The blog for The Solitaire Rose Experience. Yes, the blog revolution is utterly and completely over. However, I haven't figured that out yet, so I'll be listing articles, ideas, links, and other internet debris. Now, you can join in! And be mocked mercilessly!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

New Destroyer Novel

The new Destroyer book is out, and I finished reading it last night. I have always loved the series, which is probably one of the last of the “Men’s Adventure” book series that used to fill book shelves in the 70’s. They all had names like “The Executioner”, “The Butcher”, “The Death Merchant” and the like, and most of the ones that you can still find in used book stores were published by Pinnacle Books, and in the early 80’s, they started wandering from publisher to publisher.

Most of the 80’s and 90’s were a great time for the series, as Will Murray was the series ghostwriter. He was a big pulp fiction fan, and captured the series odd mix of action, humor, fantasy and satire and wrote the best books of the series without exception. Yeah, I loved the Warren Murphy/Dick Sapir novels, but Murray understood the characters on a deeper level and made them into more than just vehicles for jokes or fight scenes.

He left when the series was at Gold Eagle (the men’s action arm of Harlequin publishing), and the series has been pretty uneven since then. The few good books were written by Jim Mullaney, but there are quite a few of his books that forget that the series works best when it is making fun of EVERYONE, and fall into the Rush Limbaugh style of “humor”.

The current book is the first that he’s written in about 3 years, the first at a new publisher, and is also the first to dump the old series numbering in favor of a new start. Mullaney is also the first ghostwriter to get his name on the cover as writer, so that’s a good thing in my opinion.

How’s the book?

Better than the series has been, but still not as great as it used to be. The plot starts by dismissing all of the books written since Mullaney, which comes off as pure fan service, and then quickly gets into a plot about a Mexican General wanting to make Mexico’s borders what they were before the US took the Southwest.

Along the way we get a lot of Remo/Chuin interaction (good), ham-fisted satire of tired right wing targets Ted Kennedy and PBS (snore) and a fast moving action plot (good). The core of the series is the interplay between Remo and Chuin, which is one of the elements that have been VERY hard to screw up. Even in the silly “Remo Williams” movie, the Remo/Chuin stuff was great fun.

How did I like the book? Like most fans, I pine for the return of Will Murray, but since it will never happen, this is a passable continuation of the series and had a few scenes there were genuinely funny, the plot was interesting and the action sequences were good enough to drive the plot.

For Destroyer fans, it gets a 4 out of 5, and for other readers, it gets a 3 out of 5 and is a pleasant enough way to waste an afternoon.


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