Zenith Rand—Planet Vigilante—A review by Craig Clarke
Richard Tooker was obviously meant to tell stories of adventure. Born in 1902, Tooker's father's family were sea captains, soldiers, and adventurers. The storytelling part came from his mother, who knew the author of the classic adventure Alice of Old Vincennes. Tooker published his first story at the age of 15, then after finishing school, worked as an editor and reporter and was enlisted in the Marines. He felt that his life contained parallels with Jack London's Martin Eden and published his first novel, The Day of the Brown Horde, in 1929 (from whose dustjacket the substance of this paragraph comes).
Tooker's skill at writing cracking sci-fi adventure is well evidenced by Black Dog Books' collection of the three longish stories featuring his hero Zenith Rand, as published in three consecutive issues (June, August, and October 1936) of Mystery Adventure Magazine. Zenith Rand, Planet Vigilante contains the title inaugural tale plus two others, "Revenge on Scylla" and "Angels of Oorn" (the source of the book's appealing cover illustration).