Sunday, March 23, 2008

$250,000,000 Worth Of Death

Here's a rarity—a men's adventure hero who works within the law to fight crime. NARC, "#1 in a great new series," is John Bolt, an agent for America's D-3—the Department of Dangerous Drugs. As you can probably guess, Bolt hates drug pushers.

In this Lancer novel from 1973, Bolt goes to South America to extradite a dangerous French druglord named Antoine Georges Peray. In a firefight there, many agents are killed, and Peray suffers two gun wounds in his leg, thanks to Bolt. Back in the States, Bolt learns about an historic drug shipment—1000 pounds of pure heroin worth $250 million—the largest drug haul ever. Peray is working with a black Harlem dealer named St. James Livingston to bring the dope in, but after Peray's arrest and hospitalization, Livingston takes desperate measures to ensure the deal goes through, including snatching Peray's daughter and buying a D-3 agent.

Neither fanciful nor gritty, like a Death Merchant or Executioner novel, NARC is solid crime drama of the 1970s that one could easily see becoming a film along the lines of ACROSS 110TH STREET or CHARLEY VARRICK. Bolt is, of course, a Loner Whom No One, Not Even The Woman Who Loves Him, Dares Get Close To, and all we really learn about him in Robert Hawkes' book is that he's a badass who hates drugs. Which is also all we really need in this initial entry.

That's a pretty awesome shirt Bolt wears on the cover, though it doesn't seem to match his terse personality.

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