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Book Review: 'The Destroyer: Monumental Terror'

'Monumental Terror," the latest entry in the "Destroyer" series marks a return to form.

The late writers Warren Murphy and Richard Saphir started the series in the early 70s' as a men's action paperback title (a kissing cousin to the "hero pulps" of the 30s' and 40s') and it has outlasted the trend -- only the Mack Bolan series created by Don Pendleton has lasted longer.

The series chronicles the adventures of Remo Williams -- a New Jersey cop who is framed for the murder of a drug dealer, falsely executed and drafted into a top secret crime-fighting organization called CURE that protects the U.S. Constitution by violating it. CURE retains an aged Korean assassin named Chuin to train Remo in the fictional ,martial art of Sinanju, transforming him into a virtual superhuman.

The series itself demonstrates a sense of humor as sex and violence rub shoulders with quirky characters and political satire.

This entry pits Remo against a billionaire and his cabal of supporters throughout society who are fermenting extremism on both the left and right -- all the better to draw public support behind a revised U.S. Constitution that throws out current civil liberties. Neither the villain nor his plan seem completely developed and an assassination plot introduced toward the end is conceived in a zany fashion -- to be fair it is in keeping with the sometimes-absurd threats used in a series that is partially parody.

The current writer, R.J. Carter, demonstrates a better handle on the series than he did in his previous entries. There are a few touches that seem out of character for the series and fans may nitpick, but on the balance Carter captures the humorous bickering and social commentary from the earlier books (the 70s' and early 80s' were arguably a golden age for this series).

This book isn't among the best in the series. But it is a reasonable introduction for readers new to the series.

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