Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Death Squad #01 - Gang War

Dan Streib penned a short-lived two book series entitled 'Death Squad' in 1975. This Belmont Tower publication was written under the name of Frank Colter and had a similar outline as the 1975 five volume series “Kill Squad”, also written by Streib as Mark Cruz (credit to Glorious Trash blog for that tidbit of info). The idea is a familiar one – three cops take to the streets to fight crime without a uniform. The idea is that they can accomplish far more by spending their own personal time and fortunes on fighting crime than the pension/benefit loaded daytime gig. Thus the debut, “Gang War”, comes to fruition.

The novel is set in San Diego with an opening scene involving a 15-yr old girl being raped by a trio of young men. Officers Paul Scott and protagonist Mark Sanders (Mike or Mark, the author changes the first name nearly every chapter) arrive on the scene just in time for Scott to be shot to death in the groin. Another two officers, Sam Durham and Raul Gomez, arrive on the scene and all agree to either take a week off or dip into their sick-leave bank as the best course of action. 

Together, the two piece together the rape scene and trail the whereabouts of a pin that was found by the girl. It's a yacht club pin and Sanders knows the location. Once there, he stumbles on a high-society group of young Berkley kids who are all members of a violent union entitled Terrorist Liberation Army. Those chapters find Sanders and Durham on a high-speed boat chase off the coast tracking a young terrorist/rapist. Afterwards, the trio gets hit with a browbeating by their superiors.

In a scene worth expansion, Sanders beds down a young woman named Jessica, suspecting she may be an involuntary member of the group. Afterwards, Sanders apartment is bombed with the author's gory explanation of eyes and limbs flying. Knocked off in the blast is a housekeeper. Next, the trio are lured into a hostage negotiation at the city zoo where Sanders is ambushed and pushed into a deadly firefight among the zoo's many tourists. The author has one grandmother slayed with a point blank face shot while another man is mowed down by whirling helicopter blades. 

The finale has Sanders facing the last remaining terrorists in a warehouse. Shockingly, the author has a penchant for groin shots and has a woman mercilessly shot in the vagina (with the prior shot severing a breast!) and another man shot through the scrotum. That's three distinct genitalia shots if you are keeping score at home. The suspense build-up is just the idea that Jessica could be an innocent pawn in the terrorist front or the dreaded mastermind. I'll leave the conclusion for you to discover. 

Streib is an average writer at best. “Gang War” comes across as a cookie-cutter team-based vigilante yarn. Take it or leave it if you are into that sort of thing. Being only two books, I'll probably read the sequel for giggles. 

Note – Despite the cover, Sanders does not utilize a miniature lightsaber.