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Thursday, December 29, 2016

LAST RANGER #07 - THE VILE VILLAGE

You guys know the story by now, right? America is a wasteland and the bombs have turned the clouds that funny shade of purple. People are sick and dying and our hero, Martin Stone, is riding his Harley Davidson through the carnage to rescue his kidnapped sister April. You down with it? Pretty simple story-line throughout this ten book series known as "The Last Ranger". Book number seven is "The Vile Village", written once again by Craig Sargent (house name for real author Jan Stacy) and released via Popular Library in 1988. Craig Sargent just sounds so much better than Jan Stacy. 

The book begins after that fallout of book six. Our boy Stone and his pitbull Excalibur are just cruising along on Stone's Harley when they get spit on by some radioactive clouds. The purple shit falling out of the sky stings the skin. Our boy is trying to drive through it, gets annihilated by this falling purple radiation jazz and wrecks the damn motorcyle. I swear to God this guy has wrecked the Harley a dozen times or more through the course of this series. Here's a thought - Don't drive through acid rain. Never a good judgment call. Stone and Excalibur plunge from the bike and get knocked out cold. An old farmer turned undertaker finds the two and brings them back to his farm. Something about his incident and exchange reminds me of an old western I've seen somewhere along the way. Only it was a guy falling off a horse and taken back by an old worn-out gunfighter. I dunno. 



Once there the undertaker gets his daughter LuAnn to nurse Stone back to health again. Leave it to our barrel chested hero to butt-plow nurse LuAnn for three pages. After the nursing and porn Stone gets down to business with the undertaker. Just like a western tale the town of Copexi (or something like that) is a small farming community that is caught between two rival gangs - The Headstompers versus The Strathers Brothers. No shit. The gangs are leaning on the farmers and shopkeepers really hard to pay weekly taxes for protection. They are stretched thin and dying. Stone ain't gonna stand for it. No sir. 

Our paperback warrior heads into town and immediately gets into a bar fight with The Headstompers. After shooting them down he approaches The Strathers Brothers with an offer - he'll be their gunman for money and they can call him "Preacher-Boy", because all gunmen need a cool name. You see Stone has a plan. He'll pretend to be a head-knocker for The Strathers Brothers while really just pulling the right switches to cause the Headstompers to get in an epic war with The Strathers' bunch. If they kill each other the farming community will be free of trouble and can get back to planting cabbage. Or whatever the Hell they do in Copexi. 

Everything goes according to plan and Stone plays the part. He gets in a few skirmishes along the way but his ultimate downfall is when The Strathers Brothers find out he isn't the "Preacher-Boy" that he claims to be. Just like the last book, and a few prior ones, Stone is clamped to a table for a good round of torture-thy-dick. Miraculously he escapes, kills all the baddies in the room and makes a break for it. Unfortunately The Strathers Brothers have Excalibur blocked off and Stone needs his dog. Badly. The end comes with a massive firefight between Stone, The Strathers Brothers, The Headknockers, The Farmers and a LION. That's right. A LION. Excalibur fights a lion. And wins. Big time baby!

Stone contemplates on going back to the Undertaker's house and banging LuAnn for days. But he knows his sister April is out there and he's vowing to get her back. That's a wrap! Book eight coming soon!

Monday, December 26, 2016

EAGLE FORCE #02 - DEATH CAMP COLOMBIA

Here comes that damn ex-CIA strike team known as Eagle Force. It's all action and all guts by author Dan Schmidt. "Death Camp Colombia" is book two of the series and serves up our talented four-piece of doom deep inside the jungles of Colombia fighting the evil cocaine kingpin Fernando Hernandez, known as El Diablo. 

The book opens with El Diablo held captive in a Florida mansion by the DEA. He's waiting for trial and contemplating the moments of his escape. Inside is the "inside man", a DEA traitor named Jameson. This two-timer has spilled the beans to El Diablo's goons and soon the DEA is wiped the F out by Jameson, El Diablo, the goon squad and a vile henchman named Raul "El Leon" Pizarro, who's sort of that mid-level video game boss with the big sword. 

