After reading Stephen D. Frances’ “Stories for All Moods,” I myself needed a change of mood and ripped into an action novel of the Frozen North, a genre I wholeheartedly enjoy.
Written under the house-name Shaun O’Hara, “Kazan the Killer,” published in 1951 by Hamilton & Co., is a ripping good yarn. The author behind this title is Thomas H. Martin. The illustrator is the incomparable James McConnell.
Rod Lanchester, having discovered a cache of gold, beats it to civilization, and while out in the frozen wasteland, realizes that he is being tracked by killers. Slowly, his dogs are captured or killed and the lead dog, Kazan, escapes, and becomes the leader of a wolf pack. Rod is left to fend for himself, and eventually, freezes to death… However, prior to his ultimate demise out in the wastes, he mails a letter to his family back home!
Months pass, and his brother, Kurt Lanchester, having received the letter, charters a private plane to drop him at Dogleg Bend. Kurt is bent on retrieving the Siberian and meting out vengeance against those whom killed his brother. He finds a chilly reception; nobody is willing to sell him dogs, sled, provisions, etc. When he learns that the local bully and his henchmen are the root cause, he’s certain that he has found his brother’s killer(s). On the way, our hero meets a girl, whom thankfully is not entirely reduced to fulfilling the weak-woman clichés.
Unfortunately, word has gotten around that our hero has flown up with the specific task of retrieving the now murderous Kazan. Realizing Kazan has more value dead than alive, the killers will stop at nothing to rub out Kurt and snatch Kazan, along with whatever secret is on the four-footed Siberian, for they are certain that the secret of the gold’s whereabouts were secreted on that very dog, shortly before Rod’s untimely death!