Specialists
The Specialists are five ex-soldiers, all trained in jungle warfare, each with a deadly specialty. As civilians they lead inconspicuous lives--until the Colonel sends for them. Then their job is to find and eliminate the worst kind of criminal: those who hurt the innocent . . . those the law cannot touch.

Specialists Details

TitleSpecialists
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseDec 1st, 1996
PublisherCarroll & Graf Publishers
ISBN-139780786700462
Rating
GenreThriller, Fiction, Mystery, Crime, Novels

Specialists Review

  • Jason Koivu
    January 1, 1970
    I gave this two stars, not because it was bad, but because it was not one of Lawrence Block's best and I know he can do better.This story of counter-crime criminals (sort of like the A-Team!) is actually too dang short. It's not often I say that. Usually I'm all for trimming some of the fat. However, Specialists is an ensemble piece that needs time to develop or at least relate a bit of each character's backstory. At 160 pages, it's just not enough time. I felt like Block was still rounding ever I gave this two stars, not because it was bad, but because it was not one of Lawrence Block's best and I know he can do better.This story of counter-crime criminals (sort of like the A-Team!) is actually too dang short. It's not often I say that. Usually I'm all for trimming some of the fat. However, Specialists is an ensemble piece that needs time to develop or at least relate a bit of each character's backstory. At 160 pages, it's just not enough time. I felt like Block was still rounding everybody out two-thirds of the way through. The action drags more than it should for so few pages. I mean, you've got gamblers and hookers and mob-type guys all doing their thing, while paramilitary operatives set up bank heists. Hell, there's even a love story! And yet somehow the action actually had time to lag!Even at two-stars, I didn't hate this. I was just disappointed. Block has done much better work than this and I will continue to read his books.
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  • Jeff
    January 1, 1970
    Not one of Block's better efforts, but even his not-so-good novels are entertaining at times. From the description I thought it would be better than it was. It read like a lost script of the A-Team. Maybe that's where they got the idea for the show.
  • Jeffrey
    January 1, 1970
    I always enjoy the writing of Lawrence Block, and this was no exception.Originally written in 1969 and now available as an ebook, this delightful book was a fun read and a good story.Set in the late 60's it has the feel of an older story....no internet (go to the library for resources) no cell phones, etc....fun. Veterans trying to to make things right when bad guys make things go wrong....interesting characters, with a good back story, some fun, some great story points (the pretend tree surgeon I always enjoy the writing of Lawrence Block, and this was no exception.Originally written in 1969 and now available as an ebook, this delightful book was a fun read and a good story.Set in the late 60's it has the feel of an older story....no internet (go to the library for resources) no cell phones, etc....fun. Veterans trying to to make things right when bad guys make things go wrong....interesting characters, with a good back story, some fun, some great story points (the pretend tree surgeons, setting up a reference in a cute way with a sweet woman)..This is lite reading,easy going and uncomplicated. Enjoy.At the end is an afterwards about the story and how this as going to be a series and then became a series of one book. Too bad, would have enjoyed more.Bonus feature - photos of L Block at the end....nice touch
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  • Zare
    January 1, 1970
    Fast paced thriller following team of former soldiers fighting crime in only way that can affect the crime - by robbing banks associated with the organized crime and used for money laundering.After lady friend of one of the soldiers is maltreated by a shady crime boss group decides to bring his crime fiefdom down.This is a novel written in time when original Mission impossible, A Team and Equalizer shows were very popular. That being said in here we also have a team in which every man is a speci Fast paced thriller following team of former soldiers fighting crime in only way that can affect the crime - by robbing banks associated with the organized crime and used for money laundering.After lady friend of one of the soldiers is maltreated by a shady crime boss group decides to bring his crime fiefdom down.This is a novel written in time when original Mission impossible, A Team and Equalizer shows were very popular. That being said in here we also have a team in which every man is a specialist for certain area - be it technical or social. Also some of them are not that OK themselves - some are troublemakers but Army helped them find their place so to speak. They might all come from various backgrounds but in the Army and in hell that is Vietnam war they learned to look beyond the social status and race and rely on each other through tough times.Considering the length of the novel and number of the characters they might all seem one-dimensional and cliche - but keep in mind when novel was written. Today we have seen volumes of books, TV shows and movies with the same plots but that was not the case in the day.All of the above [at least for me] does not deduct anything from the story or novel itself. I truly enjoyed it as a kick ass action story.Good thriller, recommended.
