by Terrill Lankford ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 1, 1997
Lankford follows the nihilistic noir Shooters (1996) with a shrieking, hellacious Quentin Tarantino knockoff: dueling assassins, one of whom is immortal. Ry Caulder is your classic professional hit man. He won't take domestic contracts, he won't injure innocent bystanders, he doesn't get emotionally involved in his work, he fondly recalls killing Jimmy Hoffa. He's just executed Nate Daniels, a former protÃ¢gÃ¢ who talked too much to the Justice Department, and now all he wants is for his mob employers, James Baxter and Mike Del Monaco, to pay him. But Baxter and Del Monaco hold back half his fee until he's taken care of one little extra job: exterminating Caulder's own legendary teacher Fredrickson, the rumors of whose death have been confounded by some horrific photographs indicating that Fredrickson, freelancing for Baxter's West Coast rival Camilo Vargas, has wiped out 14 Baxter soldiers at Ensenada. (In fact, Baxter even suggests that Caulder has gone over to Vargas as well--as if his code of ethics would ever stand for that kind of behavior.) Caulder doesn't want to go up against his crafty old mentor, but Fredrickson keeps goading him to play the game--and keeps threatening Stephanie Taylor, the downtrodden seamstress he's involved with--till Caulder finally gives in and plants some plastique in Fredrickson's Mercedes. Next day, he finds Fredrickson watering his front lawn. Frustrated but undeterred, he stakes out the target's place and blows his head off. Fredrickson goes out barhopping. Caulder perforates Fredrickson on a crowded sidewalk. Fredrickson hails a cab and leaves the scene, only to confront harried Caulder (who's by now getting considerable attention from Baxter and the cops) with revelations about why he's so hard to kill, all dished up in prose so overripe it's a salmonella hazard. In a rare quiet moment, Caulder reflects that Stephanie would still love him even ""if he had told her he was the bastard mutant son of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini."" He wouldn't have been far off if he had.
Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1997
Page Count: 320
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1997
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