"The Eyes Of The Shadow" & "The Money Master" (The Shadow Volume 48)

"The Eyes Of The Shadow" & "The Money Master" (The Shadow Volume 48) - Walter B. Gibson, Maxwell Grant The first story ("Eyes of the Shadow") wasn't bad, but it wasn't very... good. It's very clear that at this point in the Shadow's career, the author was really just throwing everything at the wall to see what stuck. That lead to some great things, no doubt, like the Shadow's secret identity and Harry Vincent, but the resulting story feels lopsided. At the end of the day, The Shadow is just stopping jewel thieves. Also, he's just a little too superhuman and a little too convenient, which negates a lot of the tension that the story could have had. The spectacle and action isn't bad in of itself, but a lot of the plot could have used more substance, especially the ending. Now, the parts that did manage to hit it straight out of the ballpark, such as the chapters at the Black Ship? Absolutely phenomenal, and it's easy to see why the Shadow became such an icon. Pity there wasn't more of it. 3/5

Where "Eyes of the Shadow" left much to be desired, "The Money Master" is easily one of my favorite detective pulp stories of all time. Where "Eyes..." failed to deliver when narrating from the perspective of someone other than the Shadow, "The Money Master" manages to tell an exciting and thrilling mystery from the perspective of multiple interesting characters, who are all competent and dangerous in their own right. The Shadow isn't nearly as much as a deus-ex machina as before, and it really feels like Shadow is taking on a formidable challenge that requires all of his skill being at peak performance. The action is well-paced, the villain is extremely memorable and intelligent, and story somehow manages to top itself nearly every other chapter. 5/5

In addition to these two stories, the book contains some articles about the author and how the Shadow came to be in the literary world. One focuses on the inspirations for many of series' elements, another about publishing the Shadow stories. They're both interesting reads, for both Shadow fans and newcomers alike.