Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Remo Who?

Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir's unique blend of right-wing fantasy and tongue-in-cheek parody continues in UNION BUST (Pinnacle, 1973), the seventh book in the highly acclaimed Destroyer paperback series. CURE head Harold Smith sends Remo and Chiun to Chicago to investigate a possible new superunion that would put all the transportation unions—from truck drivers to cargo ships—under one umbrella. Meaning that a strike would inevitably cripple the world's economy. That isn't in America's best interests, in Smith's opinion, so Remo becomes the Teamsters' new recording secretary to get closer to charismatic new union president Eugene Jethro. His headquarters are located inside a mysterious new skyscraper that was built in just two months by contractors who have mysteriously disappeared.

The fun of UNION BUST comes in the man behind Jethro, who turns out to be Nuihc (!), Chiun's nephew whom the old Korean trained in the days before he hooked up with Remo. Not quite an evil twin, but Murphy and Sapir seem to be taking a swipe at the old "enemy from the past" chestnut. I'm still not completely sold on the violence that often leaves innocent bystanders just as dead as the bad guys; Smith orders the assassination of an innocent physician he recruited to save Remo's life, in order to protect CURE's identity. It's a tricky tone that the authors are shooting for. It's more than action with a dash of humor, but not exactly action/comedy either. The Destroyer books definitely stand out from the novels they're spoofing, such as the Executioner and Penetrator series, which are played dead serious.

UNION BUST is entertainingly written, but an acquired taste. Considering the enormous number of Destroyer books written over the decades, the franchise is certainly more than just a cult favorite though.

1 comment:

Bruce said...

my cover is cooler ok same artwork just from the first edition is all