Friday, February 18, 2022

The Destroyer #16: Oil Slick (1974) by Richard Sapir and Warren Murphy

"There is only one thing that can save you from that typhoon. That is another typhoon. I am he."

After King Abras of a wealthy Middle Eastern state is sent packing in a bloodless coup, Colonel Baraka of the Lobynian army takes over and puts the squeeze on America by turning off the supply of precious oil to the States. And when a scientist with a revolutionary – and free – way to produce oil turns up dead at the hands of phony federal agents, it’s time to bring in Remo Williams and Chiun, Master of Sinanju to get the pipes flowing again before the American economy comes crashing down. What our heroes don’t anticipate is that one of their deadliest enemies is pulling the strings and awaits them in Lobynia.

I actually started OIL SLICK back in August (!) during a beach vacation but put it down seven chapters in because it wasn’t really grabbing me. Which is odd for a Destroyer book as they usually pull me right in and breeze along for a fast-paced 200 pages as I chuckle and wish for somebody to make a series starring Scott Adkins as Remo. So, after finishing an Executioner, a couple Batman graphic novels, Grady Hendrix’s WE SOLD OUR SOULS, FALLING and an excellent book on 1970s baseball I figured it was time to pick up where I left off. And I’m glad I did.

Once the authors are done setting up the story with the first 80 pages, OIL SLICK gets cracking as Remo and Chiun head to the Middle East along with a perverse oil company president and members of the Third World International Youth Conference. Chiun, incensed that Lobynia has backed out of its contract with the world’s deadliest assassins, wants Adras returned to power while his nephew Nuihc wants to battle the pig Remo whom he believes has stolen his rightful place as Chiun’s pupil and heir to the secrets of Sinanju. Remo, well, he just wants Chiun and CURE honcho Dr. Smith off his back so he’ll do whatever it takes to end the oil crisis.

OIL SLICK is a bit more schizo than other Destroyer entries and I suspect that co-creator Warren Murphy wrote the second (and better) half of the book as it crackles with sharp dialogue, especially between Chiun and Remo. Bad guys are dispatched (a dry cleaner showdown is gruesomely inventive), Remo has unsatisfying (for him) sex with an undercover agent, and it all leads to a showdown in the oil fields. Unfortunately, it’s a lot of buildup to a conclusion that’s a bit of a letdown, though we do get to see just how much Remo cares for his “little father”.

This one grades out to a B thanks to a sub-par start and above average finish. – Dan Taylor

Dan Taylor is the editor/publisher of Exploitation Retrospect and The Hungover Gourmet, as well as the host of the internet radio show Around The Dial. Next up on his men's adventure reading list is MAFIA: OPERATION HITMAN.

The Destroyer #16: Oil Slick is available on Amazon.

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