After the escape we get down to Eagle Force, mainly Vic Gabriel and crew planning on the next mission - taking out El Diablo and his angel dust empire. Vic has a mad hard-on for coke...it killed his brother and he wants payback. Big time. To get to El Diablo they need to take out a mid-level dealer in Fort Lauderdale. The group enlist the aid of an ex-DEA agent and have a beach front shoot-out with the dealer and his cronies. From there it's off to a bar where they take out even more cronies and get the details of a Colombia Death Camp being ran by El Diablo. After taking Johnny "The Falcon" Lightning prisoner, he leads the group at gunpoint to an airport where they all have another massive firefight. Eagle Force grabs a plane headed to Colombia with "The Falcon" on board. 


Next is a meeting at a whorehouse...because all men's action-adventure tales end up at a whorehouse eventually. This one was a set-up by "The Falcon" and the entire Eagle Force squad gets taken out by poisonous darts. Shit, I hate a damn poison dart fight in a brothel. Really gets the old pecker limp. From there El Diablo's crew takes Eagle Force to the Death Camp Colombia where they are beaten and locked in a cell. 

Some of the fun festivities at the death camp include whips, ropes, piranha, venomous snakes and a pit filled with piss, shit and vomit. Three guys are lowered into the pits and die horribly...although the pit that has the piss, shit and vomit in it...how does someone die in that? The piranha pit and the snake pit...totally get that. But being submerged in a pit of piss and shit...not sure that is a life ending thing. But here, at the Death Camp Colombia, it certainly creates fatalities. 

It's just a matter of time before Vic breaks out, this time easily just reaching through the bars and squeezing a guard's face. From there it's disarm the troops time, kill them all and release the prisoners. They have a massive firefight with AK-47s and grenades and eventually El Diablo and that bloody vile henchman Pizarro die. Oh and Jameson dies too. Because he has to, right? Dirty treacherous bastard.

Much like the first book Schmidt absolutely creams the jeans with action. That's what I love about this series thus far. It's just firefight after firefight with some backstory and well developed villains. Unlike an M.I.A. Hunter book for example, these go beyond just search and rescue. Kudos to creating battles on the beach, at airports, in brothels and, of course, for delivering our heroes out of the bloody pits of doom...safe in the arms of victory. 

Next up for the series is "Flight 666" which promises "terror at 37,000 feet!" Oh yeah baby.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

LAST RANGER #06 - THE WARLORD'S REVENGE

Think of Craig Sargent's sixth entry in the post-apocalyptic series "Last Ranger" as the book that just sort of sits sideways on the shelf with its peers. Unlike the previous five books, which were pretty damn good, "The Warlord's Revenge" is stunningly boring. Halfway through I'm sitting there just wondering why I've dedicated this small little portion of my life to this paperback pile of poo-poo. Let's discuss...

Martin Stone, the hot Cherokee warrior Meyra and her tribe of Native Americans have escaped that madman with all the nukes. All that jazz happened in book five. Yet Stone was only able to shoot one nuke out of the sky. The other one fell and, needless to say, the skies are purple pink and some folks are growing tails. Like seriously radioactive. The first few chapters has Stone and the crew battle a little band of outlaws that lasts...oh...a half page. Then Stone bangs Meyra again which was a first of the series. Hitting the same tail twice. Stone is practically hitching his wagon indefinitely to Meyra. Player settling down?

Around the 80 page mark Stone leaves the folks and heads back to his bomb-shelter hideaway to restock on Iodine tablets and motorcycle rockets. That's a real thing buster. Unfortunately he reads a note that says his sister, April, left the shelter because some mafia goons were chasing her and Doctor Kennedy (a minor character from a prior book, does it matter?). Here's the thing. Stone has this bad-ass fortified shelter that will sustain itself for ten years if he just did nothing but eat Ho-Hos all day everyday. He can sit in there and just chill out. Why in the Hell is he out on a motorcycle fighting cannibals and warlords? Tail. Gotta be the bimbo tail. 

