Review Special – The Spider: Shadow of Evil by C.J. Henderson

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Just finished reading the first new Spider novel in 65 years… and I have to say, it was really good!

Before I get into the story, let me talk about the book itself — this is a digest sized paperback, affordably priced at $6.95. It feels very pulpy — and yet classy at the same time. Everyone I’ve shown it to has remarked on the package itself. I really, really like this format and hope to see more of it from Moonstone and others.

The story picks up several months after the last published Spider, with Richard Wentworth in retirement following the supposed death of The Spider. He’s turning 40 years old and ready to settle down with his long-suffering romantic interest, Nita Van Sloan. But just when it looks like true happiness might finally be found, someone starts killing people — lots of people! — by using devices that seem very familiar to Wenworth. In fact, they’re weapons he’s faced before… who has gotten access to the weapons of The Spider’s past foes forms the mystery at the heart of the book. It’s a compelling one and offers a good excuse for Wentworth to reminiscence about his past and do some soul-searching about what he’s really accomplished.

All the old supporting characters are back and are utilized very well. The story is smoothly told and never lets up — and the classic Spider tropes are here, especially the mass destruction.

Call me a heretic, but I  honestly think this is the best Spider novel I’ve read. Admittedly, I’ve read a half dozen or so… but I’m definitely interested in reading more of CJ Henderson’s version and it’s caused me to consider seeking out more of the classic novels. Good stuff.

The only downside were quite a few typos, many of which were of the same variety, repeated again and again. But this hardly stopped me from loving the book.

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