Before Jack Reacher. Before Jason Bourne. Before Alex Cross… There was The Destroyer. One legendary hero. One epic series.
Remo Williams is a former police officer who was sentenced to death for a crime he didn’t commit and is now hours away from sitting in the electric chair. During his last rites Remo’s confessor gives him a black pill to bite down on exactly before he is electrocuted. Remo does as ordered but, instead of dying, he wakes up in an ambulance. He is still alive. Remo has been recruited by CURE, a secret government organization set up to defend the country outside the law. He is their new assassin: The Destroyer.
This is an interesting book. The premise, where Remo is saved from electrocution and then sent off to a secret organisation to become ‘The Destroyer’ intrigued me, but I found that a lot of the time I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on. It’s a short, noirish, satirical take on the thriller genre and having been written in the 60s there are some cliched characters and some old-fashioned views – which in some ways, you can attribute to the satire, but sometimes it felt a bit dated. Being short (print length is <200 pages), I’m not sure how much I really got to know Remo, but I was quite entertained by him, and the fact that this is the first in a series of 145 (yes – 145!) titles, I think that he is set to become a great character who will surely develop more… The karate scenes with his trainer, Chiun, reminded me of The Karate Kid, and you can hardly fault that 😉 Overall opinion is that I enjoyed the book, it was different to the things that I usually read, and an interesting experiment to see if the stories have stood the test of time… well, only a new audience will be able to assess that. And maybe the upcoming Hollywood movie might help as it is definitely written in a way that would lend itself to the big screen… Sony have recently signed up Shane Black of Iron Man 3 fame to direct it. I wonder who’ll play the lead?
Warren Murphy is a former newspaper writer and editor. After the Korean War he moved into politics and co-wrote Created, the Destroyer, the first title in The Destroyer series, with Richard Sapir in 1963. The series is composed of 145 titles and has now sold more than 60 million copies. Warren has served on the board of the Mystery Writers of America and has also been a member of the Private Eye Writers of America, the International Association of Crime Writers, the American Crime Writers League and the Screenwriters Guild. He is the screenwriter who gave Clint Eastwood the script of the Eiger Sanction.
Thanks to Clara Diaz at Little, Brown for the advance review copy and the invitation to be part of this blog tour.
You can check out the rest of the tour via the blogs below (click on the poster to enlarge):