Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Hitman #1 "Who Killed You, Cindy Castle?"

I stumbled onto a good chunk of Kirby Carr's Hitman books and they followed me home where I quickly devoured the first in the series "Who Killed You, Cindy Castle?" It was an incredibly fast read, big type in a fairly slim paperback and a engaging over-the-top story about harvest human blood. 

Hitman owes a lot to the pulps, The Spider in particular but with more then a healthy dollop of The Executioner mixed in and told in a quasi-tongue-in-cheek manner. For example he wears a mask and strikes fear into the hearts of the mob but packs a lot of various lovingly described pistols with a little Ninja-type gear in thrown in as well. The Hitman (he has a real name but it's fairly forgettable) is in the trail of a string of murder where all the bloody is drained from the bodies. The Hitman immediately is convinced that it's vampires. There's very little question in his mind which is just FANTASTIC. So basically the mob (who should know better) is stealing and smuggling blood for a cult of "Vampires." This pisses off our Hitman hero because that's the kind of thing that does. He's just generally made at the mob like so many Men's Adventure heroes but add vampires? Really ticks him off. To help with his anger he dons his mask, loads up his holsters with various pistols and starts busting heads and asking questions.

Kirby Carr was really Kin Platt a noted author of children's novels, comic books, mystery novels, TV, about anything that involved putting words on paper. He handles the whole thing expertly, but you can tell he was hammering these sentences out.  It's also fairly obvious that he was having a lot of fun with the book. The comic book influence is there, it was easy for my to think about Mike Grell's utterly fantastic "Sable" comic or Max Allan Collins "Wild Dog," not that Platt was ripping any on off, it just rides that super-hero/Men's Adventure line, much like "The Punisher."

I enjoyed it on the whole, but it had problems. Platt spends too much time with the ultimately unimportant mob characters, though a lot of that was pretty amusing and it has the repeated problem that plagues so many of these type of books: a lot of build up to a rushed finale. You get full chapters about various mobsters taking about how scared they are of The Hitman, but also about how much they like to have sex and do criminal shit. Then The Hitman pulling a private eye moving around asking questions, finding out people are dead and then alternatively shooting them himself.  I might have missed the a few things, cause I could never really pin down if it was a "Scooby-Doo," type horror thing, i.e. humans are the playing vampires or if they really were a cult of Dracula's. But when it boils down to it I didn't care. It's a Kitchen Sink book; it was funny, it had horror elements, it had men's adventure derring-do and it was brutal as well. What more could you ask for?

Oh, man all that I forgot to mention The Hitman's badass Old-Man Ninja best friend? Good thing there's more in this series.

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