by James Mullaney
Cover by Mark Maddox
There’s more than meets the eye when inmates riot in a West Coast maximum security prison. What could transform men into wild beasts? Turns out the dead prisoners are guinea pigs in a larger scheme, and Washington sends in the only two men who can deal with the sinister plot.
Patrick “Podge” Becket and Dr. Thaddeus Wainwright trace a trail of bodies to a California cult whose demented leader welcomes all who seek truth. But enlightenment costs — mainly in the form of cold, hard cash into the bank account of failed writer and self-proclaimed High Star Admiral R. Gunn Hallifax.
Hallifax’s tall tales of out-of-this-world enemies have the gullible lining up in droves to join his church. His disciples become an earthly army for their leader’s terrestrial aims. There’s nothing otherworldly about murder and mayhem. It’s up to the Red Menace and Dr. Wainwright to discover what the cult has to do with a down-on-its-luck perfume company, a Russian hit squad, a sexy Hollywood superstar, and a threat to all America.
No matter what the stars say about it, all the Earth-bound players quickly learn even in the Golden State blood runs Red. Just like everywhere else.
WHO IS THE RED MENACE? Throughout the 1950s, this was the number one question from Moscow to Beijing and in every communist palace and malaria-ridden backwater in between. The mysterious masked figure was a shadow and a whisper. For the Kremlin and its fellow travelers, he was a damnable monkey wrench tossed into the gears of the not-so-glorious worldwide revolution. Wherever Reds schemed, the Menace was there to set things right. Then, 1960 came and the whisper grew silent.
Twelve years later, Podge Becket, computer tycoon and security expert, thinks he’s hung up his mask and cape for good. Aided by his partner, inventor and physician Dr. Thaddeus Wainwright, the Red Menace is dragged back into the hero game. But it’s a whole new world out there ...