Sunday, December 26, 2010

Death At Its Ugliest

So who wrote DEATH RACE, the seventh in Pinnacle's men's adventure series about an ex-mobster called the Butcher? Some online sources claim prolific pulp author Michael Avallone, who certainly wrote some Butcher novels, also penned this 1973 entry, while Bradley Mengel's SERIAL VIGILANTES OF PAPERBACK FICTION credits DEATH RACE to Butcher creator James Dockery.

I'm inclined to go with Dockery, though DEATH RACE is not a very good novel. It sends Bucher, the former Mafia kingpin with a quarter-million-dollar bounty on his head, to Alaska to perform a mission for the super-secret government agency White Hat, for which he now operates as an agent codenamed Iceman. Unfortunately, it also saddles Bucher with a new Eskimo lover, Sonya Rostov, and most of the book is this badass mooning over her and even considering quitting White Hat to live with her in the cold and the ice and the snow.

It comes as no surprise that Sonya doesn't live to the end of the book, which motivates the Butcher to kick ass. The villain is Dr. Wan Fu, a criminal genius with--literally--two brains, one of which grows on the outside of his face like a hideous birthmark. His favorite game is to sic his killer canines on helpless victims.

DEATH RACE may have the lowest body count of any Butcher novel, which is depressing. It won't take long to read, but is probably not worth the effort.


Jack Badelaire said...

I've only read one Butcher novel, and it was much later in the series. I have, however, ordered the Serial Vigilantes book and will no doubt squeal like a little girl when I get it in my grubby little hands. Ages ago I tried to put together a PMP fiction master list, and now someone's gone and done the rest of the hard work for me.

Anonymous said...

I read all of them, when they first came out. However, they were destroyed in a firs. Do you know where I can get them replaced, at a decent price?