Wednesday, July 14, 2010

John Quinn's Terminator novel

I finished Justin Cronin's massive vampire novel The Passage (Ensimmäinen siirtokunta in Finnish) yesterday and wrote a review of it for the local newspaper. I enjoyed the novel quite a bit and can recommend it; now, suffice to say that any friend of long, epic western novel should try The Passage.

After finishing the 850-page The Passage I wanted to read something quick. I had recently found a free copy of an eighties' men's adventure paperback, John Quinn's The Kill Squad (1983) - or actually the Finnish translation of it, called Nitistäjä ja salamurhaajat (1985). Since Quinn's hero Rod Gavin is called Terminator after the "best" men's adventure fashion, calling him Nitistäjä in Finnish doesn't really work, since it sounds like he's hiding in the bushes and shoots in the back. The other two Quinn translations, Silicon Valley Laughter/Kamikazemurhaaja and Mercenary Kill/Viimeinen isku, don't carry the Nitistäjä label. The author behind the John Quinn pseudonym is presumably Dennis Rodriguez, who's probably written lots of these kind of books.

Okay, back to the book. I read the book in one hour or so, which is a virtue in itself. As for the other virtues in the book...

The book's kinda episodic and there's not much plot, basically just scenes put together. The premise is kinda interesting: a group of terrorists hides behind the survivalist group working somewhere in Arkansas, seemingly scheming to kill president Reagan (why in Arkansas of all places is never clear) and seemingly getting instructions from someone in the US federal state organization. The book's also kinda erotic or even pornographic, as almost every baddie in the book seems to get sexual satisfaction from beating up and killing women. In the end, the book's kinda clichéd. Kinda?

I started to think about Rod Gavin, the Terminator of the title. What right does he have to use the Terminator label? He doesn't do anything in the book. If he really were the Terminator, he'd be able to prevent at least some of the killings and slayings in the book, don't you think? Instead he's hit in the head and while he's unconscious, two thugs torture and kill a nice young lady. (Okay, he does kill them later, but that doesn't much help the young lady.) Similar thing happens also later in the book. Only in the end, he gets to shoot some of the baddies, but it comes all too late after several innocents have been maimed. To my surprise, I began to hope Mike Hammer would step in and start hitting some teeth with his gun. Rod Gavin is a wimp, if you ask me!

Here's another review of the book at Johnny LaRue's Crane Shot. He seems to basically agree with me.

The Finnish cover of the paperback seems to be an exact copy of the original one, which is kinda rare in the history of the Finnish paperback publishing.

1 comment:

Brian Drake said...

I haven't read that Terminator episode, though I do have it. The best one that I read was book #4, the title of which I forget. The one about Silicon Valley wasn't bad, either.