Sunday, September 20, 2009

Torch Of Vengeance

Johnny Rock returns in STILETTO, Leisure's ninth Sharpshooter novel, and he has a supporting cast this time. Iris Toscano, Rock's lady friend from the first Sharpshooter book, is back to assist Johnny on his mission to murder as many mobsters as he can. Also, his uncle Vito joins the crusade after Vito's wife is killed in a barrage of bullets meant for her nephew.

The plot, which may have been written by Peter McCurtin, who introduced both Johnny and Iris in the first book, KILLING MACHINE, meanders for 215 pages, but still manages to be less sloppy than most previous entries. I wouldn't be surprised if STILETTO was intended to be two separate adventures, but Leisure and/or McCurtin decided to push them together. The fact that I don't think any actual stilettos appear in the book leave me wondering too.

Rock (formerly John Rocetti, who hunts the Mafia as revenge for the murders of his family) starts out by planning the destruction of one million gallons of stolen gasoline the Mob has stashed away in the woods of New Jersey. After several pretty cool chases and shootouts, some of which are quite graphic and approach Death Merchant levels, Rock and Vito end up pursing a Mafia gunrunning operation.

It's too long and feels padded in spots--particularly a few pages in which Rock and Vito talk about their shotgun shells and where they shot them--but STILETTO is one of the better Sharpshooter entries I've encountered so far. I recently managed to land the entire Sharpshooter series in one lot for a mere $1.00, so I'm looking forward to catching up with them.


Unknown said...

Isn't the publisher Leisure instead of Lancer?

Marty McKee said...

It is Leisure. Thanks, Bill. Will fix above.

Andrew Byers said...

Wow, what a steal! The entire series for $1 = sweet!