Saturday, May 10, 2008

Guardian Angel -- Warren Murphy and James Mullaney

This is the first book of The New Destroyer series. But not to worry. It's still about Remo and Chiun. (Or should that be Chiun and Remo? Of course it should. My apologies to the original Master of Sinanju.)

Many years ago, before some of you little snowflakes were born (1971), Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir published the first book in The Destroyer series. My theory is that, since Pinnacle was the publisher, it was intended as another clone of The Executioner, and it kind of reads that way. But it rapidly became something else. I believe that in that far-distant day, I was one of the first to review the series (in The Armchair Detective) and call it for what it was: a great, funny, unconventional approach to the men's action genre.

I devoured the books one after another for several years, but eventually other hands took over, and I lost interest. It seems that the other hands had, within the last few years, taken the series far away from its origins. So Mr. Murphy decided to take the reins again and get things back on the right track with his new collaborator, James Mullaney. I'm happy to report that they've succeed admirably. The banter between Chiun and Remo is hilarious, the plot's outrageous (the U. S. is about to be invaded by a descendant of Santa Anna, with the intent of carving out a new nation called "Nuevo Mexico" in the Southwest), and the action is zippy.

A lot of the books I read lately tilt to the left politically. Not this one. It tilts pretty far the other way. And if you're looking for Political Correctness, forget it. You won't find any of that here. Far from it. None of this bothered me in the least, but I thought I'd better warn you. My verdict: Welcome back, Chiun and Remo.

There's an interview with Murphy in the latest Crimespree. Ed Gorman has more here.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the kind words again about the series, Bill. I thought you would like the books if you gave them a another try after all these years.

Donna said...

When you finish reading the New Destroyers -- the ones available so far,that is -- Jim Mullaney also wrote twenty of the Gold Eagle ones. His run was from #111 Prophet of Doom to #131 Unnatural Selection and they're well worth reading. Not only because Jim is a good writer, but more important for Destroyer fans, he catches the characters and the spirit of the series perfectly.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Donna. I think I have a few of those already.