First published in 1986, this thriller from Scott, who has collaborated with Clive Cussler on the best-selling Isaac Bell series, is now available from Pegasus Crime in a special 30th anniversary edition, complete with a new foreword by Lee Child. Having enjoyed Scott’s 1978 novel of nautical derring-do, The Shipkiller, I was curious to read Rampage, set in the world of New York City real estate development in the 1970s and ’80s. (And, yes, Trump does get passing mention.)
Like The Shipkiller, this is a tale of vengeance on a grand scale. Where the protagonist of The Shipkiller seeks to destroy the enormous supertanker that struck his small boat and killed his wife, the fanatical hero of Rampage, entrepreneur Chris Taggart, sets out to bring down the city’s five Mafia families by pitting them against each other—payback for a mob hit on his beloved father. As his fortunes rise in the construction business, Chris isn’t above using underhanded methods to achieve his ambitious plan. Meanwhile, Chris’s straight-arrow brother, Tony, becomes a lawyer and serves as an Organized Crime Strike Force prosecutor in New York. Tony uses legal means to pursue the same mobsters his brother is targeting. An unforgettable femme fatale, a member of the Rizzolo crime family, adds romantic complications to the fraternal conflict.
High points include a number of dramatic confrontations set on tall buildings under construction in Manhattan. Scott seems to know the nuts and bolts of this industry as well as he knows ships and the sea. A climactic boat chase down the Hudson River will satisfy those who like waterborne action.
This genre classic is as fresh and readable as it was three decades ago.