RICHARD PALADIN

 
Full Name: Richard Paladin
Nationality: American
Organization: EPA
Occupation Agent

Creator: David E. Manuel
Time Span: 2011 - 2012
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Richard Paladin is an assassin with the EPA.
       Yes, that EPA which stands for the Environmental Protection Agency. When he first found out his prospective employer was the agency set up to fight pollution he was a tad surprised but that went away quickly because his recruiter made it sound almost plausible and, truth be told, Paladin did not really care that awfully much. He needed a job and he had no decent prospects.
       It is interesting and rather telling about the whole EPA-assassin gig that he, recently out of the Army, learned of the opportunity from an ad in the back of a Hustler magazine. There are two noteworthy parts to this. First is that he did not think it strange that the EPA would be using Hustler to recruit. Second is that he never bought the issue he was reading but just 'studied' it at the newsstand.
       Something else good to know is that Richard Paladin is not his real name. We do not learn his actual name, just the one that his new boss set him up with when he met the guy, got the job, and set up home in Falls Church, Virginia. From them on he would use a wide assortment of aliases as he traveled the country dispatching bad guys, tossing these other fake identities as soon as he was done with them to resume being his full-time fake identity.
       A couple more important facts concerning Paladin need to be presented. First is that he is most definitely not a nice man. Most assassins would fit that description but Paladin does so especially well as evidenced by his comment early in the first adventure that "believe me, you haven't lived until you've emptied the magazine of a high-power handgun into some unsuspecting son of a bitch.  It's an awesome feeling you get seeing that look of total surprise followed by a glimmering awareness that this is the moment of death."
       Next is that he needed a job because he had just been kicked out of the Army. If it was explained why the military and he ended their relationship, I missed it but I can hazard the guess that Paladin did not play well with others. He is miffed a lot of the time and totally uncaring the rest of it. He has little good to say about the intelligence or integrity of anyone. To give him some credit, he does not consider himself particularly better than others; he just could not name any person who would deserve being respected.
       That low opinion about people extends into his personal life. He has not close attachments and does not miss it at all. When he was in the army, having joined as soon as he could to get out of a dirt-poor life in North Carolina, he spent most of his time being a womanizer focusing on wives of officers who would prefer to spend their off time on the links. They wanted a diversion and he provided it, enjoying the physicality of it and nothing more.
       But Paladin is not a total waste of oxygen. He might not have any great regard for his fellow man but he is not a psychopath enjoying killing. He does it because he is good at it and it pays the bills. Plus a bit more by rounding the expense reports up a tad. Or maybe just a bit more than a tad.

BOOKS

Number of Books:3
First Appearance:2011
Last Appearance:2012

1 Killer Protocols Killer Protocols
Written by David E. Manuel
Copyright: 2011

Not worrying too much about who he worked for, Richard Paladin did not look too closely at the fact it was the EPA. Then one of the people he was tasked with eliminating, a 'client' as he referred to them, was a harmless housewife who sold rare books for a living.

2 Clean Coal Killers Clean Coal Killers
Written by David E. Manuel
Copyright: 2012

Richard Paladin's new boss at the EPA wants him to look for terrorists threatening the power grid but as he looks into the personnel records, he finds a whole lot more than run-of-the-mill terrorisms.

3 The Killer Trees The Killer Trees
Written by David E. Manuel
Copyright: 2012

Logging is a dangerous occupation but the number of dead bodies is reaching extraordinary levels. Add the CEO is a close friend to the President and suddenly the EPA is interested and Richard Paladin is sent to look into things.

MY COMMENTS

       Okay, it took me more than a few pages to get the crease out of my brow when I started this series and learned what government agency Paladin worked for. I mean, come on! But once that incredulity mellowed a tad I started to really enjoy the books. And in a convoluted and whimsical way it kinda made sense, at least it did to Paladin who would be the first to admite that he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. The EPA is a huge bureaucracy with apparently a ton of money and a gigantic mandate. Its agents can go anywhere at any time and no one would wonder. Well, some might be a tad nervous because of all the regulations the agent might bring up but worry about being whacked?
       Once I learned that he was not doing the eliminations of his "clients" (odd choice there) on the actual behalf of the EPA but just using the group as a cover, it began to make more sense. Then it started to look like it really was the EPA that gave the orders. Then it didn't again. That's when I got to thinking the author did not want you to know the real truth and a more important aspect was that Paladin being who and how he is really did not care. A job was a job and he was good at it and as long as he could pad his expense reports a little more each mission, he did not look too closely anywhere.
       I decided I would not look too close, either. I would just go with it and enjoy.

GRADE

My Grade: B+

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