Contract For Slaughter
The first book in the “Eagle Force” series, Contract For Slaughter was released in 1989 by Dan Schmidt, a veteran of the action-adventure genre who wrote literal dozens of Mack Bolan tales. Coming close to the tail end of the 80s action-novel boom, it provides a very, very good example of it.
It’s a team-centric book where a group of colorful mercenaries in the low single digits (in this case four people) form and fight. This is both a first installment (so it has a not insignificant space devoted to the “forming” part) and it’s short (so there’s less room for the final fight). Though to be fair, a lot of the “forming” segments involve fighting too. Lots and lots and lots of fighting. The action is solid for a book of this genre, even if not the absolute best, and Schmidt wasn’t afraid to throw a curveball in terms of the plot and enemies.
What stood out to me, at least a little, was how the weapons were basically 80s Action Novel Bingo. What felt like every single flashy and exotic writers toy showed up in the pages of this book. Ooh, big MM-1 grenade launchers! Ooh, super-advanced G11 rifles! And of course, the classic giant pistols (can’t forget them). Even Jerry Ahern’s beloved Detonics show up as well.
This was one of the cheapest of the cheap thrillers, but I had lots of fun with it nonetheless.