Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Scalpel Scam

I was not a big fan of 1984's NIGHTMARE NETWORK, #5 in Pinnacle's Protector series. The Protector is never actually called that in the novel, and I presume he is Alex Dartanian, a soldier of fortune who owns Dartanian Security Service, a high-priced security firm based in Manhattan. Within that network is an ultra-secret faction called ICE: Inner Court Executions. Dartanian's ICE men serve as vigilantes, recruited from the best military and intelligence men in the U.S. His ace assistants are ex-Special Forces 'Nam vet Mick Porter and Japanese martial arts expert Sin Simara.

Their target is Dr. Stewart Valcour, who kidnaps healthy people and keeps them captive in his technologically advanced private hospital to use in his organ farm. Wealthy patrons pay big bucks for new eyes, kidneys, hearts and livers or to just have regular blood transfusions that will prolong their lives. Yes, author Rich Rainey is ripping off COMA and not too arrestingly either. Unromantic action scenes and scant characterization help sink this book. Late in the game, Rainey introduces a potentially interesting character named Taurus, a reclusive assassin who lives high in the mountains with a harem of women. So much a mystery to his employers that they don't even know his name, Taurus is quickly killed after a build-up that leads the reader to assume he'll play a big part in the climax.

I read this one in a hurry and won't remember a thing about it a few weeks from now. Considering its lurid plot, it would have helped to add some sleaze to the proceedings (although a female doctor does have regular sex with one of her coma victims).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's so much potential there. Too bad it's a stinker.