HAMMERLOCKE by Jack Barnao


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John Locke, a wry, macho Canadian soldier-of-fortune type, makes a middling debut as narrator-hero here--in a hyperactive but uninspired little kidnap thriller. Hired to bodyguard Herbie Ridley, Jr., teen-dropout son of a nouveau-riche tycoon, Locke takes sullen Herbie to Florence, Italy, supposedly to reawaken the kid's artistic talent. Almost immediately, however, Italian gangster types grab Herbie and demand a $5 million ransom. So Locke, in tandem with a ruthless, gorgeous Mafia moll, tries to sort out which of several gangster groups is responsible. (Is it all a scam arranged by Ridley, Sr.?) After some bloody break-ins and scuffles, he finds Herbie, but is himself then taken prisoner. . .and is nearly framed for kidnap and inter-mob murder before the fade-out. First-novelist Barnao comes up with one small surprise towards the end. And there's a modicum of charm, reminiscent of Robert B. Parker, in young Herbie's responses to Locke's lessons in manhood. Still: routine rough stuff for the most part--sporadically colorful, mildly promising.

Pub Date: Nov. 25th, 1986
ISBN: 1585869724
Publisher: Scribners