Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Street Vigilante

STREETS OF BLOOD was the second in Manor Books' series about Bronson: Street Viglante; I've now read and reviewed all three of them. As you may have already guessed, they're heavily influenced by the 1974 film DEATH WISH, which starred Charles Bronson as a liberal New York architect who turns deadly vigilante when his family is attacked by street scum. I'm surprised Manor was able to dodge a lawsuit, the influence is so strong.

I suspect STREETS OF BLOOD was written by a different author than BLIND RAGE, though both are credited to Philip Rawls. Leonard Levinson, a longtime pulp writer who contributed to the Sharpshooter and Apache Wars series, among others, penned this one. In BLIND RAGE, the violence is more vulgar and graphic than the other books. Bronson has few qualms about knocking off innocent bystanders, and he has an affair with a teenage girl during his swath of vengeance.

STREETS OF BLOOD forgets all that. It's stated he hasn't been with a woman since his wife's murder two years previously, and Bronson is more compassionate in this book. He's still patrolling the streets of New York, killing muggers and rapists though. The body count is amusingly high, and Levinson keeps the action moving at a nice clip. Some conflict in the form of a cop named Jenkins who figures out Bronson's "night job" works well too.


Zwolf said...

Good to see these books haven't been forgotten. They're some of the most depraved action-series books ever. They feel like the author hates the vigilante-fiction audience and is taking his anger out on us by wallowing in as much grime and sick behavior as he can. Which, o' course, is pretty interesting... :)

Unknown said...

A very interesting related book is the autobiographical THE LAST BUFFOON by Leonard Jordan (Levinson). The narrator is the author of a lot of men's action books. I reviewed it on my blog a while back.

Cinema Raiders said...

Thanks for bringing these books to my attention. I've never heard of them before, but I have to track them down!

Joe Kenney said...

I want to second Bill's Last Buffon recommendation. I really liked that one and want to re-read it. Ironically, I just bought this volume of Bronson the other week, but was waiting to get #1 before reading it. I also just read another Levinson book, Sharpshooter #4, which you've also reviewed; I enjoyed that one too. I'd love to get in touch with Levinson but I'm unable to find any contact info for him...though he did post a response to an Amazon review for The Last Buffon in 2008; I put the URL for this in the comment I posted on Bill Crider's review.

Jack Badelaire said...

(Several Years Later) I read this over the weekend. I have to say, I enjoyed it much more than BLIND RAGE, mostly because not only is Bronson a more sympathetic protagonist, not only because of his treatment of bystanders and so forth but because of the internal struggles he goes through, especially with regards to his dead family. I also liked the conflict between him and Jenkins, as well as the inclusion of Scarlotti and the other Mafiosi.

If I used a star rating, I'd give BLIND RAGE a 3, with STREETS OF BLOOD a 4+.