Sunday, September 02, 2007

Death Sentence, by Brian Garfield

(hb; 1975: sequel to Death Wish )


Less than a year after the tragic happenings of Death Wish, Paul Benjamin is still hunting criminals. His daughter, Carol, comatose at the finish of the first book, is now dead, as an indirect result of the attack that took her mother's life; Paul has moved to Chicago, hoping to shake off his grief, and to continue his mission: hunting and gunning down street scum.

Things have become complicated, however. No longer benumbed to life -- and a hostage to his rage -- Paul has fallen in love again, this time with a woman named Irene, who's clueless about his late-a.m. activities.

Not only that, but police are stepping up their efforts to catch him, as a copycat vigilante (whose actions have resulted in the deaths of innocent bystanders) is prowling the streets of Chicago, as well.

Logical, ably-written as the first book, Death Sentence lacks the bite of its predecessor. Part of this may be due to the fact that while Paul is angry, he's begun to let joy -- in the form of Irene -- enter into his life. He's begun to intellectualize the vigilante/crime thing, as opposed to just reacting to it.

The ending packs a wallop, not unlike the first book. Worthwhile sequel.

The in-name-only film version of Death Sentence was released stateside on August 31, 2007.

Kevin Bacon played Nick Hume. Kelly Preston played Helen Hume. John Goodman played Bones Darley. Leigh Whannell played Spink.

James Wan directed the film, from a script by Ian Jeffers.

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