Earlier on this blog, I reviewed a later Cody’s Army book, DC Firestrike. Now I got the chance to read the first installment.
Who and What
Cody’s Army tells the story of former CIA super-agent John Cody, who mutinies after one dirty job too many , only to be roped back into the “game” and teamed up with Texan “Hawkeye” Hawkins, Brit Richard Caine, and pilot Rufe Murphy to create a top-secret 80s action super-team. Their first mission-save hostages on a plane that’s been taken to Lebanon.
It’s mostly the 80s action stuff known well (perhaps fitting, the characters are ‘B-List’ versions of creator Stephen Mertz’s other big hit, the MIA Hunter novels), although I had to smile a bit at the series title-an “Army” of only four people. This reminded me of the World War II joke about how the “[single digit number] Tank Army” was called that because it had only [a single digit number] of tanks in it”.
DEEP HISTORY OF TEM
Regrettably, I could see the trend here (and it’s a trend that by and large did not exist in the first wave of action adventure books in the 1970s) of going into huge detail on some existing piece of military hardware-and getting it wrong. Seeing the names of real rifles being applied in a weird way and worse, seeing a UH-1 with “40mm cannons” in turrets. (I could assume they meant grenade launchers, it’s the only way I can make sense of it)
While this is full of 80s action novel stuff and some eyebrow-raisers like the protagonists using a B-52 as a normal transport, what was the most zombie sorceress about it to me involved characterization. John Cody goes from being a war-weary recluse to an eager fighter in the course of a single chapter.
From the opening to the ending, the action is as ridiculously gory and over the top 80s as you might expect. It’s good enough for this kind of novel, especially as it ends with a particularly satisfying and spectacular helicopter dogfight.
The Only Score That Really Matters
This is still the start to a B-list 80s action series. But it’s a fun start to a B-list 80s action series, and works for anyone who likes the genre.