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  • Rob Smith, Jr.
    January 1, 1970
    The characters are initially well handled and then given short shrift at the end. Scantily drawn. This is especially bad at the end when structures become important.series tales, but the plotting stinks. Seems to me Block had a much larger vision, maybe even starting his own series, and as he got near the end, he sliced his efforts to minimum, finished off the book and went on the to the next. After a build up of a collection of new characters and their various abilities, they are collected to c The characters are initially well handled and then given short shrift at the end. Scantily drawn. This is especially bad at the end when structures become important.series tales, but the plotting stinks. Seems to me Block had a much larger vision, maybe even starting his own series, and as he got near the end, he sliced his efforts to minimum, finished off the book and went on the to the next. After a build up of a collection of new characters and their various abilities, they are collected to complete a mission that is then written off quickly to the point I wasn't really sure if they actually met whatever goal they were trying to make.The story is an odd case of vengeance involving important a treatment of a woman that ends up an effort to destroy the person involved but really ends with something different. I found the ending very unsatisfying.The characters are initially well handled and then given short shrift at the end. Scantily drawn. This is especially bad at the end when structures become important.Bottom line: i don't recommend this book. 4 out of 10 points.
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  • Bruce Nieminski
    January 1, 1970
    8/10160 pagesBook #38 of 2017
  • Joanne
    January 1, 1970
    Though dated, it is still a good story.
  • John Marsh
    January 1, 1970
    Audible libraryEx army get together to clear criminal and make money from the actions. It started when the senior officer return in a wheel “The colonel was right. You had to draw a line through mankind, a wavy line but a line, and on one side you had Good and on the other side you had Evil. There was good and bad in everyone, sure, and every shitheel was some mother’s son, and it was all well and good to know this, but when push came to shove, it was just words; there was Good and Evil with no Audible libraryEx army get together to clear criminal and make money from the actions. It started when the senior officer return in a wheel “The colonel was right. You had to draw a line through mankind, a wavy line but a line, and on one side you had Good and on the other side you had Evil. There was good and bad in everyone, sure, and every shitheel was some mother’s son, and it was all well and good to know this, but when push came to shove, it was just words; there was Good and Evil with no shades of gray and Judgment Day came seven time a week.”Meet the Specialists, five good men, Manso and Murdock and Simmons and Giordano and Dehn. They scattered when they took off their green berets and returned to civilian life, but now and then their colonel picks up the phone and gets in touch—and they get together to do as they did in Vietnam.Colonel Roger Elliott Cross left a leg in Vietnam. His men came home physically intact, but each bears scars nonetheless. But when they come together, teamed up to right wrongs, they are a powerful force for good.And,by doing good, they also manage to do well. Because when five specialists take on a Mafia-owned bank, why shouldn’t they turn profit on the deal?If you saw The A-Team on television, this may seem familiar to you. When Lawrence Block saw the A-Team, it seems uncannily familiar to him, and he had the feeling the show’s producers had read his 1968 novel. But he decided, wisely or not, that life is too short for litigation. Now, years later, the TV show has vanished and the book lives on. Isn’t that as it should be?This Classic Crime Library ebook of The Specialists includes as a bonus the first chapter of the next book in the series, The Triumph of Evil.
