Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Looters by Albert Conroy

The Looters by Albert Conroy
Crest s431
Copyright 1961

Colonel Targo studied her thoughtfully. Finally he shook his head. "You talk much too quickly, lovely one. I must make sure that you speak the truth. And there is only one way to be sure."
He went to the wall and took down a leather strap. There was a cruel lust in his face as he returned to her, and began...

Albert Conroy is one of many pseudonyms used by prolific author Marvin H. Albert. I’m a big fan of his novels and he never disappointed me. No matter if it’s a mystery, western, adventure, or detective story, in less than 200 pages he can package a thrilling narrative where the plot sails tirelessly and the lead character is truly magnetic. Written in 1961, it’s evident that the events in Cuba inspired the setting for Marvin Albert to craft “The Looters.”

Having his fill of prison and crime, retired safecracker Sam Morgan seems content scratching a living working on charter fishing boats in Florida. That all changes when he is offered a proposition by beautiful Colleen O’Hara. She needs him to open a safe on the Caribbean island of Caribo and is willing to pay highly for it. Well, Morgan refuses and ends up shanghaied to the island, where he learns more about the heist and accepts the offer. The corrupt dictator has his personal loot (millions of dollars in gold) stashed in a vault under the Fortress del Rey and two forces are willing to team up to get it. One is Colleen’s father -who happens to be an ex-gangster, and the other is Kosta -the leader of the underground rebellion. There’s plenty of action that takes place throughout the novel. The jungles are swarming with government men hunting down members of the revolution, which now includes affable Sam Morgan. Colleen and Morgan barely escape the pursuing soldiers, during which they witness the horrors of a ruthless dictator. Finally the time to act arrives and they siege the well protected Fortress del Rey. Kosta buys time holding off wave after wave of government soldiers as Morgan fights his way down into the vault and attempts to get at the loot.

Those familiar with Marvin Albert’s work may recognize some similarities in “The Looters” with the four high intrigue adventure novels he authored in the mid-70s under the pseudo Ian MacAlister. The story takes place in a volatile location, it features a likable protagonist who has in the past been known to dabble on the opposite side of what society deems is right, there is always an attractive girl involved, and the ending is filled with explosive combat. In fact, the take over of the fortress by Morgan and Kosta’s rebels, with them violently holding it in an Alamo-like manner, is a page turning thrill ride. I’m not going to say that “The Looters” is better than the outstanding Ian MacAlister books, but written 15 years before them, it doesn’t miss by much.

1 comment:

Bill Crider said...

Always glad to see another review of work by Albert under any name. He should be much better known.