- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Dell Publishing; First Edition edition (1984)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0440146453
- ISBN-13: 978-0440146452
- Package Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.2 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,626,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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L. A. Wars (Hawker Ser., No. 2) Paperback – 1984
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This novel is targeted Men’s Action-Adventure featuring one man exercising vigilante justice. It is set in Southeast Los Angeles County in a fictional city near Compton, Lynwood and Bellflower.
What was the Amazon Rank on the date this review was published? 4,863.
Is this a book that I can read without having to read others first? Yes, but I recommend reading Florida Firefight so you can get the background.
Are there a lot of typos/misspellings, grammatical errors or other editing failures? No, this is professionally edited.
Is this a fast, easy read or is it more of a leisure read? Blazingly fast from page 1 to page 176.
What sort of language does this writer use to amplify the points made? Adult, profane English, in its technicolor glory. More disconcerting for many, however, will be the n-word that is so seldom seen in print these days. Bear in mind that this book was originally published in the early 1980s, a time when words chosen for print were those commonly used by society. It is set during a time period in which street gangs, Hispanic and African-American, were in a constant struggle for dominance.
My biggest pleasure or disappointment was? I would have preferred some editing. Although I do appreciate that the writer does capture the dialogue I would, in reality, expect to hear, I also recognize the anxiety that the frequent use of the n-word (especially by a white author) is likely to stir up. Still, LA Wars does accurately portray the lifestyles of the poor, down-and-out class within the area it is intended to represent. I’ve been away from Southeast LA (Lynwood and Compton) for 35 years, except for three quick visits, but I feel LA Wars does capture the attitudes and strife of the period in which it was written.
It is important to note that the writer did not have our hero using the n-word. As I recall, the only utterance of the derogatory term came from black gang members.
Another point – which was slightly disturbing is that the vigilante did not encounter, nor do we hear, of such gangs as the crips, the piru’s and the bloods. As I remember, these three gangs were more frequently spoken or, or confronted by the police, than were the panthers. Perhaps I am being too picky with such a comment…
I’ve included a small excerpt below, so readers can peruse the style of presentation utilized by the author.
The summer stink of asphalt and garbage lifted from the streets. As Hawker moved over the slum apartments, he could smell the fried-fat-and-greens odor of late suppers cooking.
Not far from where Julie Kahl was murdered, Hawker saw them: about two dozen men and teenagers wearing blue bandannas and sleeveless T-shirts.
They stood in serious conversation on a street corner. There were no jokes and little laughter.
Several of them carried wicked-looking clubs. Others had heavy chains wrapped around their necks like necklaces.
Something was up. Hawker recognized the signs. These guys were looking for a fight.
Hawker decided he would give it to them.
He hid himself behind a chimney, two stories above them. He crawled on his belly to the edge of the building and peered over.
He could see and hear them plainly. Their voices were thick with anger— and fear.
Hawker listened to the many voices, all trying to talk at once.
“… that’s what I think we ought to do.”
“Bulls&^%, man. I’ll tell you who hit Fat Albert and Spooky. It was them Satanás, man. And if you ask me—”
“Cat Man said it was a Casper, motherfxxxer. Said it was a white boy that wasted the brothers. Shot his fxxxing dick off, man, so he should know.”
“Yeah, and what about that weird drawing on the wall, man? Fxxxing big bird or somethin’. Revenge is what it said. This white dude be wanting revenge. Fxxxer’s nuts, man. Cat Man say he didn’t even blink before he hit ’em. Said he was cold as ice, man. Set it up so the cops think Cat Man did it—” “Cat Man’s crazy, blood. He’s been doing his PCP thing too long. Don’t be believin’ that sxxt he talks. Razor the only man we listen to. The war council be meeting right now. So just hang loose. We got our leaders, man, and we follow our leaders. That the Panther way. Maybe you be a leader someday, little blood, then you know. Razor and Blade and Amin be deciding what we do. If they say we hit the Satanás, then we hit the Satanás. They say we go into Hillsboro and waste some Caspers, we do that, too.…”
On and on it went. Hawker tried to note all the nicknames he heard. One of them he already recognized: “Razor.” The other two, “Blade” and “Amin,” were unfamiliar— but they sounded deadly.
Hawker looked forward to meeting all three.
The war party wasn’t long in forming. Directly beneath Hawker cement steps led down into a basement stronghold.
Hawker guessed it was the Panthers’ headquarters.
He heard a door swing open, then clank shut: a metal door.
Three men came out in single file. At first Hawker could only see the tops of…
White, Randy Wayne (2015-12-01). L.A. Wars (Hawker) (Kindle Locations 945-971). Open Road Media Mystery & Thriller. Kindle Edition.
On the one hand, the language in this action-adventure is true to form, spoken much as the depicted characters would be expected to speak. On the other hand, the language is so starkly written, almost too true to form for most people. Personally, I think some editing out of some of the profanity could improve the story. After all, how many times must an f-bomb or the taboo n-word be used to satisfy the artistic need for authenticity?
Mind you, I was riveted to my seat for LA Wars. I just think this book could have reduced or eliminated some of the foul language.
Because it is true to the characters and setting, more or less, I am giving five stars despite the excessively rough and rude language.
Then let's frame up Hawker: LA Wars this way: RWW was further ahead early on than Jack Higgins.
Nice character, a bit meandering in plot, but definitely worth trying one more.