Friday, December 14, 2018

The D.C. Man #03 - Your Daughter Will Die

In 1975, Berkeley Medallion Books released the third of four installments in ‘The D.C. Man’ series by James P. Cody, a pseudonym used by former Roman Catholic Priest Peter T. Rohrbach after he left the priesthood and struck out to make a fortune in the lucrative world of men’s adventure pulp fiction. Although the series never took off commercially, I really enjoyed the first two books and was exited to dive into this one.

The D.C. Man is lobbyist and Washington troubleshooter, Brian Petersen, whose practice functions as a private investigative agency generally helping out Capital Hill types with serious problems. This time around, the client is Senator Lester Rankin whose daughter appears to have been kidnapped by a leftist revolutionary group demanding a ransom. Contacting the FBI is out of the question for the Senator, so he hires Brian to broker the cash-for-daughter exchange. 

Right away, Brian believes there is more to this than meets the eye. Could this be a Patty Hearst-style fake kidnapping? Why don’t these revolutionaries want media attention for their cause? Like a regular private detective, Brian fills his time following logical leads to learn more about the kidnappers while also preparing for the upcoming money exchange.

As with the previous two D.C. Man books, Brian’s big trick is that he is so well connected with the Washington power structure - both with the official hierarchy and the folks with underground power. If you need an ex-CIA operative to bug a phone, Brian knows a guy. If you need someone to quietly launder cash for a kidnapping ransom, Brian has a connection who can make that happen. The author’s fictional version of a capital that works - if only you know the right people - is a fun city to set a mystery-adventure series. I found a particular scene noteworthy in which Brian has his C.I.A. electronics expert install a “car phone” in furtherance of the mission, technology that must have seemed pretty space age in 1975.

“Your Daughter Will Die” neatly brings together the hardboiled mystery of a meticulously-logical gumshoe who follows leads to find a missing girl and the balls-out gunplay and exploding heads of Don Pendleton’s Executioner series. Way more than the mispackaged first two installments in ‘The D.C. Man’ series, this one is a true men’s adventure novel.

And it’s also the strongest of the series’ first three paperbacks. The tension is palpable, the characters are vivid, the hero is righteous, and the action scenes are remarkably violent. If you’re only going to read one book in The D.C. Man series, let it be this unknown action masterpiece. Highly recommended.