Saturday, March 29, 2008

10-4 And Kill

Alex Jason is back in another screwy sci-fi saga that's barely recognizable as science fiction. In 1973's KILL CITY, #3 in Lancer's Enforcer series, Jason, inside his latest clone body (which lasts only three months before it breaks down and Jason has to be transferred into a new one), goes undercover inside the Patrol, a paramilitary vigilante group combing the streets of New York and other major cities, ostensibly to protect the public, but actually as the initial step of a takeover plot.

Alfred Lochner, Jason's archenemy who was briefly seen in THE ENFORCER and then mentioned in CALLING DOCTOR KILL, is setting himself up to take the organized crime pie away from the Mafia using a new weapon called a Suzy. First developed as a hand weapon, the Suzy forces anyone it's pointed at to commit suicide. The Patrol uses it to deal with muggers and other street vermin, but Lochner's plot to install fifty giant Suzies in major American cities, which would allow him to kill millions of people by barely lifting a finger, forces Jason to move quickly, before his current clone body melts away into an oozy blob of protoplasm.

After the jungle thrills of THE ENFORCER, the next two Enforcer books have been light on action, though not on sex nor racial barbs. At 220 pages, Andrew Sugar's book is longer than it needs to be, substituting padding for the lean storytelling this type of pulpy subject matter deserves. Jason uses a cool three-shots-and-done laser penlight device to blow off some heads, and the concept of the Suzy is a terrific McGuffin, though Sugar never tells us anything about its inventor, who is (we're told) killed off-screen.

One thing about the Enforcer books is that they consistently offer some of the most colorful, eye-catching covers in the men's adventure genre, even though nothing you see here actually occurs within KILL CITY's pages.

1 comment:

Doug Bassett said...

I've read a couple of these Sugar novels -- though not this one -- and find them truly odd. Almost an attempt to get the SF crowd, actually, or if Robert Heinlein started slumming in the Seventies.

More fun to talk about than read, I think. Though I have to say, Mr. McKee, I've been going through your blog and you have an impressive selection of these here, with some titles I've never heard of (CHOPPER COP?)

Someday somebody should do a big coffee table book on this field.