Monday, November 4, 2019

Killer Patrol

Author George Fennell is a former US Army Special Services Security Agent. While little is known about him, he did author a two-book series starring US Army Special Forces Captain Mike Brent. Both were printed by Pinnacle in 1970 and caters to the men's action-adventure consumer who enjoys cover art riddled with bullets, bombs and bravado. I enjoyed the debut book, “Blood Patrol” and was hoping that the sequel would be just as enjoyable. Did it deliver the goods?

“Killer Patrol” drops Mike Brent and his first Lieutenant Hans Schmidt (the only two survivors from the debut) into Costa Verde for a Latin American undercover adventure. The US is facing backlash from the United Nations due to a revolutionary band of guerrillas using signature American firearms, the M-16 and M-60. However, US intelligence is reporting that these weapons are being manufactured by Russia and supplied to the fighters as a means to smear the US name while maintaining communist influence in the region. Brent and Schmidt are assigned to trace the supply train and destroy it.

If I were asked to introduce genre newbies to 70s men's action-adventure, I'd certainly entertain “Killer Patrol” as a logical choice. It's short, explosive and maintains a furious pace. Further, it runs the gambit of every mandatory genre trope – sex, espionage, gunfights, explosions. But, it's also so symbolic of the genre. Consider this: in one fell swoop, Fennell delivers an underwater detonation of a submarine, a climactic train battle, a nautical boat battle, interrogation/torture (they are the same in these types of books), a prisoner escape and an aerial battle while still dedicating the entire third chapter to sex. Incredible!

While “Blood Patrol” was nearly perfect, the last chapters of the novel suffered with too much stimulation in one place. Here, Fennell seems to have a little more space with moving targets in a coastal country. The dialogue exchanges between Fennell and Schmidt are darkly hilarious, but still conveys a violent aura. In terms of violence, this one rivals any Bolan body-count by allowing the heroic duo to utilize a variety of firearms. It's like one of those video games where the player just grabs victim's guns and keeps charging on.

“Killer Patrol” is fun, over-the-top and insanely addictive. Unfortunately, these two books comprise the entire series. Pinnacle canceled the novels shortly after publication. I'll never fully understand how a series like 'Death Merchant' could be wildly successful while these novels just fell by the wayside. It's one of the more frustrating aspects of reading these old books. Nevertheless, you'll have a blast with this short-lived series.

Buy a copy of this book HERE

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