L. Ron Hubbard’s The Phantom Patrol thrilled me with its non-stop action. Hubbard always had a talent for brisk pacing, but The Phantom Patrol is a whirlwind adventure. Originally published in the January 1935 issue of Five Novels Monthly, The Phantom Patrol tells the story of Coast Guard CPO Johnny Trescott who sets out to save the lives of the passengers on a crashed transport plane. Meanwhile, a dope smuggling pirate that Johnny has been tailing decides to intervene with some spontaneous vengeance. Naturally there’s a damsel in distress involved.
Hubbard’s strength as a writer was his ability to create endearing and believable characters, his fast pacing, attention to detail, and sheer enthusiasm. He was one of those rare talents who truly enjoyed the adventures he was creating, and it shows in the exuberance of his style. With stories like The Phantom Patrol it’s easy to see why he was so popular with pulp readers. The Phantom Patrol is now one of my favorites in the long line of reprints offered by Galaxy Press.