About a month ago, as I continued to make my way through the paperbacks that I inherited from my aunt, I read five short paperbacks about a character known as Justin Perry, the assassin.
Who is Justin Perry? As was explained in the first book in the series, 1982’s Justin Perry: The Assassin, Justin’s name used to be Roger Johnson. He was raised in a world of wealth and privilege, the son of a general and a socialite. Like his father, Roger enlisted in the army. He ended up in Vietnam and, when he saw a friend of his get blown up the Viet Cong, Roger discovered that he had it in him to be a very savage and efficient killer. Back in the States, Roger was hailed as a hero. He married the beautiful Bambi and they had a son named Roger, Jr. But then, Bambi was murdered by a commie spy and Roger went mad. A mysterious figure known as the Old Man recruited Roger to work as an assassin as the CIA. Now known as Justin Perry, the assassin lives to kill the nation’s enemies and to have sex with every woman he meets. Seriously, that’s all he does.
The book not only gives us Justin’s origin story but also presents us with a rather sordid adventure in which Justin Perry tracks down a Nazi collaborator in Europe. It’s while on that assignment that Justin discovers the existence of SADIF, a secret organization that we know is evil because its acronym sounds a lot like SADIST. His pursuit of SADIF leads to several over-the-top torture sequences and also the discovery of a huge conspiracy, one that involves almost everyone that Justin has ever known. We also discover that SADIF has infiltrated the Church and that Josef Mengele is now working as a gardener at the Vatican. (As an Irish-Italian-Spanish Catholic, I would be offended it wasn’t all so stupid.) None of it makes much sense but, to be honest, I’m not totally convinced that the Justin Perry books weren’t meant to a parody of sex-obsessed pulp fiction.
When I say that Justin Perry is sex-obsessed, that is literally all that he seems to think about. He gets an erection when he kills a man. Every woman that he wants automatically wants him (and, apparently, they’re all into S&M to boot). One sexual encounter is ruined by an attack by an assassin, which leads to not only Justin’s masochistic lover killing herself with a knife (and getting off on the process) but also Justin obsessing over the fact that some of his sperm ended up on a hotel room floor. Justin, in fact, is so hypersexual and so obsessed with proving himself sexually that it’s hard not to wonder if maybe he’s killing people because he’s trying to kill something about himself that he doesn’t want to accept. I haven’t even gotten into the weird torture sequence where Justin and his friend, Bob Dante, are threatened with being sexed to death by a group of SADIF nymphomaniacs and a feet-licking chauffeur.
Actually, I have a feeling (or maybe it’s a fear) that I’m making this book sound more interesting than it is. Despite all of the insane things that happen, the prose itself is actually fairly dull. If one takes the book seriously, it’s a celebration of a sociopath. If one takes the book as being satirical, it’s still just one joke repeated over and over again. What is interesting is that the next four books in the series were even stranger and I’ll be reviewing those over the days to come. For now, let’s just be happy that Justin Perry: The Assassin never made it to the big screen.