116 — Spy Killer

Artistic photograph of a book cover.

It’s time…for us to take on one of the pale male faces surely adorning everyone’s Bad Book Rushmore, but for complicated reasons we explain at no little length, we enjoy or anyway endure one of L. Ron Hubbard’s lesser-known book-like objects, a…collection of described events entitled Spy Killer.

No matter how bad you think this thing is going to be, it’s worse than you can easily imagine. It features a main character who actually snaps back at his captor “I’m laughing out loud,” because being captured by the spy he is supposed to kill is actually funny to him, he can’t believe you thought this would upset him. This 1936 action (?) / adventure (?) is jam-packed with racist descriptions of non-white characters, MANY scenes of our rugged, uh, protagonist, being captured and locked in rooms, and a scene that’s supposed to be happy denouement description but that includes the words “brutal kiss”. On the plus side, it also includes things we somehow didn’t even get to, like “The man was riddled.” (Yes, with a full stop. No, not riddled with anything, like every other time you’ve ever seen the word “riddled”.) “Even a decanter couldn’t be trusted.”

Short story shorter: this old Hubbard? It’s a real mother.


  • The Outsider, by Stephen King
  • The Mars Room, by Rachel Kushner


  • “One Night in Bangkok” from “Chess”
  • “Scenario” by Tribe Called Quest
  • “The Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World” by Sammy Davis Jr.