By page 100 Stone is headed to the place where he thinks April might be. But shit...April was sold into prostitution by a mafia henchman named Scalzanni. He is running this shopping mall of sin. You can go there and gamble, do the wild-monkey dance and partake in enough drugs to float Keith Richards. Scalzanni has April there and Stone wants her back. Immediately our hero gets himself captured and Scalzanni tucks him away into a torture lab. A prostitute friend helps him to escape and he ultimately kills Scalzanni...with the help of Excalibur (the mutt that Stone pals around with). On his way back to the mall to get April he finds that she has once again been captured and taken to some place called Apaloosa. The end.

First off...I would lay down some ground rules for sister April. I mean this chick has been in captivity in some fashion since book one. If she isn't being hauled off to strip or whore around then she is being attacked at home by mafia goons. Christ almighty can she just lay low for a book or two? Second, Stone really doesn't do much of anything in this book. The first 100 pages has him wreck his bike, shoot down an outlaw gang and blow a helicopter out of the sky with a motorcycle rocket. I mean this just isn't wetting the old whistle like it used to. I think Sargent was just attempting to get Stone from Point A to Point B with this book and it really does little else. If you are reading the series in chronological order...you could honestly just skip this piece of shit. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

GUNSHIPS #01 - KILLING ZONE



















I stumbled onto the "Gunships" series at a used book store. "The Killing Zone" is book one of this four book series. It was released in 1981 via Zebra. I've Googled author Jack Hamilton Teed and can't find much of anything out there. Aside from this series he only wrote one other book, "The Blood of Dracula, that I could find. It's a shame because this first entry of the series is stellar stuff.


I'm not a big fan of the vehicular action books. There's a ton of stuff out there that involves planes, tanks, boats and motorcycles. Hell I think I even saw some RV action. I was thinking that "Gunships" would be 'copter action in Vietnam (the tag is A Vivid Journey Into the Vietnam War). Surprisingly, that isn't the case at all. The idea of why it's called "Gunships" is described by a soldier on page 228 of the book:

"Gunships! You ever thought, Sarge - we all gunships. Human gunships. We got more badass weaponry and infernal Goddamn machines hangin' from us than any other licensed killers in history. Only we could flap our fuckin' arms an' take off into the wild yonder, they wouldn't need no chopper-gunships at all."

Make sense? Yeah, sort of threw me with the title but it makes sense now. The book begins with a seedy General named Dempsey giving an order to our main character, Colonel John Hardin. Dempsey is running all sorts of shit in South Vietnam - drugs, whores and money. He is demanding that Dempsey run up north, watch an NVA patrol for a few days and then gingerly swing by a village to drop some important documents. Hardin knows it stinks and refuses to do the order. Dempsey is pissed and calls some meetings. That is essentially the 26 page prologue. 

"Part One" is a really interesting endeavor by the author. Dempsey is putting together a masterplan to eliminate Hardin using military resources that have gone south...for lack of a better term. Remember when Lee Marvin is recruiting the "Dirty Dozen" misfits from the lock-up? "Part One" is like that with little short stories that make up the files that Dempsey is flipping through. There are seven guys that the author vividly captures, each with their own history of how they ended up in the stockade. My favorite of the group is the story of O'hara, a really good guitar player who got drafted for the war. He had a tangle with his sarge and ultimately ended up behind bars. He is treated horribly and eventually fights back which creates an even bigger situation. "Part One" runs about 90 pages and is captivating stuff. I really enjoyed these short stories and overall they contribute to the grand scheme of things. Really freakin' solid stuff.

