Tuesday, May 16, 2023

#1: Donovan’s Devils

#1: Donovan’s Devils: The Assassination is Set for July 4…”, by Lee Parker. 1974. Award Books.

This is the first in a series that only went to three books. Book #2 is Blueprint for Execution, and #3 is The Guns of Mazatlan. The author is Lee Parker for all three books, although “Glorious Trash” suggests that the author is either Larry Powell or Robert H. Turner. It’s a “Dirty Dozen” kind of book in which a group of hardcases and misfits are put together for a mission that no one else wants—to rescue some hostages from a local strongman/rebel in Paraguay.

I actually liked the writing here. The book read smoothly. My main issue was that over three-quarters of the book is just putting the team together. We get to meet James Donovan first, an Army captain getting ready to leave the military, who is recruited by his former commander—Brigadier General Lucas Blaine—to take a very special assignment for the POTUS. Rescue an ambassador, a famous doctor, and the ambassador’s daughter from a Guatemalan strongman called El Tigre. The team he puts together, and with whom he has worked before in Vietnam, contains Oliver Bogan (tough black guy), Nathan Carey (sociopath who learns the meaning of friendship), Arthur "Houdini" Gibbs (good natured conman), Francis Quinn (deadly warrior), Irvin "The Bear" Randolph (muscle and dumb jock), and Joseph Teal (Mechanic and chick magnet).

Gibbs, Bogan, and Quinn get a full introduction of their back story and skill sets. I’m guessing book 2 might do the same for the other three. And by the time we get to Paraguay and the actual rescue, there’s only a little over 30 pages of this 154 page book to describe it. It really got the short shrift, and the death of El Tigre was pretty anticlimactic.

I liked the writing well enough that I might try book #2 if I can find it cheap, but I hope we get a little more story and action in that book and a little less background.


Jeff said...

Sounds interesting and like a lot of the books I read in high school (I may have read this as I'd been a junior in HS in 1974).

Charles Gramlich said...

I didn't see a lot of these kinds of books around Arkansas when I was growing up or I'm sure I would have devoured them.