Thundering far beneath Manhattan’s thronging streets came the Death Express—a crack New York Central train bearing a gruesome cargo of lifeless men, women and children—their bodies stripped of valuables, naked and mutilated! A grim warning of the terror-reign that threatened America—at the hands of Twentieth Century land-pirates, whose weapon was neither gun nor sword, but the stunning, body-shivering force which lies in electricity! Can the Spider, using mortal weapons, fight the numbing power of the thunderbolt—and survive?
“Corpse Cargo” is the tenth Spider novel published in July 1934 and once again written by Norvell Page.
So-called land pirates are robbing trains. They send green chained-lightning through the cars disabling trains, killing all their passengers (hence the name), as many as a thousand people at a time. The pirates’ leader is a homicidal female with the corny name of Captain Kidd. The green-lightning weapon is rather spectacular and is used by C.J. Henderson in his 2012 Spider novel, the first since 1943; he also started that novel quoting portions of Chapter 6 of this novel.
As always, the Spider’s action is non-stop. The bad guys’ consciences are not hurt by all their murder. Instead they laugh at corpses as the walk through the train cars filled with death, even babies in the arms of their mother. In another place, they burned a young “scrawny” boy’s chest with a pirate’s flag, cross and skull using a knife wound for the mouth. Of course, the Spider brings death to these entire evil people.
As sometimes happens with Spider novels, the violence is too much, though; in this one so many trains are affected that one wonders why the country did not stop train transportation until the villains were imprisoned. Also so many trains are affected that one wonders why the country was not developing a shortage in many of the goods that get to the marketplace by trains. Indeed, as planes were grounded following 9/11, so trains would have stayed in their stations if lots of them were being destroyed… and who would anyone ride on them anyway? Oh well, the mayhem and murder takes precedence over logic in Spider novels… that is part of their enjoyment.
While I do not normally listen to audio novels, I am thinking about trying it with this one as the constant action would likely work well in that format.