Thursday, March 17, 2011

Super Cop Joe Blaze: The Thrill Killers by Robert Novak

THE THRILL KILLERS plays more like an hour-long TV episode than a novel. Its thin plot pits macho lone-wolf detective Joe Blaze against a pair of rich, spoiled young medical interns who get their kicks raping and murdering pretty nurses. The level of violence and graphic sleaze is far above what you'd see on television, even now, but otherwise, there isn't much in this 1974 Belmont Tower novel to surprise you. Par for the course during this era of men's adventure novels, the criminals are captured but allowed to walk away clean in the improbably liberal courts demanded by the expectations of the literature, leaving it to Blaze to track down the rapists and kill them in cold blood. Spoiler?

Credited to one Robert Novak, THE THRILL KILLERS was written by Leonard Levinson (see the comments below), though some of the Joe Blaze novels may have actually been written by bestselling author Nelson DeMille, who doesn't admit to any of them on his website, not even the equally trashy Keller and Ryker cop novels credited to him. It is known that some of the Ryker books accidentally feature the name "Blaze" in their prose instead of "Ryker," meaning that they probably began as Super Cop Joe Blaze stories that were quickly rewritten to accomodate the new hero.

THE THRILL KILLERS is junky and trashy, but a good, quick read if you're in the mood for violent urban thrills.


Joe Kenney said...

Marty, I've been meaning to post this on here for a while now but just kept forgetting to. In case you didn't already know, The Thrill Killers was actually written by Leonard Levinson. What's interesting is that he also wrote the third volume of the Ryker series, The Terrorists. I'm trying to get more info from him on his contributions to these two "tough cop" series, who the editor was, and why exactly DeMille's name was carried on The Terrorists when he didn't even write it.

Marty McKee said...

Thanks, Joe. I've edited the post. My copy of THE TERRORISTS does credit DeMille.

Joe Kenney said...

The story behind the Terrorists with DeMille being credited is that DeMille was behind schedule and wouldn't be able to turn a manuscript in on time, so the editor, Milburne Smith, asked Leonard Levinson if he would write an installment of the Ryker series -- with the understanding that DeMille would still be credited on the cover of the book.

What's odd is that the next Ryker, #4: The Angel of Death, was the last one DeMille wrote, and then he jumped ship to Manor Books, where he changed Ryker's name to "Keller." (And, as you mentioned elsewhere on this blog, republished "Angel of Death" as "Night of the Phoenix," with different character names.)

So I wonder if DeMille was just pissed off that Leisure put his name on a book he didn't write? Could that be the reason he split from them and went over to Manor?