Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A Bloody Cruise To Mexico

I don't know very much about Manor Books' Kill Squad series, except that there were at least four of them, it has nothing to do with Avon's Killsquad books, and it was likely inspired by THE MOD SQUAD. Instead of "one white, one black, one blonde," we have tight-lipped white Chet Tabor, big black Grant Lincoln and Latina Maria Alvarez, all members of the San Diego Police Department. Judging from the back cover, the Kill Squad (which is never called that in this book) is only assigned the toughest cases.

In VOYAGE OF DEATH, which was author Mark Cruz's second Kill Squad novel, the squad goes undercover on a cruise ship to find out who is smuggling drugs in from Mexico by hiding them inside a stolen life preserver and tossing it over the side to be collected later by the American importers. Tabor, who seems more occupied with chasing women than finding the smugglers, manages to do both when it appears the mousy librarian he picked up, Winifred Lundy, may be involved.

Very little backstory is revealed in VOYAGE OF DEATH, beyond that Tabor is kind of a dick and he and Alvarez have a casual sex thing going. Cruz' plotting and dialogue are along the lines of a typical TV-movie from the period, and it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine this book as a MOD SQUAD. The shortage of suspects makes the mystery element moot, but Cruz manages to pick up the excitement in his action sequences, which include a hanggliding gone awry and a shootout in a Mexican courtyard. Not a bad book at all, but nothing special either.

No comments: