Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Predator by Andrew York

The Predator
by Andrew York
Jonas Wilde - The Eliminator 3
Arrow 1969

Jonas Wilde is the Eliminator, an assassin working for a secret branch of the British government.  As he's being forced into retirement, the entire staff of a local safehouse front are tortured and murdered, including the secretary he was having a fling with.

Wilde goes to Rome to track down the group responsible for the murders, infiltrating them pretty much effortlessly.  He ends up joining them under an alias and trains to become assassin.

A good third of the book takes place in a house during their going away party before the big mission.  Wilde tries to ditch his female company and send a message out and ends up killing one of the group.  Loooong discussions ensue as to whether to trust him, and against all common sense they do.

Wilde and company fly to New York where they spend the bulk of the rest of the book...hanging around another house.  Wilde eventually kills the rest, though his involuntary female sidekick manages a higher body count.

I hate to bash this too much because it's pretty well written, but too little happens and there are some conflicting tones that rub me the wrong way.

The book is decidedly "low budget".  The premise: a spy goes to three different countries to stop an army from carrying out a series of assassinations.  The execution: people hang around houses and talk.  It reminds me of riffs in the MST3K episode of Agent for H.A.R.M. about the low budget.  Thing is, this book is even cheaper on the sets and special effects, even though they're free because it's a book and you can make it up.

Not that every book has to have exotic locations and elaborate action set pieces.  This is where the tone conflicts come in.  Is this an over the top, campy James Bond style thriller, or a gritty, releastic noir.  It's got a little of both, and not in a good way.

Most of the story continues because Wilde is afraid that he can't surprise and overcome three different killers in the same house.  Yes, in real life, three to one is being hopelessly outnumbered.  However, for the world's greatest killer who can kill a man with one karate chop, it should have taken him thirty seconds.

The femme fatale of the piece, Glorious Torrio, is a complete waste.  She starts out great as a ravenous sexual psychopath, and ends up a ball of girly panic.  She is defeated because she has a fear of heights and goes into an attic.  An attic.

Overpriced Kindle version here

Click here to read a sample.

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