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  • David Highton
    January 1, 1970
    an early Block crime classic - enjoyed it although slightly dated
  • Craig Childs
    January 1, 1970
    I couldn't help liking this book. It's fast-paced, with wildly implausible action scenes and tongue-in-cheek humor. (I particularly liked the part where one of the commandos would tape a knife to his leg and then sneak up behind someone, remove the knife quiety, and kill him. Really? How does the intended victim not hear you ripping duct tape off your leg?)I realize this book is deeply silly on many levels. But it's like watching a James Bond movie from the 70's: Yes, the plot barely makes sense I couldn't help liking this book. It's fast-paced, with wildly implausible action scenes and tongue-in-cheek humor. (I particularly liked the part where one of the commandos would tape a knife to his leg and then sneak up behind someone, remove the knife quiety, and kill him. Really? How does the intended victim not hear you ripping duct tape off your leg?)I realize this book is deeply silly on many levels. But it's like watching a James Bond movie from the 70's: Yes, the plot barely makes sense. And yes, the characters are little more than cardboard cutouts. But you still can't turn away because it's so much fun seeing what comes next. One interesting twist in this story was that the "good guys" were arguably morally worse than the bad guys. In fact, throughout the book, the menacing gangsters never actually killed anyone. Oh, they threatened and they beat a few people up, but nothing like the "good guy" commandos who basically ran around killing gangsters, gangster wives, and hapless security guards almost at random. But hey, who doesn't like a good shoot-em-up every once in a while?
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  • Eric_W
    January 1, 1970
    A group of ex-enlisted men and army officers forms a team to do what the law can't: catch bag guys. Sort of like the A-Team. (This was an early Block and for all I know gave someone in Hollywood the idea.) The colonel, who has money, creates lives for them to account for their unusual income. One of them is a stamp collector and dealer (shades of a future Keller?), another an encyclopedia salesmen (he didn't mind conning people into buying a good encyclopedia since everyone ought to have one - o A group of ex-enlisted men and army officers forms a team to do what the law can't: catch bag guys. Sort of like the A-Team. (This was an early Block and for all I know gave someone in Hollywood the idea.) The colonel, who has money, creates lives for them to account for their unusual income. One of them is a stamp collector and dealer (shades of a future Keller?), another an encyclopedia salesmen (he didn't mind conning people into buying a good encyclopedia since everyone ought to have one - on the other hand one could live an entire life without one, too.) A third is a travel agent, anyway, you get the idea, all have jobs that made it relatively easy to hide money that came from the extracurricular jobs. They decide to take on a mob boss by duplicating one of his earlier bank robberies to assure that he is accused of the second. Lots of things start to go wrong, and while the group has an ostensible moral compass, the justifications for some of their cruder actions struck me as hollow.Clearly a minor, exploratory work, it shows some of Block's talent and is a fun little read.
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  • Eric
    January 1, 1970
    I heard Lawrence Block speak recently, and he mentioned a little-known book he wrote which he said was similar to The A-Team, although he wrote it before the series came out. The premise caught my attention, and I picked up a copy on Kindle for $3.98 and gave it a read.It was a short read of about 160 pages, and I read it in one sitting. It was quite enjoyable, with memorable characters and an interesting heist plot-line, but I am at a loss to explain exactly why they tried conning Albert Platt I heard Lawrence Block speak recently, and he mentioned a little-known book he wrote which he said was similar to The A-Team, although he wrote it before the series came out. The premise caught my attention, and I picked up a copy on Kindle for $3.98 and gave it a read.It was a short read of about 160 pages, and I read it in one sitting. It was quite enjoyable, with memorable characters and an interesting heist plot-line, but I am at a loss to explain exactly why they tried conning Albert Platt instead of just killing him outright, given their lack of moral objections to killing his bodyguards and drivers to get to him.In the afterword, Block mentions that he was originally supposed to write a series based on these characters, and while he liked The Specialists, he did not like writing the characters enough to continue the series. I find this unfortunate, as I think the characters could be explored much more and would have liked to read more about them.
