Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The D.C. Man #1: Top Secret Kill by James P. Cody

Phew. Man, this was a damned good book. I read about the D.C. Man books from Paperback Warrior and have been looking for them for a while. It was worth the wait. Its an expensive series to collect and I'm a cheap bastard so it took a while to track down a couple of the book. One I got in a big lot of books from eBay and the other from Etsy of all places, sometimes looking for presents for you wife REALLY pays off. Now I have zero-to-little interest in Politics so this action-adventure series about a Washington lobbyist who kicks some ass is an unlikely love but it's SO MUCH BETTER then 90% of paperback fiction I couldn't help but fall for it.

This first book had a solid set of stock of characters including a real, vulnerable yet tough main character in Brian Peterson a troubleshooter with a military intelligence background, too all the minor characters who are all well thought out and interesting. There's nice twists on stock characters, a caring yet happily married secretary is a sharp contrast to the love-lorn secretary in many private eye novels. His reporter buddy has a real drinking problem, not just the standard "hard-drinking reporter" cliche. Peterson's got a lot of friends in all walks of life, some help him out, some get killed for their trouble. The D.C. Man's world is well-hard; full of high-class prostitutes, embassy intrigue, and foreign and domestic spies. There's clear thought out violence, mystery and a nice quest for vengeance the whole package teeters nicely between all out Men's Adventure and a good crime series.

Peterson has the prerequisite for a good Men's Adventure series: A dead family. Usually it's not a big deal for one of these tough vigilantes, their family was only there in the narrative to piss him off by dying. But Peterson's families death was average, a regular way for people to die and he didn't go on a quest for vengeance. No, he fell to pieces went to the beach drank, got fat, and banged his way through a few months then returned to D.C. to resume his lobbyist career. But his heart wasn't in it and he found a niche in cleaning up dirty little messes for politicians and the like. He's a regular broken tough guy who packs a .32 revolver with a couple other guns for backups, has a cool built in wall safe, drinks his scotch with a lime and eats a lot of steaks.

  • D.C. Man #1: Top Secret Kill
  • D.C. Man #2: Search and Destroy 
  • D.C. Man #3: Your Daughter Will Die!
  • D.C. Man #4: French Killing

I kept thinking of another book while reading this one, "Death of a Citizen" by Donald Hamilton, the first in his long running Matt Helm badass novels. It's a stone cold classic, not just in the crime/adventure/mystery category of fiction but in all of fiction. Seriously it should be read in college classes, make them a lot cooler. In "Death of a Citizen," an old spy's life is up-heaved and he has to go to work again doing dirty deeds. They both are espionage stories with a hard-boiled detective slant and characters that leap off the page. "Death of a Citizen" like "Top Secret Kill" came out of the gate as nearly perfect set-ups for a series with main characters who you wanted to follow along for years to come. Luckily, Matt Helm had a shit-load of books but sadly D.C. Man only had four. It's a shame. I haven't read the other 3 (yet) its such an interesting set-up for a series that the possibilities are endless being able to flip-flop through sub-genres.

James P. Cody author of this bloody, sexy thriller was actually an ex-priest named Peter T. Rohrbach which is a fun thing to type. The discovery of backstory was handled by Paperback Warrior, I suggest you read their article cause it's all sorts of interesting. I wish Rohrbach had more badass books in him but he didn't seem to, the rest of his writing career seemed to by about history and religion.

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