritton

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