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  • Roybot
    January 1, 1970
    As others have noted, there are serious shades of "The A Team" here. A team of crack soldiers out to right wrongs and help the innocent, etc. There are also shades of Richard Stark/Donald Westlake here--the planning and execution phase of The Specialists reminded me of some of the Parker books a little. Overall, this wasn't a bad read, but nothing particularly special, either. I think that one reason the book falls a little flat is that half of the "good guys" are pretty repugnant. For guys who As others have noted, there are serious shades of "The A Team" here. A team of crack soldiers out to right wrongs and help the innocent, etc. There are also shades of Richard Stark/Donald Westlake here--the planning and execution phase of The Specialists reminded me of some of the Parker books a little. Overall, this wasn't a bad read, but nothing particularly special, either. I think that one reason the book falls a little flat is that half of the "good guys" are pretty repugnant. For guys who are supposed to be all about punishing the wicked, they seem to have pretty dirty pasts. I don't regret that couple of bucks I dropped on this, but this is definitely nowhere near as good as the Scudder books.
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  • Patrick
    January 1, 1970
    In modern parlance you might consider this "Ocean's Eleven" meets "The A-Team." Basically a bunch of retired Special Forces guys get together to knock over a bank after a tip from a call girl who then conveniently disappears from the plot. It's too bad the book wasn't longer but like a lot of Block's books it's a fun little yarn. Also interesting that he uses a couple of things that show up in other books. The Canadian mining scam was used in another one I can't remember and Block's Keller serie In modern parlance you might consider this "Ocean's Eleven" meets "The A-Team." Basically a bunch of retired Special Forces guys get together to knock over a bank after a tip from a call girl who then conveniently disappears from the plot. It's too bad the book wasn't longer but like a lot of Block's books it's a fun little yarn. Also interesting that he uses a couple of things that show up in other books. The Canadian mining scam was used in another one I can't remember and Block's Keller series has a lot of stamp collecting in it.That is all.
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  • Bess
    January 1, 1970
    How had I never read this before? What a great book! The afterword says that it was originally intended to be a series, and I'm so sorry that he didn't write more. Would have loved to have seen what happened to them all.
  • Lesley Ragsdale
    January 1, 1970
    A man's man book from the 1960s and it shows. I was already put out by the epic levels of testosterone laced condescension, but at the point where I find out one of the protags is a good ole boy rapist and I'm supposed to find him likable anyway, I was done.
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  • J
    January 1, 1970
    The language is terse and plot convoluted, but when a double-amputee Colonel is leading a gang of 5 Vietnam Vets, does that really matter? Like A-Team re-envisioned for Skinemax, this is the best 25 cents I have spent on a book.
  • Jim
    January 1, 1970
    I borrowed this audio book from the library on a day when the pickings were admittedly slim and I wanted something short and quickly engaging. Mercifully, this book was short or else I would not here suffer the shame of admitting that I fast-listened to it. So that is not a recommendation.
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  • Jim
    January 1, 1970
    An early Block work where the style that would propel him into successful series writing, particularly with Scudder, starts to solidify. In contrast to his early semi-soft porn stuff, where he was searching for rhythm and voice, this book makes a leap forward in both areas. Enjoyable, short read.
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  • Barry
    January 1, 1970
    This story has been done many times as books and as movies. It is really old hat. But the orher writers weren't Lawrence Block.
  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    Okay, not my favorite, jumped a bit and fell together all to well.
  • Karl
    January 1, 1970
    This is copy 90 of 200 signed, numbered and slip cased copies.
  • Andy Nieradko
    January 1, 1970
    Brilliant. Very cinematic. Great book. Would've been a great series.
  • Eileen Gray
    January 1, 1970
    Good storyI found it a little boring . Not like Blocks other books. But I still enjoyed it. My next READ will be Block.
  • Denise M.
    January 1, 1970
    AKA: Sheldon Lord, Jill Emerson, Paul Kavanaugh, Chip Harrison, Lawrence Block
  • David Weinfeld
    January 1, 1970
    a great cast but plot and action are poor.
  • George
    January 1, 1970
    It's an old Lawrence Block book. He got better as he continued to write, but this is still worth reading, particularly if you're a fairly devoted Block fan already. If not, read his later stuff.
  • Chris
    January 1, 1970
    Cool concept, I was into this one
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