Books by Marc Olden

THE GHOST by Marc Olden
Released: July 1, 1999

A murderously bad cop enshrines a beautiful woman in his weird heart, Ö la the 1941 film I Wake Up Screaming, in the latest from Olden (Fear's Justice, 1996, etc.) Fearless, supersmart Harry Earles's NYPD career has dead-ended as a sergeant after 20 years. He's part of a five-man team out to put away a crooked judge with gambling debts to pay. One member of the team is Detective Rosalind "Ross" Magellan, who works undercover and is addicted to the adrenalin-boost of danger that comes from putting away a serial rapist while posing as a whore or junkie. Ross has spotted Attorney Lou Angelo as the bagman for Judge Reiner's dirty deals and follows him about while baiting a trap for the judge. Meanwhile, Harry follows Ross about, ostensibly because he's her "ghost" (the backup member kept out of all the busts so he can protect her), but really because he's massively obsessed by Ross, loves her blindly. Now, somebody is offing undercover lady cops. Ross is almost murdered by vicious Albanian criminals tied to the Mafia; a speeding car beheads her look-alike friend. Harry and Ross both have their private demons: he cares for a sick wife; she has some very compelling reasons for keeping her past away from snoops, stuff about her Little Sister and their sexually abusive father, who got what was coming to him. Because Harry is Ross's mentor and has twice saved her life, he knows every ploy she'll use in breaking a case that he doesn't want broken—he's just not motivated the way she is. The climax has great energy and operatically ironic force, since even at the end the rats can't be told from the good guys. Plenty gritty: Olden's masterful theft of cop lingo is practically felonious. Read full book review >
FEAR'S JUSTICE by Marc Olden
Released: Jan. 24, 1996

Olden, a talented veteran of the martial-arts thriller (Kisaeng, 1991, etc.), loves cops the way Elmore Leonard loves mobsters. His latest puts a freewheeling Irish NYPD detective under the microscope as he walks a Serpico-tightrope to unmask high-level corruption among the Big Apple's finest. Feargal Meagher is butt-ugly, vice-ridden, and whipsmart, not to mention being a general pain for both superiors and enemies. His only real loyalty is to his code—a practical cop philosophy that resides well to the right of Manhattan's liberal-leaning Upper West Side—and to his father, Dion, an equally gruff former detective. Meagher, fond of quoting Yeats and Wilde at opportune moments, has a poet's appetite for lovin': He's relinquished his heart to Lynda, a policewoman whose husband, Bobby ``Schemes'' Schiafino, is Meagher's nemesis. When Lynda turns up murdered, the apparent victim of a dope-addled homeless black guy, Meagher smells a rat, and his intuition points to Schiafino. There's a problem, though: Lynda owned some of Meagher's dirty linen, and he's unsure whether it found its way into her husband's hands. What follows is an orgy of cop dialogue, cop intrigue, and cop racism, plus a black female journalist who becomes an unlikely ally and a parade of feckless city politicians. It turns out that Schiafino is the point man for a network of cop assassins devoted to serving the interests of big money. Throughout, meanwhile, Meagher's aversion to moral compromise imbues an often repetitive narrative with plenty of juice, the manifold entertainments running a gamut from Meagher busting knees to Meagher foiling a rape to Meagher rescuing Dion by threatening to set afire one of Schiafino's raunchy accomplices. Piano-wire writing: razor-sharp but oh-so lyrical in a leathery sort of way. Dirty Harry with a heart of gold. (First printing of 30,000; film rights to Robert De Niro; author tour) Read full book review >
KISAENG by Marc Olden
Released: June 18, 1991

Writerly thriller from the author of such martial-arts epics as Gaijin, Giri, Oni, etc. Olden is master of swift, fact-crammed prose that gives a surface credibility to plots built entirely on coincidence, the philosophic structure of the Olden universe; and he is superior to just about all thriller writers for knockout characterizations and superbly whimsical dialogue whose menace and tension flatten the reader's nose to the page while snapping his fingers. Here, top Korean counterfeiter Park Song, who has some hundred-dollar plates made by the U.S. Treasury for running off untraceable bills in Asia during the Vietnam War, obsesses on very young girls whom he likes to groom as ``kisaengs'' (Korean for geisha, or ``recreational creature'') and—when he tires of them or lusts for a new sex recreation—to slash with a razor, bite viciously, and join with as or after they die. During the war Park Song met up with Manny Decker's army team and killed them but not their leader. Now Manny is a detective sergeant in the NYPD and Park Song has had Tawny DeSilva, the beauteous teenage daughter of Manny's former lover Gail, kidnapped for transport to Asia along with a cageful of nude teeners. Typical Olden description (of renegade detective Ben Dumas): ``Man had to be anxious around a dude who not only killed people but who'd once strangled a drug dealer's pit bull to death with his bare hands.'' Paced throughout are bonebreaking martial- arts nerve-paralyzers set in odd places such as the kitchen of a fancy Midtown restaurant or in an icy lake. Hard talk and eye-popping characters who cry out for film while satisfying Olden's faithful band of mainliners. Read full book review >