The seventh installment of Randy Wayne White's Hawker series was published by Dell in 1986. Authored under the pseudonym of Carl Ramm, Detroit Combat once again places the series protagonist in a vigilante role. Unlike the prior novels, this entry excludes the mysterious butler Hendricks (my favorite character) and Hawker's wealthy boss Hayes. Other than just a brief mention about a prior conversation, Hawker's instructions and mission has already been established by the novel's first page.
In the opening chapters, readers find James Hawker stripping at a suite in a downtown Detroit office building preparing to have sex against his will. He's there to investigate missing girls, an assignment brought to him by Detroit police because legal obstacles have blocked their path to justice. These women are being captured and forced into sex slavery and trafficking by a woman known as Queen Faith. This downtown suite offers a portion of the puzzle – a discreet porn studio where Hawker has tracked one of the missing girls.
Whether intended or not, the opening chapters have Hawker captured by the sex slavers and forced into a porno shoot with an ugly female sporting a purple mohawk and a penchant for violent sex. At gunpoint, Hawker is forced to accept fellatio before finally breaking his restraints and liberating the girl from the sex racket.
After further investigation, Hawker teams up with two detectives to learn the whereabouts of Queen Faith. In the narrative's interesting, non-violent sections, one of the female detectives attempts to arrest Hawker for his vigilante justice. The two square off in a heated debate over the pros and cons of police procedures. Of course she's ultimately thrown into the novel as a mattress for Hawker, but kudos to White for examining vigilante justice in a debate forum.
Anyone who's familiar with the series, or these types of rapid-fire lone-justice novels, know the pattern and formula. Detroit Combat isn't any different and White proves to be a capable writer throughout the series. The book's fiery finale, set in an enormous mansion, delivers the expected thrills in grand fashion. The book is a testament to the elementary approach to the series: Hawker is a few-brains, all-bullets action-adventure series.
The author places a character in the book named Randy White. In one scene, it is said that White "wrote the book on the subject".
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