"Part Two" is the final 140 pages and I've gotta say...it is an absolute whirlwind of action. It's arguably some of the most exciting scenes of the entire genre. THIS SHIT IS MANDATORY READING. Here's how it goes down...Hardin gets an order to attend some sort of staff meeting. He boards a chopper that flies him all over the place with different directives. Finally he takes a nap only to wake up and find that he has flown into Laos solo for a drop mission. Before he can scream that this isn't his mission the craft is shot out of the sky. Now Hardin is alone with the injured pilot with hardly any firepower and miles behind enemy lines. It's FUBAR to the extreme. He knows Dempsey set him up. He attempts to negotiate with a nearby village but the NVA show up and start a long night of torture. The author holds nothing back and the waterboarding scenes are...really disturbing. 

Now Dempsey knows that Hardin has been shot down so the rest of the plan comes together. He is going to take the seven screw-ups and send them on a chopper into Laos to rescue Dempsey. Only he has instructions for Sarge Stocker to kill all of them at the drop zone and head back. Fortunately the crew turn things around quickly and find themselves up shit creek in Laos right outside of the village Hardin is held captive in. Here things really get fired up. There is a massive firefight as Hardin and two of the crew hole up in a hut and fight off waves of NVA using a special forces cache that was left at the village. This part is something akin to "Assault on Precinct 13" or, shit, "Night of the Living Dead". While that group is holding off hordes of enemy troops the remaining crew is fighting them flank-side from the mountain-side. It's this writing that Teed excels at. The action is fast, furious yet still atmospheric with a looming sense of dread and isolation.

Teed wraps up this story-line by book's end and I wonder what he has in store for the next books. Hopefully Hardin continues to be a main character but considering how abstract the author is with the genre...anything could happen. "The Killing Zone" is a worthy start to what should amount to a very entertaining and thought-provoking series. The author has a very gritty style and his presentation here is extraordinary. Highly recommended. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

EAGLE FORCE #01 - CONTRACT FOR SLAUGHTER

Author Dan Schmidt has contributed immensely to the "Executioner" and "Super Bolan" series of books. Along with a few stand alone titles he was also the creator of a nine book series known as "Eagle Force". This team based series got a bit of a late start, originating in 1989, as opposed to lots of teams that had solid bibliographies by this point in time. Nonetheless...it's four guys heavily armed that actually name themselves. I mean this is the real deal. EAGLE FORCE has landed. The first book, "Contract for Slaughter", kicks it off in grand fashion.

While this book definitely has a plot, you can sense with only 159 pages that this one is really just the fleshing out process. Like a lot of these team based books this one goes through the recruitment phase. This is where the men compare sizes, review their badges and ribbons and make damn sure that all of them know which end of the barrel to point. We get the hard-nosed Vic Gabriel as the badass leader. He's a Vietnam vet who spent some additional time as a free lance CIA assassin. Now a days he's retired and soaking up the sun of Florida on his boat. However, catching fish just ain't firing up the furnace like it used to. Gabriel needs to get back to the killin'. Lucky for him a guy named Milton shows up with a story to tell.

Milton is the stereotypical wealthy guy with the spoiled daughter. Turns out the daughter has been kidnapped by an Islamic terrorist group called "The Sword of Islam". They are holed up in Tunis and waiting for some ransom money from Daddy Warbucks. Milton knows some CIA guys who turn him onto Gabriel. There's really an intricate backstory as to why they turn him onto Gabriel but I'm not gonna rattle that cage too much here. Milton throws his case at Gabriel and it's a reason for the old dog to rejoin the fight. 

Now comes the "recruitment" portion that takes up the majority of the book. Gabriel goes out and puts the old band back together. He starts with grabbing Dillinger. His specialty is Ninja knives (what!) and two Colt .45s. Dillinger is wasting away these days as a gumshoe and fairly happy to join the band. Next is Simms, a martial arts master who plays a mean M-16. He's in debt and owes everybody and their mother. Once Gabriel mentions Milton is paying 50K a head...shit fool. Simms is down for it. The last one is a tough Dutchman named Boolewarke, who's in the middle of his own war in North Africa when the gang comes-a-calling. He has a slight beef with Simms but joins the ranks. Boom. The team's all here.

