Thursday, August 19, 2021

The Black Berets 1: Deadly Reunion by Mike McCray

The Black Berets 1
Deadly Reunion
by Mike McCray (John Preston and/or Michael McDowell)
1984, Dell

A special forces squad from Vietnam are called back together by a sketchy CIA operative to rescue POWs from Laos. Led by the cold blooded native American Billy Leaps, we've got cocaine addicted pilot Cowboy, Greek bar owner Harry, professional skin peeler Rosie, and wacky demolition expert Applebaum.

After a quick shooting at the beginning there is no action until the very end, the rest spent getting the band back together and training. The action itself is so-so, punctuated by cartoonish levels of gore with various organs flying around.

I've kind of lost (or found) my moral compass for hardboiled fictional characters these days. I don't mind my main characters being absolute scum of the earth, and I recognize there are different moral expectations between fiction and real life, but I have a hard time telling whether the leads are supposed to be presented as actual heroes doing the dirty job that needs to be done, flawed anti-heroes who occasionally cross the line, or straight out psychopaths.

I may be reading too much into who the authors were, but this installment leans so much into the characters being psychotic I wondered if they either were being ironic or were writing to market - these readers want their insane war criminals, let's give it to them.

Well written with good characterizations, but too little actual story and action. Hopefully later installments will be more action packed, now that the introductions are out of the way.

Paperback from AbeBooks

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