Monday, June 30, 2008

Strike Force 7 by Ian MacAlister

Strike Force 7 by Ian MacAlister
Fawcett Gold Medal M2971,
Copyright 197

"There were only a few passes through the cliffs this high up. By morning there were going to be troops, ambushing every one of them. Tomorrow was going to be hell."

In a three year period in the 70s, Marvin Albert using the pseud. Ian MacAlister, wrote four top shelf adventure novels. They all take place in dangerous locations, they are full of intrigue, and the plots involve extreme risks. The main character is usually a mercenary or ex-commando with a shady past that accepts to lead a mission with a handful of other professionals, some of which you wouldn't invite to your home for dinner.

My favorite is "Strike Force 7", which takes place in Morocco and its vast surrounding desert locations. Canadian gunrunner Earl Jarrell is completing his prison term in a Marseilles hell-hole and needs cash for the future, he's not getting any younger. He gets offered a job, "his last mission", to lead a team of his choosing to rescue an American millionaire's wife and daughter from a violent Arab political revolutionary group. He assembles an experienced team of professional killers, calculates a forceful plan of action, and Jarrell leads them out. There is a short timeline for the rescue, so the action is fast and explosive. Albert creates a prodigious atmosphere in the novel, and the reader can feel the sand in his nostrils and sweat running down his back. All characters are strongly portrayed, along with their psychological and physical features. There is a well developed relationship between Jarrell and A.P. reporter Nora Devlin, who gets involved with the mission. The reader expects this relationship to evolve into a romantic one, instead Marvin Albert leads us to one of appreciation, respect and understanding. And it works perfectly....

Nora Devlin shrugged. "You sell arms and yourself to any side that pays. In Katanga, they said you'd sell yourself to both sides at the same time, if you could."
Jarrell laughed softly. "That's true enough, So?"

Many authors were spitting out adventure thrillers in the 70s. Marvin Albert packed a high quality four punch during that time. "Strike Force 7" is my personal favorite, but all four are superb. The last chapter is truly touching and wonderfully written, It really reveals to the reader what a fine author Marvin Albert was.

Equally as good is "Driscoll's Diamonds." Another adventure thriller involving a mercenary (Driscoll), stolen diamonds, and a man called Royan who taught Driscoll everything he knows. The wicked Royan character is remarkable, as is the Middle East setting.

The four under Ian MacAlister are:

Skylark Mission (1973)
Driscoll's Diamonds (1973)
Strike Force 7 (1974)
Valley of the Assassins (1976)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

One Lonely Night by Mickey Spillane

One Lonely Night by Mickey Spillane
Signet 888, Copyright 1951

Talk about classics....

"This time I wasn't dealing in murder, I was dealing in war!"

It's nice to be enlightened by a couple of guys who know more about pulp fiction than I. This was the only Mike Hammer novel that I haven't read in the past, and it turns out to be Spillane's best.

Ridiculed and judged, Mike bounces back with the understanding that the world needs men like him. Men who have to do what is needed and right, no matter what the wishes of society dictate. Great stuff by the great man-Commies, murder, broads and vengeance. This may be Mike Hammer at his most vicious and you go on the hunt with him all-the-way. From the haunting beginning; when he walks the bridge, tormented and chastised on that raining night. To the violent ending; when he understands who he is, what he has become, and why the world needs him. "I killed because I had to and I killed things that needed killing." It's a hell of a ride...

This is a fascinating dark, noir novel (not just another Mike Hammer story) and Mickey Spillane best work!!! I haven't read the Mike Hammer novels in many years, after finishing this one I plan to read again the first "classic six." (1947-1952)

"I laughed and laughed while I put the second clip in the gun. I went around the room and kicked them over on their backs, and if they had faces left I made sure they didn't."