As the team travels to the ransom location the author throws some flashback sequences at us in all italics. Hard on the eyes Schmiddy. Geez. But these are great backstories that show how Gabriel was raised by his badass Green Beret father. We also get a look at his pussy brother. There's the history of why the CIA is interested in Gabriel's current whereabouts...but that's major spoilers that we will detour around. The history is really important and probably a "mythology" that will backbone the series in the future.

The final portion of the book is a glorious firefight between Eagle Force and "The Sword of Islam" cronies. There's some flamethrower action, a ton of explosives and the familiar barking of M-16s. It went down big time. The end was really a curveball out of left field. Major balls hung by the author. A rare dare. Loved it! The end of the book gives a preview of book 2, "Death Camp Colombia". Great book, great start to the series.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

OUT OF THE ASHES #02 - FIRE IN THE ASHES

One year after Johnstone kicked off the "Out of the Ashes" series he returns with book two. "Fire in the Ashes" was released in 1984 via Zebra and incredibly makes things even worse than ever before. How is this even possible?

In this ill-conceived second entry Ben Raines is running around the country after his rebels have fallen by the wayside. Some bigwigs named Cody and Lowry are pretty much running the country now and what is left is a stiff-armed police state. The duo use a mercenary team led by the beefy Hartline to punish the people and to keep the pockets of resistance at a minimum. For the most part things are back to normal. You know, like gang rapes and sodomy on nearly every single page. Ugh. Is this the post-apocalypse or point of entry?

Johnstone has a serious hard-on for the dirty stuff and doesn't leave any clean sheets here. This book is absolutely filthy kids. Like the uber dirty stuff. Hartline spends most of the book violating a reporter named Sabra, her young daughter and Ben's old flame Jerre. There isn't a single point to any of it. Throw in the rough patch here and there of sexual torture and you ultimately get the first 350 pages. It's nonsensical and totally classless. 

What is really happening? Well the government's military is backing Ben Raines and his rebels and soon the government is dissolved and Ben is made the president. Right. Yeah. Then the whole thing goes cream corn as a plague hits the country and kills off most of the population. It turns out all the dead bodies over the years have created a serious mutant rat problem that has spread the plague via fleas. Oh and guess what else is running around? Damn giant mutant boys. Ben fights a giant retarded mutant six-year old boy. Seriously. It is pretty much the highlight of the whole thing and comes painfully near the last chapter. 

I don't recommend this to anyone. It's political jibber-jabber through page after page of pointless right vs left drivel. Top it off with nearly endless flashbacks from book one and throw in a small firefight near the end. Lordy Mercy! Stay away from this shitball. 

OUT OF THE ASHES #01 - OUT OF THE ASHES

William W. Johnstone was mired in a variety of genres in the 80's and 90's. While known mostly for multiple western series' the author created a long line of post-apocalyptic books called "Out of the Ashes". The series ran 35 books and was spun-off into one additional series called "The Last Rebel" that only managed one book release before Johnstone's passing. His son, J.A. Johnstone, doesn't seem to have any interest in continuing the series so for now it seems like it has come to a definitive end. Hallelujah! 

The first book of the series, aptly titled "Out of the Ashes", was released in 1983 by Zebra. I know, I know...the series does have its fans. I am not one of them. About halfway through this crock of shit I questioned my own sanity. I'm as right as rain when it comes to politics but this stuff is extremely right winged to the point of...well Hell I don't even know how it got published. 

Essentially this one doesn't fit the typical mold of barrel chested bravado with big guns and even bigger egos. Instead this is more politically driven and sees the end of the world as more of a "Risk" styled board game than the action vehicles like "The Last Ranger" or "Endworld". There is certainly nothing wrong with this and I'm glad it coaches from the sidelines, but I was hoping for more on the field play. Johnstone apparently felt that was not the intention or goal of the series so here we are. Bored to tears as some guy named Ben Raines manipulates North America. Let's discuss...

