Early in 1949, Lester Dent wrote what proved to be his final Doc Savage novel, Up From Earth’s Center. It was a very strange tale in which Doc and his men descend into a cavern that seems to be an outpost of hell itself. To this day, many fans think that Lester ended his famous pulp series on a note of deliberate if unresolved fantasy. Not so. He had no idea he’d penned his final Doc.
A few months later, Dent pitched his editor, Daisy Bacon, a follow-up story. By return mail, she informed him that Doc Savage magazine had been suspended. Shortly after that, it was canceled. He never wrote this proposed tale.
Forty years later, when Bantam Books asked me to write new Doc Savage novels, I was ready. With the permission of Lester’s widow, Norma Dent, I had already turned that interesting premise into the short novel I called, The Frightened Fish.
Expanding on Dent’s idea, I turned this concept into a far-ranging adventure that began in New York City with sightings of mysterious people inexplicably terrified by images of ordinary fish, and brings the Man of Bronze to New England, where all sea life has mysteriously disappeared from Massachusetts coastal waters. The trail ultimately takes Doc by submarine to Occupied Japan, and an incredible showdown with a foe from his past, who was believed to have perished in the 1945 novel, The Screaming Man.
This is a story of the early Cold War, and a sequel to Lester’s 1948 masterpiece, The Red Spider, in which a more mature and emotionally sophisticated Man of Bronze tackles an international threat which resonates with today's ecologically-challenged headlines. Characters from his past reappear, and Doc Savage is tested in ways never before imagined.
Michael McConnohie masterfully brings this gripping tale to life, adding depths of emotional complexity that will make The Frightened Fish and its shattering climax live long in your memory.
Will Murray is the author of over 60 novels in popular series ranging from The Destroyer to Mars Attacks. Collaborating posthumously with the legendary Lester Dent, he has written to date numerous Doc Savage novels, with Skull Island, Death’s Dark Domain, Desert Demons, Horror in Gold, and The Ice Genius among those now available. For National Public Radio, Murray adapted The Thousand-Headed Man for The Adventures of Doc Savage in 1985, and recently edited Doc Savage: The Lost Radio Scripts of Lester Dent for Moonstone Books. He is versed in all things pulp.