RARA-AVIS: Just finished: Mongo's Back in Town

From: Doug Bassett ( dj_bassett@yahoo.com)
Date: 03 Jun 2000

E. Richard Johnson's MONGO'S BACK IN TOWN

I believe this is one of Mario Taboda's favorites. Picked it up for a few bucks in one of those "Bargain Book" catalogs and yeah, it's pretty good. Hitman comes back home to settle scores, but other people have other ideas. Notable for having a decided lack of likable characters (there's a couple of good guy FBI agents, but they're fairly ineffective) and for an unrelenting, gritty atmosphere. Sort of reminds me of a prime Seventies-era Bronson movie -- indeed, it would've been interesting to see the DEATH WISH/MECHANIC-era Bronson tackle this.

The plot relies on a hoary mystery cliche, but Johnson keeps everything moving so quickly that you barely notice it. The prose is mostly tight: Johnson only loses control in spots where he's trying for a kind of hardboiled poetic feeling that I don't think really works. In short, not one of my favorites but still damn good and worth recommending.

Anyone have any opinions on Johnson's other works? And is he still alive?



===== Doug Bassett dj_bassett@yahoo.com

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