Tuesday, August 7, 2012

#28: Night Raider by Mike Barry

A VietNam vet turned NYC narcotics cop gets too close the exposing corruption, and finds his girlfriend dead as a warning; something snaps, and he becomes a one-man war on drugs in Mike Barry's first Lone Wolf novel, Night Raider.

Mike Barry--actually sci fi writer Barry Malzberg--passed into legend by writing a big chunk of this series of Men's Adventure novels in a single year in the early 70s.  And Night Raider has a hastily-written quality to it, with characters' names and personalities shifting and an instance of someone getting on the subway and arriving shortly thereafter in a cab.

But there is a feverish intensity to the novel as well, and a vivid depiction of the decaying Big Apple of the 1970s, before the clean-up of Times Square and elsewhere.  Barry also uses an interesting plot device amidst the carnage as the Lone Wolf of the title picks out a dealer on the street and becomes determined to follow a single thread as far as it will go, with death a constant companion.

Like a lot of Men's Adventure-type novels there is a lot of attention paid to guns and weaponry but also a rather curious fixation on engines and cars and muscle cars in particular.

I got this cheaply for my beloved Kindle and read it quickly, then downloaded the next one in the series from Prologue Books.  A quick read, but not entirely undemanding, for discerning readers.

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