ZEBRA by Clark Howard

ZEBRA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Another true-life horror fantasia by the author of Six Against the Rock (1977) as well as earlier novels of mayhem. When a wave of seemingly purposeless random murders swept San Francisco for 179 days in 1975, a special police detail was set up which communicated on the Z wavelength. The murders became known collectively as the Zebra case, though it was suggested that because the murderers clearly were all blacks, Zebra stood for blacks vs. whites. The witnesses also said that the murderers were uniformly well-dressed, clean-shaven, and smartly trimmed. They were, in fact, five religious psychopaths striving for their wings with the Death Angels squad of assassins sponsored by the Black Muslim or Nation of Islam religion. Death Angels, it appears, win their wings by hacking (sometimes with a machete) or violently murdering four white children, or five white women, or nine blue-eyed white adult males. (Only by the expanding geometry of assassination will the earth be rid of the detestable ""Caucasian intellect""). What's more, the assassins often take color Polaroid shots of their decapitated or hacked victims to prove that they are rising through the ranks with a full heart. All but one of the five murderers, it turns out, have police records and were exposed to Muslim madness in San Quentin. Here they come across as deranged boy scouts working on their merit badges, zombies galvanized by lifelong low self-esteem and cowardice (their victims are all defenseless). With relentless detail, Howard follows them on 23 murder attempts -- mainly aimed at lonely women -- of which 15 are fatal. Many of the survivors are crippled or disfigured. Police success does not come until the final pages, so hatred and horror reign all the way. Repellent but riveting.

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 1979
Publisher: Marek-dist. by Putnam