Friday, May 13, 2011

Death Squad

The Death Squad series is similar to Manor Books' Kill Squad series. Both are about a trio of renegade cops who hunt bad guys that have escaped punishment due to the flaming liberals who operate the legal system. Both series were shortlived, violent, and not terribly well-written. The only real difference is that one of the Kill Squad is a woman and one of the Death Squad is Latino.

Set in San Diego, KILLERS FOR HIRE, the second and last Death Squad novel from Belmont Tower, starts with black police detective Sam Durham witnessing a man tossing a young woman off a bridge. He tries to save her, but it's difficult when the guy keeps shooting at him. Sam knows the killer is noted criminal Carlos Reyes, but his superiors don't believe him, and, besides, Reyes has an alibi.

Although the book starts with Durham as the main character, the focus soon shifts to Mark Sanders, a white man who is allowed the story's love scenes. The third member of the Death Squad, Raul Gomez, basically serves as comic relief (he would be played by Luis Guzman in the movie version). All three eventually track Reyes to Las Vegas (they engage in a shootout with bikers along the way) in an attempt to bust his alibi and kill a lot more criminals.

KILLERS FOR HIRE isn't bad for what it is. It was written by 47-year-old Dan Streib under the pseudonym Frank Colter. Streib was one of those journeyman who often hid behind pen names and wrote novels in several different genres, including westerns and romances. He also some of the Nick Carter and Executioner books. Both Death Squad books came out in 1975 and may have even been written back-to-back, probably in just a few weeks. KILLERS FOR HIRE is a quick violent read, but nothing you haven't seen before.

1 comment:

Jack Badelaire said...

1975 puts it two years after Magnum Force came out - someone's slacking if it took that long for this to get written.

Despite what sounds like an absolute piece of schlock garbage, I still wouldn't mind finding one of these just to give it a read.