Richard Reinsmith (sometimes spelled Richard Rein Smith) authored several science fiction and romance novels under pseudonyms including Damon Castle, Ann Taylor, and Dan Elliott. He also wrote a tie-in novel in 1985 titled “Tarzan and the Tower of Diamonds.” His foray into the 1980s men’s adventure gold rush consisted of eight books in ‘The Bodyguard’ series published by low-end paperback houses, Tower and Leisure Books. Because series order really doesn’t matter here, my entry point is the sixth installment, “The Model Body” from 1984.
The bodyguard narrator, Ray Martin, is hired to protect a nymphomaniac model and porn magazine publisher that someone is trying to kill. Heather is a redhead version of Marilyn Monroe who has recently survived two attempts on her life, and Ray needs to make sure the third attempt doesn’t hit the target. The secret to Ray’s success is a type of ESP that helps him detect when an attempt on his client’s life is about to happen. The author doesn’t overdo the psychic stuff. The early-warning system seems to work like Spidey-Sense and is intended to illustrate that Ray is a next-level kinda bodyguard.
As attempts on Heather’s life continue, it becomes clear that Ray’s smartest course of action is to identify and neutralize the person behind the killers rather than acting as a hockey goalie for bullets headed toward his client. The investigative aspect of “The Model Body” places the novel squarely into the realm of private detective fiction and reminded me of a Carter Brown mystery where a professional investigator is thrust into a world of sexual eccentrics to solve a mystery. In this case, Ray is plunged into a subculture of pornography, S&M dungeons, and snuff films to discover who wants his client dead.
And mostly it worked. The first-person narration is decent and conversational. Ray is a brave and competent hero. To be sure, there are some really dumb elements to the book. For example, Ray goes to great pains to explain that carrying one Beretta in each hand is somehow a good idea. This, of course, is moronic. There’s a reason you don’t see real cops and soldiers blasting away with two pistols at the same time. Ray also gets laid a lot in fairly graphic detail and not always in service of the plot. At times, this felt like fan-service filler meant to pad the page count.
Here’s the bottom line: Don't special order this paperback from afar. Don’t buy a copy encased in plastic from a fine books dealer. Don’t choose this paperback for your monthly book club selection with your fancy friends. However, if you find a copy at a yard sale for a buck or less and you want a big-font, non-challenging read, you’ll probably enjoy “The Model Body” just fine.
The Bodyguard series consist of:
1. Bury the Past (1979)
2. The Blonde Target (1980)
3. An Extra Body (1980)
4. Somebody to Kill (1983)
5. A Body in Paradise (1984)
6. The Model Body (1984)
7. Nobody’s Perfect (1984)
8. A Body for Christmas (1984)
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