Author: Teri White

Publisher: Mysterious Press

Rating: 2 stars

Buy Links: Amazon

Type: Novel

Received from Publisher


Blurb: Winner of the 1983 Edgar Award for Best Paperback

In Vietnam a loner meets a strange man with a knack for murder

Mac finds Johnny Griffith nearly comatose with shell shock, on the edge of a massacre. When the Vietnamese fighters attack, he just stands there waiting to die, until Mac tells him to run. Together they survive the war—Mac risking his life time and again for this strange, sweet kid who barely knows his own name. By the time they return stateside, they’re inseparable, joined by a bond that no outsider could understand—and which can only end in tragedy.

When Mac’s gambling habit lands him in debt with the mob, he offers them Johnny, whose obedience makes him a perfect contract assassin. Mac plans the hits, and Johnny pulls the trigger, feeling nothing afterward besides an intense craving for strawberry ice cream. But when Mac loses control of his killing machine, Johnny’s repressed fury will be unleashed on the world.


Review: No plot.  No redemption.  No point.

My goodness.  Well, I have to say that if you are a hard core grammar nazi, you might really appreciate this book.  If there is a single grammatical error, I missed it in my constant attempts to make any sense of this book.  I must have started and stopped this story a dozen times waiting for a plot to develop.  It never did.  The rest of this review might have more spoilers than I would normally include, but I don’t really expect many readers will want this book.
This story begins just after the massacre of an entire village in Vietnam, making it too recent to be historical and too retro to be contemporary.  The blurb does a descent job of explaining the plot except for one thing…….
“But when Mac loses control of his killing machine, Johnny’s repressed fury will be unleashed on the world.”
It didn’t happen that way.  Mac, the planner, made a mistake.  He didn’t find out that a second person would be in the apartment with the target.  Johnny did his job like he had always been told…he killed them both, leaving no witnesses.  Johnny was never a “killing machine”, he just did whatever Mac asked him to do.  But the second person in that apartment was an undercover cop, bringing in the third character in the “triangle”, Simon, the partner of the murdered cop.  Simon becomes so obsessed with finding the killer of his partner that he loses everything…his job, his wife and his family.
Mac, Johnny and Simon are the triangle.  An alcoholic gambler with no self control who stayed in trouble, turning a PTSD sufferer with no ability to make moral judgements into a willing and compliant killer being hunted by a former cop who is so obsessed that he gave up every single important part of his life for the hunt.  Mental illness times three.  I like a dark read and knew from the blurb that this one would be very dark.  I expect, in those darker stories, to find redemption at some point.  Redemption never came, just three lives spiraling out of control in the most depressing way.
No plot.  No redemption.  No point.  I can’t recommend this book to anyone.


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