Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Big Thaw

I can't tell you much about Hawk Macrae. I only just one of the series, and I could find next to nothing about the character online. 1974's THE BLOOD OF ANGELS by Albert Barker gives enough backstory; Macrae (sic) is a half-Scotch/half-Indian movie star who specializes in westerns. He's also a private pilot with an Arizona ranch that sometimes serves as a film location, and he apparently sometimes engages in extracurricular adventures when he's not on set.

In #4 of the Curtis Book series, Hawk flies to Alaska to meet with wealthy Bryant T. Grindler, who's interested in bankrolling the actor's next film. He accompanies Grindler, as well as the tycoon's younger fiancé Liz and his secretary Marta, to a secluded mountain cabin hundreds of miles from civilization where they can discuss details and maybe get some hunting and fishing in.

The next day, the party is interrupted by Grindler's estranged daughter Pat, who has hooked up with a pair of American revolutionaries to pull dangerous pranks, including dropping a dye bomb on the Capitol dome that inadvertently caused the death of an Indian ambassador. Pat and her two male accomplices, Simon and violent 'Nam vet Kongo, have come to the cabin to hide from the authorities, turning Hawk's business vacation into something of a DESPERATE HOURS situation.

Barker's writing style is amiable, describing the weathered hero's action in distinctive but not overly elaborate first-person detail. The plot doesn't hold together well, as it seems Hawk has plenty of opportunity to get the drop on his foes if he had wanted to. Violence, sex and sleaze are at a minimum, but the Alaskan wilderness is an unusual setting, and the novel is an effective timewaster. I don't know the true identity of Barker—I naturally assume most men's adventure novelists used pen names (though I realize not all did)—but he cranks this one out in fine form.

1 comment:

TALKING MOVIEzzz said...
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