Thursday, December 17, 2015

Night Raider by Mike Barry - Lone Wolf 1

Night Raider
by Mike Barry (Barry Malzburg)
Lone Wolf 1
1973 Berkley

Burt Wulff is a good cop who refuses to go on the take.  His girlfriend ends up dead of an overdose and Wulff decides to kill a lot of people.
"I'm going to kill some people,"
"Take it easy man."
"I'm going to kill a lot of people," Wulff said.
This is rushed out in a prologue that was less fleshed out than most series' recaps.  Wulff then proceed to target random drug dealers and follow to chain up to the big fish.  Not much action, and his last two targets he dispatches by setting the building on fire.

There are some occasional stream-of-consciousness flourishes (though not on the level of the early Butcher novels), but most of the prose is confusing and awkward.  The few dialogue scenes are repetitive, with characters making the same point five or six times in a row.

I've heard a lot of takes on this series.  That is was written purposely bad as satire on the genre.  That it has a character arc that requires reading all 14 volumes to appreciate.  That it's hackwork pooped out to cash in on the Executioner's popularity.

Read on its own merits, this is probably the most poorly written of the Men's Adventure series.  Cliched and derivative, but with the promise of having possibly the most unhinged of main characters.

Critics seem to give the series a lot more credit than I think it deserves, probably based on the respect they have for Malzburg's science fiction.  I wonder if they give the same credit to his erotica novels like I, Lesbian and Nympho Nurse.

Malzburg himself talks about the social vision he had for the series, and how the war on crime mirrored the war in Vietnam.  As if this was unique and profound, and not cliche and omnipresent in Men's Adventure of the time.

I'd be nicer, but he pooped all over Don Pendleton, so screw him.  I might skip forward to the end, as number 14 is supposed to be especially crazy.

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