The end of the world begins with a treacherous double-cross (or a triple cross?) that leads to a fun game of "you can't triple stamp a double stamp" played by a bunch of fearless Washington brass. The end comes with a series of dirty bomb nukes that wipes out most of the US cities. About 5,000 US militia were in hiding waiting for this move to come and they are known as "The Rebels" (so original). They want to see America become a sturdy right-winged government that throws out liberalism in favor of less government and more "lets pee off the front porch" freedom. That's cool. Whatever. But these rebels find that this was really just a trick by the new default president Logan, who wants military socialism in a nutshell. So they sort of quit and just await orders from an action author/alcoholic named Ben Raines. Huh? Something stinks in the backseat. 

Raines is a Vietnam veteran who was apparently really good at this combat stuff. He later went on to be a mercenary in Africa and did a lot of bang 'em. Afterwards he retired to Louisiana where he slouched on Scotch and wrote a bunch of pulp fiction. On launch day Raines ends up getting stung by yellow jackets and falls down with an allergic reaction. This saves him somehow from the dirty bomb attack on the US. When he wakes up several days later he realizes the end has arrived. What's he do next? He drives all over the country making notes and recording the end so future generations can read all about it. In his spare time...he chases female seat meat. I mean this dude gets hordes of leg. Like throwing rod with at least four to five different women. What does all this lead to? Ben finally decides to lead the rebels against the new government led by Logan. The last ten to fifteen pages has the most action as Ben's "Tri-States" region of resistance is decimated by the new US. 

Unlike Johnstone's western series', "Out of the Ashes" is extremely graphic. Think of David Alexander's porno streak and add torture. That's Johnstone throughout this book. Often it seems like the baddies are literally just running around with their dicks in their hand raping everything. I don't know how many gang rapes Johnstone throws at the reader but after pages and pages of it I was really unsettled. I can handle bits and pieces of that stuff if it contributes to character development or pushes the story. In this instance I think it was just there for shock value. I'm not a fan. 

"Out of the Ashes" or out of ideas. Johnstone misses badly. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

M.I.A. HUNTER #03 - HANOI DEATHGRIP






The previous "M.I.A. Hunter" titles by house name Jack Buchanan were written by Stephen Mertz and Mike Newton. The share ration between the two is anyone's guess. However with book three, "Hanoi Deathgrip" (say "Deathgrip" like a 'rassler), the talented journeyman Joe Lansdale ("Batman", "Jonah Hex") steps up. Newton/Mertz were great. Lansdale is aw-aw-awesome. 

We start where any action tale worth it's salt begins...a whorehouse. That damned Texan Hog Wiley is throwing bodies out of windows and tearing up the cathouse like a rat on a cheeto. Luckily Terrance Louglin and our "M.I.A. Hunter" Mark Stone arrives to get Hog and head out for another stinkin' jungle adventure. But first...cue the flashback and tell us what this nonsense is really about.

Combat reporter/insert hottie Jackie Winslow shows up looking like an 80's Kathleen Turner. She's at Mark Stone's private eye firm to beg...no plead...for his assistance in rescuing her father from his Hell on Earth. Major/Dr. Winslow was captured doing some volunteer medical work in Laos. Stone and Winslow have a little attraction that Stone dismisses later (remember that Paula Abdul video where she dances with the cartoon cat...that was cool). Anyhoo Stone finds that the ISA has targeted his home and attempted to steal a bunch of his files (remember paper files, what a lark!). He turns over a van and gets them back in a dashing display of bravado. Moving on...


The three main characters do the normal song and dance of the series. They meet with some freedom fighters to thicken up the gun-soup and head into the jungle for the rescue. In the meantime Lansdale introduces us to the captive Winslow and some other Americans that are being held at "Insert Random Prison Name". Let's call it "IRPN" from here on out. Winslow is getting the stuffing knocked out of him by the cruel camp commander Po. This guy is pretty much the cookie-cutter of the prior series' commander villains. Lansdale does descriptive work with more gritty, albeit grizzly, details than his predecessors. The harsh treatment is depicted with no holds barred. The snake scene left me disgusted to say the least. 

