Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Hotheaded Cop In A Violent New Series

In 1973's STRYKER from Pinnacle Books, we learn the origin of Colin Stryker, the hotheaded cop from COP-KILL. Author William Crawford did a good job providing the necessary backstory in the second Stryker novel, but it's nice to find out completely how Stryker got his rep as a "bad and brutal cop."

Like every other literary and film police detective in the aftermath of DIRTY HARRY and THE FRENCH CONNECTION, Stryker is a quick-to-violence cop with little regard for the civil liberties of criminals or even civilians, for that matter. Teamed up with a trustworthy young cop named Chino Bellon, Stryker goes after the Albuquerque mob, which is run by Sam Borchia. After Stryker meddles in his illegal affairs once again, this time by investigating a bank heist that the mobster bankrolled, Borchia hires a hitman named Kell to ice the cop once and for all. The assassination attempt fails to kill Stryker, but murders his wife instead and leaves their four-year-old daughter blinded.

Furiously, Stryker hunts Kell down and beats the shit out of him, which not only leads to a dismissal of all charges against the killer, but earns Stryker a six-month prison sentence. If you think having all that time to think led Stryker to reconsider his mission of vengeance, you obviously aren't much of a reader.

Based on the first two, I'll have to track down the last two Stryker novels. Both STRYKER and COP-KILL are tough stories told with plenty of action, vivid descriptions and a leading man we can all identify with through hundreds of films and TV shows. I wonder how this read back in 1973 when the concept of an urban vigilante was still somewhat an unusual concept. The Stryker series comes from the publisher who gave us the adventures of the Executioner, the Butcher and the Penetrator, and Crawford provides the same brutal action sequences and two-fisted hero-type.

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