THE SETUP by Anthony Heal


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Bloody, British bang-'em-up nonsense--sheer Mickey-Spillane-fantasy territory despite the police-procedural underpinnings. Ex-detective Michael Bellman retired from Scotland Yard a few years ago and devoted himself to serious drinking in memory of his wife who died in a hit-and-run. And he's far gone into alcoholism (unconvincingly rendered here) when his former boss kidnaps him, gives him two days rehab in a swank alcohol unit, and hires him as hit man for a top-secret crime commission's (implausible) new plan to kill London's crime lords. Mike, you see, is to insinuate himself into rival gangs, do some killing, and get key figures fighting and wiping each other out; he's given cash and a nice pad--and is soon on his way. He blasts his first target through the knees. The second gets it through the chest. Then Mike gets 18-year-old prostitute Jo, polishes her up, uses her as a decoy for getting into London's fanciest levels of sex racketeering--and tosses a racketeer down an eighth-floor stairwell. But this is too much even for Mike: he starts pasting the facts together, realizes that he's been a patsy, then sets forth to wipe out the phony crime commissioners. . . or are they phonies? Grisly and foolish--but undeniably lively.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1980
Publisher: Scribners