Friday, November 25, 2016

FFB: License to Kill -- Norman Daniels

License to Kill is a fine example of a generic paperback: generic cover, generic title, generic blurb, generic contents.  The publisher, Pyramid, didn't even bother to mention on the cover (or anywhere else) that it was the second book about Kelly Carvel, so when I pulled it off the shelf more or less at random, I didn't know that, either.  

Carvel is a generic character, a former cop who's resigned because a killer he captured has been let off on a technicality.  Now Carvel works for 10 men whose names he doesn't know.  They pay him to be a sort of freelance spy or lawman or whatever they need him to be, and he works hand-in-glove with the government, or so it seems.  

In License to Kill Carvel is sent to Uruguay to rescue two men captured by the Tupamaros, revolutionaries who want to take over the country.  He's told that he can kill anyone with impunity and that he won't get into any trouble for anything else he does, either.  In Uruguay he's met by Mike Santo, his partner from the earlier book, and they have a team of four men to assist them.  Considering the strength of the Tupamaros, their mission seems doomed from the start, especially since the revolutionaries know their every move.  Someone in Carvel's team is a plant.  They're later joined by a young woman who's there mainly to provide a few sex teases.

There's a lot of generic action, a lot of explosions, and a couple of generic twists that don't surprise, and of course all's well that ends well.  Norman Daniels wrote hundreds of pulp stories and hundreds of novels.  He could do this kind of thing in his sleep.  In fact, maybe he did.


Jeff Meyerson said...

So then the key word to describe this would be...generic?

Don Coffin said...

Pretty generic review, there, Bill. (Grin)

Mike Stamm said...

I read a dozen or so film and TV novelizations by Norman Daniels back in the '60s; I didn't know the word "generic" at the time, but it is *le mot juste*. Adequate to stave off boredom for an hour or so, but utterly forgettable.

A little better than Michael Avallone, though.

Mathew Paust said...

Appreciate the warning, Bill.