Friday, April 25, 2014

Loot of the Shanung - Audiobook Review

Author: L. Ron Hubbard
Narrator: Kelly Ward, Christina Huntington, R.F. Daley, Robert Wu, Jim Meskimen
Unabridged Length: 2 h, 0 m
Published by Galaxy Audio, 2014
Genres: Pulp Fiction

From the Publisher:
Stop the presses! One hundred thousand dollar reward offered for the return of George Harley Rockham! That’s more than enough to turn Shanghai newspaperman Jimmy Vance’s head. Throw in the gorgeous dame who’s offering the reward—Rockham’s daughter Virginia—and he might lose his head altogether. As fast-talking as Jimmy Stewart in The Philadelphia Story, Vance jumps at the chance . . . the money . . . and the girl.

My Review:
Jimmy Vance is a young ace reporter for the Oriental Press, based in Shanghai, China. He’ll do anything for a story, and out of the blue, a top story falls into his lap, when Virginia Rockham, daughter of missing billionaire George Harley Rockham, shows up at his desk seeking his help in locating her father.

Among the Rockham holdings is the oil monopoly for China. Virginia offers Jimmy $100,000 to find her father with one catch; it must be within four days. It seems George Rockham holds his vast empire together with one finger, and apparently many would love to see that finger slip. If he is not found within four days, his investors will sell out of their stock holdings and the empire will collapse. It could throw China into chaos.

The problem is that no one seems to have a clue as to the whereabouts of George Harley Walker. He was last seen on the coastal steamer Shanung, northeast of Hong Kong, in the area of Bias Bay which is controlled by pirates. Yet, there has been no demand for ransom.

After an initial rough start, Jimmy and Virginia are dropped off on the abandoned and adrift Shanung which obviously was attacked and somewhat looted, seemingly by pirates. There is no sign of life onboard the Shanung. Then, the fun begins, as a Chinese junk is spotted heading toward the Shanung, and Jimmy and Virginia have no viable means of escape.

As with all of these Galaxy Audio productions, the multicast performance is top notch. I really like R.F. Daley’s work as the narrator, as his delivery style and tone is perfect for pulp fiction.

Other notable cast members include Kelly Ward as reporter Jimmy Vance; Christina Huntington as Virginia Rockham; Robert Wu as pirate Lee Chang; and the very talented and vocally versatile Jim Meskimen in multiple supporting roles, as well as directing the performance.

Loot of the Shanung was originally published in the May 1936 issue of Smashing Novels. As with many of the covers in this series, it doesn’t really fit the story, although was representative of the pulp fiction artwork in that era.

Hubbard’s Stories from the Golden Age are all somewhat predictable, less than politically correct, and highly entertaining. The music that precedes each chapter is original, appropriate and well done. Sound effects are spot-on. Galaxy Audio sets a high standard for multicast dramatized audiobook production. 

A review copy of Loot of the Shanung was provided by Galaxy Audio through the Solid Gold Reviewer program of Audiobook Jukebox.

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