Hawk by Richard Hardwick

Title: Hawk

Author: Richard Hardwick

Format: Paperback edition, Belmont Productions

Published: 1966


Most people don’t remember that Burt Reynolds once had a television career.  If they do, they harken back to BL Stryker from the late 1990s.  But before Smokey drove Buford Justice crazy and before insane rednecks admired Ned Beatty’s pretty mouth, Burt Reynolds had made quite an inroad into television.  Starting out as a guest star on a number of shows, including a recurring part on Gunsmoke, Reynolds had a run at a couple of tv series in the starring role.  One of those was Hawk.

In the novel based on the television series, John Hawk works for the special detective squad assigned to the District Attorney.  Hawk, a full blooded Iroquois, leads the team on his shift as they investigate a car bombing.  The man killed in the bombing is believed to be a supporter of an impending coup on a Caribbean island.  Although it turns out the man was a part of the movement, Hawk discovers that the person thought dead is in fact still alive.  One of the other members of the movement has been killed and, coincidentally, a massive amount of money raised for the rebellion has come up missing at the same time. Hawk and his team of detectives track leads across the city and uncover a rather twisted plot that threatens to succeed and to also mean the end of Hawk’s life on the rooftops of New York.

Let me preface that I have not seen an episode of Hawk since I was young, so young that although I know I’ve seen it, I can’t recall anything at all.  With that in mind, this novelization of the series is actually a fairly decently done police procedural.  It appears that the author did not approach it as if the audience would be fully aware of the property because of the tv show and did a good job in establishing not only Hawk as a solid lead character, but also the flow of the story, the way Hawk does his job. Characterization was solid and the mystery itself wasn’t just a rote procedural, but a real whodunit of sorts that resolved as it should have and wrapped up nicely.

One thing about concepts like this that I was concerned about had to do with Hawk’s lineage, his being a Native American. Oftentimes, authors will fall into the trap of making that a central part of what the character is, his driving force. And, yes, although there were comments about his tracking ability and a ‘sixth sense’ accredited to his upbringing, such references were not heavy or overdone in this case.  As much credit was given to Hawk’s training as a policeman as was given to the happenstance that he was born Native American.  That made this story work even better, it being just about a cop who, because of all aspects of who he is, does his job.

Although not the best I’ve read, Hawk is earns four out of five pages.  It’s engaging and a good, quick read.

This one also loads four out of six bullets by my personal scale.  Characterization is solid and the plot moves well enough along that I stayed engaged and was eager to get to the end.


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