Friday, August 14, 2009

New Orleans On The Assassin's List

Whomever Peter McCurtin was, he surely was a crafty devil, churning out Assassin novels for Dell and Marksman books for Belmont/Tower, even though obviously both characters are exactly the same. Both antiheroes even have the same origin: New Orleans-based gun dealers who seek revenge against the Mafia after their families are murdered. I have no idea who McCurtin pulled it off, but my hat is off.

The second Assassin novel, NEW ORLEANS HOLOCAUST (Dell, 1973), sends Robert Briganti back to his hometown to find the brother of one of the hoods that killed his family prior to the first book. There isn't really any more to the plot than that. In fact, that story's payoff pales a bit next to some of the side jobs Briganti takes on before and after he arrives in New Orleans.

A nasty setpiece finds the Assassin on the prowl for two gay Mafia hitmen who tortured and killed a young stripper with whom he knew as a kid growing up in the carnival business. McCurtin briefly introduces a temporary new partner for Briganti: a retired corrupt police detective who helps the Assassin prowl the underworld for one of the fiends and dies heroically in an absurdly public shootout.

Little in the way of characterization or anything exuding realism, but blunt and entertaining. Briganti's gimmick of recording his exploits on cassette tape and sending them to the FBI is an interesting one.

2 comments:

Harp of Hyperion said...

I read this one a few months ago, and was thinking about reviewing it on my own blog.

The action set-pieces were, actually, quite good -- the author makes sure you always have a clear idea of where the protagonist is and what he is doing.

That being said, I was annoyed that the main character breaks his word on two occasions -- he gets mobsters to give him critical information on the promise that he won't kill them -- and then he kills them *anyway*.

If we are supposed to be rooting for this character, there needs to be *something* that makes him better than the people he is pursuing, such as a personal code.

I understand McCurtin wrote some westerns, and I think I might be interested in checking them out -- but, on the basis of this book, I doubt if I would ever be interested in reading any of the other books in this series.

Arbogast said...

I used to have this book. I think I stared at that woman's boobs for two solid years.