- Authors: Warren Murphy, Richard Sapir
- Published: August 2014 by Sphere
- Category: Crime/Thriller/Suspense
When you’re on death row, minutes from the electric chair, and a hook-handed monk offers to save your life if you’ll just swallow a simple little pill…what’ve you got to lose? You take the pill. Then you wake up, officially “dead,” in the back of an ambulance, headed for an undisclosed location. Welcome to your new life, working for CURE, the most secret, most deniable, most extra-judicial government agency ever to exist. Only the President knows about it, and even he doesn’t control it.
When I was asked to review this book as part of the blog tour, I couldn’t believe 1) there are so many books in the series (well over 100!) and 2) I’d never heard of it. The original book was published in the early 70s and the first 25 books are now being re released, with a new movie deal on the cards. It’s a very interesting story concept although I’m not convinced Remo would have chosen that path, had he been given a choice. I think it stands the test of time if you can get past the prejudice and discrimination of fifty plus years ago.
Remo Williams, a New Jersey cop, is on death row for a murder he didn’t commit. He’s been framed by the organisation who intend to save him from the electric chair. The people at CURE have a specific plan in place for Remo. He’s about to be trained, to within an inch of his life, and transformed into ‘the ultimate killing machine’ in the war against organised crime and anything else that endangers the establishment. And since CURE doesn’t officially exist, neither does Remo, so he has to stay under the radar. If the villains don’t get him, his own people just might.
The judge was quite certain why he sentenced Williams to die. It was very simple. He was told to. Not that he knew why he was told to.. In certain circles, you don’t ask questions about verdicts. Only one man had no conception of why the sentence was so severe and so swift. And his wondering would stop at 11:35 o’ clock that night. It wouldn’t make any difference after that.
Remo is recruited, if that’s the right word since he doesn’t have an option, by Conn MacCleary and CURE chief, Harold W. Smith, both ex CIA, and initiated and trained in the Oriental arts by Chiun, a Korean and the ultimate assassin. Although Remo’s training is not complete MacCleary, by circumstances, is forced to send him out on his first mission.
A very good introduction to the series, and despite the writing being a little dated, the story is still relevant today exposing the corruption and political intrigue which snakes its way through governments and corporations. The beginning is excellent and sets the scene for plenty of action and violence. The country is in trouble, the criminals are winning and it’s up to Remo to stop them. The story is told well, although a little lacking in character development. I found it quite hard to relate to Remo but I gather his character, and the writing, evolves as the series progresses. I’m intrigued enough to follow through with more.