KILLER OF KINGS by R. Wright Campbell


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A clutch of seamy L.A. psychos conspires to spread slaughter and terror at the Academy Awards--led by super-loony Harry Smiley, a 50-year-old part-time guard at 20th-Century-Fox, ""as plain and unremarkable-looking as a bottle of nitroglycerin."" Harry has toyed with plans for political terrorism in the past (he spent a year in the state asylum after celebrating JFK's assassination by urinating on a cardboard tombstone in MacArthur Park), but now he has come to realize that ""Actors, singers, athletes are the real royalty in America."" So, sparked by a particular loathing for handsome screen-star Michael Nordland, Harry and his pathetic pals--a floozy girlfriend, a couple of lesbian prostitutes, an 18-year-old pea-brained muscleman, and a senile Jewish anarchist--have a gross, Mansonesque orgy/ritual to launch their Oscar Night scheme. (""All of us, Harry, in one big fuck. We'll take that oath."") The women manage to get jobs at the Academy Awards show (the girlfriend's an old hoofer); the group kills a gun-merchant and steals assorted weaponry; and they kill an explosives expert and steal some bomb stuff. So when the time comes, they're fully prepared to wreak havoc and seize star Nordland on live TV, demanding ten million dollars and safe transport to Uganda. They don't make it, of course, thanks to a pair of determined FBI agents and glamor-boy Nordland--who proves his courage to himself (after a life of fear-of-violence) in a bloody finale. As foul as most Manson-modeled fictions, but jauntier than many.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1979
Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill