‘Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?’

When I was in grade school, everyone knew the answer to this question: “the shadow knows.”

“The Shadow” was a radio drama that aired between 1937 and 1954 with tie-ins to comic books and novels. The show featured crime fighter Lamont Cranston who was a great detective with a few unusual powers. A few films followed the end of radio programs including Alec Baldwin’s in the 1994 version that lost money and wasn’t well received. I no longer remember whether I listened to any radio episodes when I was a kid; it’s possible because when I was home sick from school there was plenty of stuff on the radio to keep my attention.

Now James Patterson has bought the rights to the material, kicking off the story with The Shadow (2021) co-written with Brian Sitts. The novel is lightweight fiction compared to Patterson’s Alex Cross series so, while it was fun to read, it was a bit more of a spoof than a hard-boiled detective novel.

From the snippets of the radio show I’ve heard, Patterson and Sitts will have to ramp up the action if any sequels are produced for this first one, which has been said to be setting the stage and doesn’t have the ambiance of the original radio series.

So far, the storyline just isn’t edgy enough to hold up as a series. This is the look and the tone I want to see.

Patterson and Sitts have their work cut out for themselves. “As you sow evil, so shall you reap evil! Crime does not pay…The Shadow knows!”