Friday, June 20, 2008

Die Spinne

The Death Merchant battles Nazis in THE IRON SWASTIKA PLOT, just two entries after encountering them in the Brazilian rain forest in the excellent THE MATO GROSSO HORROR. I prefer the Death Merchant's pulpier plots to the tales of him fighting the Mafia, if only for the change of pace.

These Nazis, which turn out to be associated with the baddies of THE MATO GROSSO HORROR, are part of a network called Die Spinne—The Spider. The organization has discovered the location of a sunken Nazi submarine in the Atlantic near the Falkland Islands. It reportedly contains not just $2 billion in Nazi gold and diamonds, but also secret papers containing the names of Nazi sympathizers all over the world who could finally be brought to justice.

At the same time The Spider learns of the sub's whereabouts, so do the CIA, which pays freelancer Richard Camellion his customary $100,000 fee to take a team underwater and salvage the treasure before Die Spinne can arrive.

I've read enough of these to comfortably fall into author Joseph Rosenberger's routine by now. Characterization is nil, and graphic descriptions of bullets entering bodies and explosions blasting off limbs prevail. The Death Merchant differs from most other men's adventure characters in that he isn't psychotic or even particularly unfriendly. He's just a guy being paid to do a job, which he does better than anyone else in the world. If you're comfortable with action setpieces that take up half a 178-page book, you can't go wrong with the Death Merchant.

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