Sunday, May 25, 2008

Uccidere Ogni

In KILL TIME, #6 in Pinnacle's Butcher men's adventure series, we learn how the mysterious hero known only as Bucher received his name. Soon after he was born, he was dropped off on the doorstep of an orphanage in Knoxville, Tennessee, where the alcoholic reverend who ran the place named the baby after a 16th century German Protestant named Bucher. Just the one name—Bucher—went on Baby Bucher's birth certificate.

Bucher's assignment in 1973's KILL TIME seems simple enough: to ensure a son of one notorious Mafia family and the teenage daughter of a rival family marry, so that the two sides will have to stop killing one another. But, of course, the life of the Butcher is never that simple, as the assassin bounces back and forth between Atlanta and Guatemala when a secondary mission suddenly takes precedence.

KILL TIME may have been written by Michael Avallone, posing as Stuart Jason. If you're an avid reader at all, particularly of mysteries and crime stories, you've likely come across Avallone, even if you didn't know it, as he wrote under many different aliases (Stuart Jason was Pinnacle's house name for its Butcher books, and a handful of authors wrote them). Avallone wrote everything from sex novels to hard-boiled crime dramas (private eye Ed Noon was his creation) to kid's books to men's adventure to TV tie-ins starring The Partridge Family and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. He even wrote the novelization of FRIDAY THE 13TH: PART 3! Avallone died in 1999, and was probably an interesting guy. Something of a hack, of course, as were most who toiled in the world of quickie trash paperbacks, but a fine craftsman nevertheless.

1 comment:

James Reasoner said...

Calling Mike Avallone an interesting guy is putting it mildly. One of the great all-time characters in the writing business. His first Butcher novel is #27, though, so he didn't write this one. The early Butchers appear to be the work of a writer named James Dockery, who wrote porn novels under the name Raymond Doyle and may have written some plantation novels as Stuart Jason. This info comes from Ennis Willie, who was the original choice of the editor at Pinnacle to write the Butcher series but declined. Willie had written a series of hardboiled crime novels in the Sixties featuring a character named Sand who leaves the Mob and has a price put on his head, much like Bucher. And much like Daniel Port in the novels by Peter Rabe, for that matter.