Raker: A Review
By Thomas Pluck
He knows what proud America stands for, and he’ll fight for it.
After reading RAKER by Don Scott, I’m still not exactly sure what that is. Raker works for The Company. But he’s strictly freelance, not some government stooge. They call him when no one else can do the job. He’s tall. He’s white. He’s blond. And he is not homosexual. Raker is Hitler’s wet dream, and when white cops are being gunned down in the ghettos, he’s let off the chain to mete out justice…
Published by Pinnacle, who gave us the immortal Destroyer series, Raker is Remo’s very pale and blond shadow. The Destroyer destroys. Raker, well, if ungrateful minorities are the leaves, Raker is the gardening tool the Company uses to tell them to shut them up and be glad they’re allowed to be Americans. Whether they’re homosexuals, suspected homosexuals, blacks, Chinese, or Jews- I’m sorry, I meant liberal pansy radical lawyers with “large features”- Raker hates them and wishes they would stop their whining and work harder so they could be rich and white someday.
Raker lives in New York and hates everything he sees except the Statue of Liberty. And he doesn’t even like her as a work of art, but the idea of her. “Because of the idea of her, he sometimes had to kill people.” How can you not love a line like that? If Don Scott had run with that, instead of going off on racial tirades about how the Chinese were a hard-working people until the Reds took over and made them run drugs, this could’ve been a good fun read. Instead, it’s like drinking with your crazy racist uncle, except you can’t leave or call him a jackass. You can only throw the book at the wall so many times.
Raker works with a black man named Lawson, who’s a “real Oreo, black on the outside, white inside.” A Harvard grad who can talk jive, he’s Raker’s eyes and ears on the streets. In fact, Lawson does all the work, really. Raker just shows up when someone needs killing, or he gets bored and poses as a mugging victim to karate chop some street thugs. He takes a nap while the cops are being killed, his sources are shotgunned in the nutsack for sleeping outside their race, and his Company flunky is murdered for trying to help. Raker shrugs it off. He doesn’t even care much that the cops are getting killed, just that some black radical group has the temerity to do it. Raker’s kind of an asshole, really.
But he’s the perfect protagonist for a story about black radicals, led by a Jewish lawyer, killing white cops to incite a race war. They have to steal a supercomputer to do it, to figure out what cop cars have white cops in them. It’s kind of like a James Bond novel written by the Illinois Nazis from The Blues Brothers, and felt about ten years out of date for its 1982 release. By then we had Reagan in office and were scared shit of Arab terrorists, not black radical groups.
Raker only made it to two novels, but I’m almost eager to read the second one, TIJUANA TRAFFIC, to hear what crazy shit he has to say about Mexicans.
Thomas Pluck writes unflinching fiction with heart. His stories have appeared in Plots with Guns, Pulp Modern, Crimespree Magazine, Beat to a Pulp: Hardboiled, Shotgun Honey, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Utne Reader and elsewhere. His work will appear soon in Hardboiled, Needle: A Magazine of Noir and Crimefactory. He is working on his first novel, and is co-editor of Lost Children: A Charity Anthology.