Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sweet Revenge

This book reads like a lawsuit waiting to happen, but the series continued, so I guess either nobody read this Manor book or nobody cared. Imagine this novel coming out in 1975--one year after DEATH WISH became one of the country's most talked-about films. It's a novel about a white-collar liberal named Bronson, whose wife and children are raped and murdered by street thugs. Out of rage and frustration, after the killers are set free by the courts, Bronson becomes a vigilante, stocking up on weapons and hitting the cold, dark streets night after night, looking to kill the killers of his family.

Oh, sure, the city is Cincinnati, not New York, and the protagonist's name is Richard, not Charles, Bronson, but DEATH WISH was certainly the blueprint for this violent urban thriller. The major exception is that this Bronson is certainly no hero. While DEATH WISH made sure its star, Charles Bronson as architect Paul Kersey, killed only people who deserved it, the Bronson of BLIND RAGE isn't so accommodating. He kills anyone who stands between him and vengeance, even if they happen to be innocent bystanders or just accidentally in his way. The body count in the book is quite high, though it seems like just over half of the victims actually had it coming.

Bronson discovers the leaders of the toughs who slaughtered his family, twins named Bennie and Bernie, have skipped the Queen City and headed towards Sacramento. With his new lover, a 17-year-old Latina named Teresa, in tow, Bronson follows them to California, stopping off for awhile in Nevada to pick up some expensive new weaponry and learn how to use it effectively. When he isn't shooting people, Bronson can be quite vicious for a guy who never hurt a fly until a few weeks ago. He ties one woman to her bed, nude, pours kerosene on her, and holds a match to her pubic hair to set her afire. One victim he ties down and fastens cages of hungry rats around his head and hand. You certainly wouldn't see that in a DEATH WISH movie.

1 comment:

Tim said...

I've really had some fun tonight reading your entries on all these ridiculous action books.

Given the high level of "collateral damage" in this book I find myself wondering if its not another Joseph Rosenberger production. As the Death Merchant series went on innocent bystanders seemed to die more and more. I think that in #52 of the series, The Flight of the Phoenix, the Death Merchant and co. might actually kill more innocent people than the terrorists they're fighting. The torture scenes sound similar to scenes in a couple of Death Merchant books.