Book Review: “Bat Wing–Fire-Tongue” by Sax Rohmer

June 28, 2015 at 10:53 am | Posted in Books | Leave a comment
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Sax Rohmer in his book, “bat wing book coverBat Wing–Fire-Tongue” Books One and Two in the Paul Harley series published by Stark House Press brings us both adventures of Occult Detective Paul Harley.

From the Back Cover: Bat Wing

Occult Detective Paul Harley is presented with his toughest case when he is asked to investigate a case of voodoo magic at an estate in Surrey. He and his partner, Malcolm Knox, are contacted by wealthy land baron, Colonoel Menendez, who is convinced that his life is in peril. He is certain that an obeah threat has followed him from Cuba when a bat wing is found nailed to his door. When Harley and Knox arrive at Cray’s Folly they find a household filled with vague menace. Menendez’s cousin, Madame de Stames, is putting on a brave front, but her companion, Val Beverly, knows that someone has been wandering the halls at night. And why does their neighbor, Colin Chamber, hate the Colonel so much? Is there any significance in their shared ties to voodoo? And can Harley find out what is behind these threats before this case ends in catastrophe?


Paul Harley takes on a new client when Sir Charles Abingdon, a retired bone specialist, appears at his door one evening. Abingdon believes his life to be in danger and asks for Harley’s aid. He believes he is being followed though he can get no clear look at his pursuer. One of his manuscripts has gone missing, and he has been recently attacked in the street. He asks Harley to dine with him that night and upon arriving, Harley senses an atmosphere of danger but can pick up nothing specific. Sir Charles further confesses that he is distressed by the attentions a distinguished Oriental gentleman has been showing his daughter, Phyllis Abingdon. And now, as they sit down to dinner, Sir Charles is gripped by a sudden seizure, rasping out the words, “Fire-Tongue…Nicol Brinn,” before collapsing into his chair. Harley discovers all too soon that Sir Charles’s sudden death isn’t from natural causes, and that a larger mystery looms over them all.

There’s a lot more to Sax Rohmer than his Fu Manchu novels. Case in point meet Paul Harley who once was a lawyer but now is a detective. He gets involved in some very exciting interesting cases, both of which are presented in this volume. Both “Bat Wing” and “Fire-Tongue” read like the old Movie Serials in that there is plot, action, a cliffhanger, out of danger, more plot, more action then another cliffhanger all throughout the book. I have no complaints. This is one super exciting book. Mr. Rohmer writes in a breathless style that will keep you on the edge of your seat, flipping pages as fast as you can read them just trying to keep up with a runaway roller coaster ride story.  Paul Harley is a very interesting character and his adventures are the perfect read to get your adrenalin going. I am really hoping that Stark House will bring back other heroes and villains of Mr. Rohmer’s creation. That would really be a lot of fun.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Stark House Press.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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