Gun for Hire: The Soldier of Fortune Killings

Clifford L. Linedecker, Author
Clifford L. Linedecker, Author Avon Books $4.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-380-76204-0
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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The beginning of this true-crime tale ably explores the case of Anita and Bob Spearman, a West Palm Beach couple whose marriage ended when Anita was murdered one early November morning in 1985. Linedecker ( Nightstalker ) details the investigation, which turned up trouble spots in the couple's apparently happy marriage but couldn't identify the killer. A nearly routine traffic stop in Maryville, Tenn., led police to a man who claimed to be part of a contract killing ring that advertised as a ``gun for hire'' in Soldier of Fortune , a staunchly right-wing magazine for weapons aficionados and would-be paramilitary adventurers. The gang leader, a Knoxville man named Richard Savage, was obsessed with ``a fantasy world of guns and glory,'' ran a ``nudie'' bar and surrounded himself with ``hooligans and whores.'' The narrative meanders as Linedecker describes the ne'er-do-wells whom Savage recruited and their macabre series of contract killings, many of which they bungled. Linedecker later returns to Spearman, and offers copious specifics on the trials that convicted him and the men he had hired. But Linedecker--who considers Soldier of Fortune a ``fine magazine''--gives short shrift to the controversy that led several victims and relatives of victims to sue the magazine and prompted its publisher to drop contract-killer advertising. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)
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