Friday, March 18, 2011

FORGOTTEN BOOKS: KILLINGER!

FORGOTTEN BOOKS: KILLINGER!

In 1974, Pinnacle published two novels in the Killinger series. P.K. Palmer was the author’s name on the cover – apparently a pseudonym for the equally mysterious Keith Parnell. There is a very good reason why there were only two books in this series and why the author would want to hide behind a pseudonym – the writing is so over the top bad that it becomes hilarious to read.

The series tagline – More exciting than James Bond, Mike Hammer, Travis McGee, and then some. He's ruggedly virile, he's karate-quick, he's... Killinger! – says it all, right down to the exclamation point. How could anyone believe an unknown author could deliver such a character, let alone why a novel delivering on that kind of hype would be published as a paperback original from Pinnacle – house of schlock. I’m not complaining, however – along with publishing my first novel, Pinnacle has provided me with many happy hours of schlock reading.

The problem is, Killinger is not just schlock – it’s badly written schlock.

KILLINGER #2: THE RAINBOW/SEAGREEN CASE

Plane crash in the Pacific.

It was not an ordinary case. But then, Jedediah Killinger III was not an ordinary man. He was a man who made his own rules and called his own game.

They called him in because the implications of the crash were far-reaching. They reached to Russia, where the KGB held a meeting to discuss their next step. To Peking, where the matter was given urgent attention. The British were asking questions. The French were looking for answers. The CIA was searching for clues.

This time Jed Killinger had to hurry. Because a blonde mermaid, Marja-Liisa Kikkonen, found a piece of pipe. Seagreen was the color, AJB567037 was the identifying number, and death may be the reward.

And she was much too beautiful to die . . .

Fortunately, despite the cool ‘70s covers, the Killinger series was not too beautiful to die.

If the author had done it right, Killinger’s name would have been Dirk Pitt. Instead, Killinger is simply a two dimensional rip off of all the characters he’s supposed to be outdoing – James Bond, Mike Hammer, Travis McGee, and then some.  The thinking behind this series might have gone like this:  If the Travis McGee novels all have a color in the title, the Killinger novels have to be better because they have two colors in each title . . . twice the colors, therefore, twice the quality . . .

Like my Forgotten Books entry from a couple of weeks ago – Blood On Frisco Bay – the Killinger novels exist on a different plane, one in which awful writing is elevated to an art form . .

THE KILLINGER NOVELS:

KILLINGER #1: THE TURQUOISE-YELLOW CASE
KILLINGER #2: THE RAINBOW/SEAGREEN CASE

3 comments:

Bill Crider said...

I have both of these, but I've never read them. Now I'm tempted.

bv said...

Oh! Those! Abs! I hope none were harmed in the making of this book.

PAUL BISHOP said...

And just think, bv, those abs are better than James Bond's, Mike Hammer's and Travis McGee's!