Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mafia Death Trap

So here Robert Briganti is, just minding his own business, relaxing in the Maine woods with his elderly new friend Lem Perkins, when a couple of Mafia "pigs" take a potshot at him and accidentally kill Perkins instead. This makes Briganti, known among Mob circles as the Assassin, mad. Really mad. Mad enough to go to Boston and wipe out the local capo, Franco Toriello, and his entire organization.

So goes BOSTON BUST-OUT, the third and final Assassin paperback, all published by Dell in 1973. 1973 was also the year author Peter McCurtin began writing novels about the Marksman for Belmont Tower, and it's clear that the Assassin books were intended for the Marksman, as both characters have the same origin and the same bloody concept.

BOSTON is practically plotless: just a series of kidnaps, beatings, and shootings as Briganti kills his way through Toriello's entire family. Barely a hero by this point, Briganti even snatches the old man's young girlfriend, sleeps with her, and sends her back to Toriello with false information that he knows will kill her. Coldblooded mofo, that Assassin.

As these things go, BOSTON BUST-OUT isn't bad. It's maybe a little long at 192 pages, but it ain't exactly packed with a lot of big words. As entertaining as it is, it's easy to see why the Assassin didn't last. He isn't an original or terribly interesting character, and there's nothing about him that stands out among the Sharpshooters and the Marksmen and the Liquidators that were competing for eyeballs. Pretty good cover though, especially the blue background that makes the illustration really pop.

1 comment:

Jack Badelaire said...

Love it! Yeah, back when I lived in Maine, we always had to watch out for the pot-shot taking mafiosi. Had to wear your hunter orange when Boston's North End went on a holiday up north...

I want to hunt this book down just to see what it's like. I'm fascinated by any action pulp that takes place in Boston - I need to find the Executioner Boston book (I think it's "Boston Blitz").

Also cool to see the Assassin running about with a Skorpion machine pistol. Does he actually use it in the book, or was that just for the cover?