I've never read a Shadow story before. I'd heard they were pretty great, but I heard that about the Spider and the one I read was not that good. But since I got a free copy of two Shadow stories (this being the first, from 1933) at Media-con last week I thought I'd give it a shot. These two stories are some of the weirder ones from the vast amount of novels published. It's interesting that the Shadow was a more "realistic" pulp hero, at least in the early years, as opposed to the Spider or Doc Savage.
So in this story six evil men return from Mexico, where they had tried to steal something from the lost tribe of Aztecs in the lost Zelpatec Valley. Something really bad happened to them their, even though they came out of it with several thousand dollars in gold. Their leader Charley, though, and he has a plan to turn it all to their own benefit. And he's sure the Shadow won't ever figure it out.
Well, as you can kind of tell from the cover the six evil men all resemble each other. It's pretty obvious in the story, it's the how it happened is the twist.
The story moves along at a great pace, with loads of action and a lot of death. The Shadow is not a merciful hero. In 1933, there wasn't much of an origin for him at all, or even where his hideout was or even what he really looked like. That changed over time with radio and comic book stories adding to his lore.
I'm looking forward to the next story.