ROBERT McKEW with REED DE ROUEN
Futura, London, 1979
price: 90p; 256 pages
dedication: For Sir Stanley Baker without whose help and encouragement this book would never have been written
The blurb on the back:
Self-styled judge, jury and executioner, his trade was death, his life was ruled by vengeance, for, in an explosion of careless savagery, they had gunned his daughter down before his eyes.
With fanatical arrogance, international terrorism had struck Heathrow — and the crossroads of the world was where the trail of death began. Pursued by intelligence agencies from all the major powers he sought revenge.
The murderous culprits, so long immune from legal retribution were now subject to Blake's law — and the punishment had to fit the crime...
Blake switched on the windshield wipers.
Nagy muttered, ‘How much further do we have to go?’
I tried this on the basis that I do like terrorist novels from the 1970s. But it was deeply disappointing, dominated as it is by the modern myth of the ultra-agent, the superman untroubled by the morality of the wider society, whose power is almost invincible. It’s my problem entirely, but I never cared for this genre, just as I never fell for ex-SAS soldiers bragging about their exploits. Ruthless killing machines in fiction simply make me yawn.
Having said which, there are occasional bits that remind you that the post-9/11 obsession with terrorism is really nothing new:
The free nations of the West had shown themselves powerless to cope with the phenomenon. Laws formulated by high moral principles to protect the freedom of the individual were cynically abused by anarchists whose avowed object was to overthrow the system of government which had passed these laws. Trials deteriorated into obscene charades and in many instances when punishment was decreed (in most Western countries capital punishment having been abolished) the accused only served short prison sentences because other groups of terrorists kidnapped hostages, or hijacked airliners, demanding their release in return for the lives of innocent people. (p.58)
To be honest, I didn’t finish the thing. I got bored.
ARTISTIC MERIT: 2/5
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 2/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT: 1/5
More terrorism? Why not?
The Patriot Game