America’s Undercover Ace in new paperback form!
Operator 5 #1 The Masked Invasion by Fredrick C Douglas writing as Curtis Steele
First appearing in 1934, Operator 5 was Jimmy Christopher, a young member of the Secret Service often known as the most valuable agent in the United States. Christopher is strangely known to be Operator 5, yet maintains a secret identity as Carlton Victor, photographer to the rich and famous. The character is complete with a studio, an apartment, and even a butler named Crowe!
Recurring characters include Operator 5’s dad, former agent John Christopher, his twin sister Nan, sidekick kid Tim Donavan, Nan’s boyfriend Nick, Jimmy’s girlfriend Diane Elliot, his boss Z-7 and others.
Most of the stories involve the United States being attacked on the home front by various foreign armies, sometimes with devastating results.
The Masked Invasion was published in April 1934
There are periods of absolute darkness plaguing the country. Where that darkness falls, all power shuts down. There is no electricity. Cars, trains, and even planes have their motors go instantly dead. But silently cars of white masked men leave chaos in their wake.
Operator 5 has traced a man connected with the scarlet masked master of the darkness at a high level. He has been given fair warning: “Wise men flourish. Fools Perish!”
It takes time to get into the flow of the narrative, but it can be an enjoyable read. It has the usual overblow action of a pulp, the larger-than-life characters, the science-gone-mad, and the hidden villain. I thought they really did well on that last account.
I will never like Operator 5 as well as I do other pulp heroes, but this isn’t a bad read. I’ll give it four stars.
Quoth the Raven…