Friday, April 28, 2017
Dirty Harry #10: “The Blood of Strangers” by Dane Hartman (Unknown). The Libyan minister, Gamal Abd’el Keyyim, is visiting L.A., where he plans to donate money to the university. Harry is sent from San Francisco to help guard him, and actually saves his life when a man in the audience tried to kill the minister. Now Keyyim wants Harry to accompany him to Beirut as an extra guard. In the meantime, KCVO news anchor, Ellie Winston, is following Harry to get a scoop for the news. Behind it all is a group of terrorists. In Beirut things go bad, and they are caught between crossfire at a warehouse where the minister is buying weapons from an international dealer, who may be a CIA agent. I think this was one of the worst plots in the Dirty Harry series. And the action was just as goofy.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Grave Digger Jones & Coffin Ed Johnson #2: “The Real Cool Killers” by Chester Hines. To be a black cop in Harlem, you have to be big, tough, and carry a big shiny gun with a long barrel. Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson are the best. “If you don’t answer my questions, I’ll drag you under the bridge and pistol whip you. If you try to run I’ll shoot you in the back of the head.” No one messes with these two, and they get results. In this case, a white man was in a Harlem bar when a black man goes after him with a knife. The bartender tries to stop him, but is cut, so grabs an ax under the counter and chops the knife arm off, while the white man runs from the bar. But outside another black man wants to have some fun with him, and pulls a blank pistol and starts firing blanks at him. The white man runs for his life with the black man running behind him, as a crowd gathers. When the white man falls, and the police respond, its discovered that he is dead from a bullet wound. They arrest the black man with the gun, but know he didn’t kill the white man with blanks. But who did. The police set up command at the scene and police surround the neighborhood and Grave Digger is sent off to investigate. Coffin Ed has been suspended because he killed a gang member at the scene when the teenager threw perfume in his face. Coffin Ed Johnson (called the Monster by locals) has scars on his face from acid and thought he was being hit with acid again, and shot in self-defense.
Grave Digger Jones solves the case within a few hours, and never leaves the neighborhood, but the story was very good. The white man was a pervert. He liked young school age black girls, and used a whip on them. But he paid them one hundred dollars for his fun. The man in the bar was the father of the girl. The man arrested for the murder was the leader of the black gang, The Cool Moslems – but there is a twist here that I won’t mention. The book was published in 1959, and the author is a black man familiar with the black community and their problems, so his story is good from that angle also. One thing, though, this was written before the pc police got involved with literature, so it is full of racially expletives, and the “n” word is used quite often. Other than that, I found the story enjoyable and can recommend it to mystery lovers. You just have to understand the time it was written. I read all of the Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson mysteries when they first came out, but lost them over the years. It was fun finding this one again. It is an interesting mystery.
Friday, April 21, 2017
Sam Durell #10: “Assignment Lili Lamaris by Edward S. Aarons. In Europe there is a spy ring and moneyman, supplying funds to train enemy agents. Sam is sent to Rome to find Mitch Martin, and American gangster who has supposedly stolen the heart of a young ballerina, the daughter of a rich shipping magnate. Martin supposedly wants to be connected to Lili Lamaris’ father and his power. Plus, Martin may already be connected to the soy and money ring Durell is trying to find, so he must capture the elusive gangster while protecting Lili Lamaris. Well, this was a typical Sam Durell action novel, but one I had trouble believing. I knew where it was headed, but it didn’t make any sense. Aarons takes a simple plot and tries to twist the ending, but it fell flat on its face, as far as I was concerned. The story and action were good, as was the plot. It’s the twist I didn’t buy.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
The Terminator #3: “The Kill Squad” by John Quinn (Dennis Rodriquez?). A kill squad was formed by the CIA, under a Libyan deal, to assassinate President Reagan. The team was set up in Arkansas as a survivalist group, using local men as paramilitary to guard the compound. While waiting for orders to move on the president, the team take on jobs as assassins for hire, as well as stealing millions of dollars worth of merchandise and storing it for future profit. A reporter and possible CIA agent have infiltrated the group to keep an eye on them. When it’s decided to abandon the mission, the reporter and agent are killed, and assassins sent to kill everyone they may have contacted. Gavin, an ex-agent of the government’s Terminator unit is brought in by the reporter’s sister before she’s killed. Following leads he eventually gets to Arkansas. In the meantime everyone connected to the reporter and the agent, and other innocents, are murdered before Gavin decides to take action. Yes, he eventually enters the compound with an Uzi and takes out all the assassins still left. It would have been a better story if some of the innocent people had actually survived, or he had arrived to save one or two. As it is, the assassins kill and rape everyone. I don’t doubt the series had such a short life. Still, this was an easy read in just a couple of hours.
Monday, April 17, 2017
The Destroyer #46: “Next of Kin” by Warren Murphy (Molly Cochran). The Dutchman, trained in Sinanju by Nuihc, on his 25th birthday he’s supposed to kill Remo and Chiun, but they arrive on his island a year early. Still, they killed his master, so they must die. He trains by killing local drunks and tossing their bodies in the sea. A container full of his victims is discovered and Smith, head of CURE, thinks they were killed by Remo and sends them to the island where Chiun is to catch Remo in the act and kill him. Instead, they discover The Dutchman. Kind of silly, but a fast read.
Friday, April 7, 2017
Six-Gun Samurai #4: “Kamikaze Justice” by Patrick Lee (Mark Roberts). Thomas James Fletcher joined the Navy as a young boy, but while in Japan he is alone and struggling to survive when a powerful samurai takes him under his wing. For the next twenty years he is trained as a Samurai warrior. A letter from home tells him of the problems plaguing his family in Georgia, and he returns to seek vengeance upon Colonel Edward Hollister, the leader of a renegade commander and his troops, raiding and pillaging, killing and raping. As an American, raised in the land of the Shogun and trained as a warrior knight in Japan, he’s now known as Tanaka Tom Fletcher and bound by the Samurai code of the Bushido to a bloody vendetta against the Yankee marauders who slaughtered his family in Georgia. He must carry out his mission to its ultimate conclusion – the destruction of his enemies or himself. This is the basic premise of the backstory and series. As long as Colonel Hollister eludes him, the series will continue, I guess. But in each story he finds one of the ex-members of the 251st Ohio Regiment, and must kill them to get closer to Hollister. In this current story, he has trailed ex-lieutenant Ashton to the valley of Yellow Creek, where Ashton has set up a religious cult, keeping everyone drugged while he takes their money and has his way with the young girls. He brings gunslingers in as Deacons to keep everyone in line. In the meantime two bounty hunters are following the Six-Gun Samurai from San Francisco, hoping to the get the reward money. So Tanaka Tom is caught between Ashton gunmen and the bounty hunters while trying to stop Ashton and protect the young girls. Well, this is men’s action adventure, so we don’t really need to expect much in way of plot. Just throw in enough action and sex, and the readers are satisfied. The author appeared to be an excellent writer and could be writing better material than this. As it is, I believe three different writers wrote the series, so there wasn’t any problem finding writers to churn out this stuff. Literature it isn’t, but that’s not what it intended, and it succeeded.