Sunday, October 26, 2008

King Of The Mafia

Bruno Rossi returns with another adventure of the bloodthirsty Sharpshooter in book #5 of Leisure's long-running series (at least fifteen of them). NIGHT OF THE ASSASSINS is Johnny Rock at his most unhinged. As I wrote in an earlier post, the Sharpshooter is the only men's adventure hero I've yet stumbled across who is absolutely psychotic, and NIGHT OF THE ASSASSINS is a great example of that. Rossi (reputedly Leonard Levinson) barely invents a plot for this novel, and is content to describe Rock roaming around Miami Beach blasting the shit out of mobsters. Sometimes he goes to elaborate lengths to plan a job, as when he obtains scuba equipment and swims out to a Mafia casino ship that he robs and then explodes. But sometimes he'll just be walking down a hotel corridor and shoot the first two guys who come along.

Rock, who became an Executioner wannabe after his family was murdered by the Mafia, isn't afraid of big fish, setting his sights on Vincent Pancaldo, the godfather of Miami and the last of several dozen corpses the Sharpshooter leaves in Florida. Blunt and lean with no filling, NIGHT OF THE ASSASSINS is as straightforward as the genre gets, leaving little room for arty flourishes or flowery exposition. Another thing I like about the Lancer Sharpshooter books is the covers, which are unfortunately unsigned, but definitely succeed in catching the reader's eye.

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