Carcaterra’s Apaches return to 1985 Manhattan in Chasers, an ambiguous bunch of disaffected ex-cops who have left the job after years of injuries and stress, eking out their final years on disability, the glory days of the past all but extinguished.
Unfortunately, such things are easier said than done. These once-active men are hardly ready to be relegated to the bone yard, their minds just as sharp as when they were on the force.
Both street-smart and street-weary, these ex-cops have seen it all and survived their wounds, at least the visible ones, their coping skills somewhat frayed. When the innocent niece of Giovanni “Boomer” Frontieri is caught in gang crossfire, he decides to cut to the heart of the matter and take out those responsible.
Stirring up trouble for the assailants brings out the Apaches’ old enemies and the newcomers on the street: the ruthless Colombians, the G-Men, and Father Angel, a South American ex-priest with eyes as dead as his soul. The friends gather around Boomer offering their support, stylized heroes all: Dead-Eye, Rev. Jim, Quincy, Ash, even a disabled drug-sniffing dog. They accept the risks ahead, eagerly laying the groundwork for a vigilante assault on the vermin who prey on the helpless victims with a little backup from the Russian mob for insurance.
We meet the characters, good and evil, learning one by one of their skills and weaknesses, ending in a convulsive collision of drug lords and Apaches. Emotionally disengaged, virtually none of the protagonists (Boomer, Dead-Eye, Rev. Jim, Ash, or Quincy) are accessible as living, breathing actors on a particularly brutal stage.
In a full-court press of predictable violence, the bad guys, assassins, the Boiler Man, Angel, the G-Men and a Russian mob queen, fulfill the usual stereotypes, a parade of cold-hearted killers. Except for an unexpected twist at the end, it is hard to distinguish the good guys from the bad but for their names, brutality natural to all. Perhaps that is Carcaterra’s point: when we become as violent as our opponents, even in pursuit of justice, there is no difference.