When it comes to stories about hitmen, they usually cross genres these days, the very premise usually pulls people in. One of my favorite John Cusack movies, Grosse Pointe Blank, was about a hitman who was a having a crisis of conscience while rekindling an old flame and staying alive despite the many attacks of Dan Ackroyd’s army of assassins. The movie was probably his best in years and proved that the genres of comedy and thriller can exist in the same story. As original a concept that was, not too many movies replicated its success.
Of course, the stories that usually captures people’s attention, is the serious thrillers, where the protagonists act as predator and prey. One of the most underrated movies which showed this in the sleekest way, was Enemy At The Gateswhich was more about the competition between two military snipers on opposite ends but contained elements of a thriller. It is rare for a book to both grip you and make you think, and it is even more electrifying when it is action packed. This is exactly what I found when I read Donald Goines‘ Daddy Cool.
We meet Daddy Cool, a hitman, who has a knack for close combat kills, and his weapon of choice are knives, something that he is very good at and becomes his calling card. A he tries to balance work and family, he finds his daughter, Janet, growing up way too fast, as she runs away with her boyfriend. By the time Daddy Cool finds out she skipped the town, he gets another call for a hit. Meanwhile, as she leaves town, she soon realizes that life on her own, is not as nice as when she was under father’s care, running into some conspicuous characters. Soon her boyfriend, Ron, turns into a prostitute, to make his ends meet, which sends Janet down a long spiral. As Daddy Cool, gets closer to finding her, he takes on a few more hits, ones where his work matters. Soon Daddy Cool, finds Janet, as he tries to steer her away from her boyfriend, but she stays with him despite Daddy Cool’s pleading. AS Daddy Cool decides to retire, he takes one last hit, taking out a group of thugs who sodomized a family and raped a 13 year old girl, as he shows these goons, no mercy. By book’s end, Janet finds finally comes to her senses and kills Ron, with a knife, just like Daddy Cool showed her to.
Overall, a substantial and courageous tale about the lure of street life, as Randy Crawford sang, “It’s the only life I know”. The story by Goines is intense, action packed and melodramatic. The art by Alcala is very much of the time, but still gorgeous. Altogether, the type of story that rarely gets turned into a graphic novel but should more often.
Story: Donald Goines Art: Alfredo P. Alcala and Jesse Dena
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy