DILLINGER by Harry Patterson


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Dillinger as bland, noble Robin Hood--in an active, mindless fictional episode supposedly taking place shortly before the Public Enemy was shot down in 1934. Patterson's version begins with Johnny D. making the true-to-fact escape from jail in Indiana: while J. Edgar Hoover fumes, escapee Dillinger robs a bank to save old vet Doc Floyd from bankruptcy, then heads south, incognito across the border to Mexico--where, unfortunately, he's recognized. . . and thus forced to become an overseer for evil Senor Rivers, who mistreats the Apache Indians who work in the Rivers gold mines. Meanwhile, however, while hating Rivers (who'll expose his real identity if Johnny rebels), Johnny falls madly in love with Rivera's half-Chinese niece Rose, ""the most beautiful woman he had ever seen."" (She returns his devotion, even when learning his past: ""If I had to fall in love with a thief, why not the best?"") And when the Indians rise up in violent rebellion, the situation changes drastically: the Apaches, led by the fanatical Ortiz, massacre Rivera's family, kidnap his little daughter; Dillinger teams up with bandit Villa and Rivera's henchmen to organize a rescue mission; bloody showdowns ensue. But though Dillinger and Rose survive, she says ""I cannot go with a man who doesn't know where he is going""--so off drives Dillinger alone (in his beloved white Chevrolet) to return, fatefully, to America. Butch Cassidy without the charm, humor, and class--but passable as comic-book/Western-style action, and sure to get some extra boost from the Patterson (a.k.a. Jack Higgins) byline.

Pub Date: March 18th, 1983
Publisher: Stein & Day