Our non-profit heroes are meeting by the river to scrape on some black goo and waterpoof the goods. There they find that Jackie has joined them in full fatigues and combat get-up. She's ready for a fight. Hog loses his shit and he ain't gonna fight side-by-side with no snatchy snatch. But once Jackie proves she can shoot straight and ride a horse...Hell old Hog is fine with it. Fast forward past the near drowning, the snake viper fight (second book in a row that has Stone vs Snake by the way) and we are in the middle of a Jean Claude Van-Damne tournament fighter movie. Let's delve...

Po's brother is a fat brute named Tho. Get it? Po and Tho? C'mon...you gotta at least smirk at it. That shit's funny. Turns out Tho likes to duke it out and squash people half his size. Po has a giant battleground pit inside the IRPN and throws prisoners in for Tho to digest. Tho kills off three guys at once, which proves that a Hog vs Tho contest is sooooo on. But before that Winslow knows that he is the next food for Tho's ghastly combat diet. He wants to break out on the same night Stone wants to break in. How about them apples?

Winslow's break-out attempt is quickly squashed by Po and the two square off in a deadly torture session. Before Winslow expires Stone blows the damn gate off and our boys (and girl) are ready to machine gun it up. The group lights up the M-60 guard towers and soon this book comes down to the meat and potatoes. HOG VS THO! The two have an epic slobber-knocker for a full chapter. Hog wins. Texas wins. Lansdale wins. Tho dies. Po dies. Our heroes have won book three. How do they get back to the US? Where does Winslow go? Can he get back into the country? These are all excellent questions that the "M.I.A. Hunter" series never has time to answer.

End result? Lansdale creates a gritty and uber-violent tale that shows Stone doing what he does best. Shooting snakes and Cong with CAR-15s (those are Colt AR-15s for the newbies). That's what we came for, right? 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

PHOENIX #02 - GROUND ZERO

 "Phoenix 2: Ground Zero". 1987. Leisure. This is absolutely the worst piece of shit that has ever existed. We're talking 1994 Tonya Harding knee assault kinda shit. Author David Alexander...oh the horror you have brought to the people. The horror! I love this stuff. I can't get enough of it. But "Phoenix"? Oh Dear God, where do I even start?

Remember the first book? Shit, I don't either but let's do the quick recap to get newbies up the on feces-storm that is book two. Phoenix (real name Magnus Trench) is currently an attorney, formerly a Vietnam vet bad-ass and is vacationing alone in California when the US goes total Nuke-soup. He survives because he has goes into a cave to avoid the bomb, radiation and this strange Russian virus they have plagued Earth with. Not sure why the teacher had us climbing under our desks for nuke drills. We should have found a damn cave to practice in! His wife and son are on the East coast so Phoenix is out to search for them across the American wasteland. He makes it into LA where he learns that only after 3 months since the nuke that the entire US military is gone. So are the cops and all semblance of law and order. Instead factions have arose and most people have dropped their first and last names and gone with cool monikers like "Uber Ballsack" or "Banana Dick". Magnus Trench becomes PHOENIX. Phoenix learns there are the Contams, folks that have the Russian viral shit. He also learns there is a New World Order called SCORF. He finds he is immune to the virus and a target for SCORF. They don't like all this immunity cock and balls and want him deader than Prince. That's pretty much the bullshit that made up the first book. Next pile of poo is book two. 

Phoenix and teen prostitute September Song part ways somewhere between LA and Las Vegas, leaving Phoenix in a little town called Trinity in the opening pages. He gets into a gun fight with some dudes and gets his ass saved by a midget named Big Wally. Adorable. Big Wally and Phoenix head into Las Vegas where the Sheik runs the show and controls EVERYTHING. You don't crap unless the Sheik okays it. Got it? Good. 


I love how Phoenix can walk into a shop and they just hand him awesome guns and loads upon loads of ammo. For God's sake it's the end of the world. No one rides for free...except Magnus Trench. He gets everything for free because he survived the bomb in a cave. It turns out that it's Murder Weekend or something in Las Vegas. The Sheik has his road games where contestants battle in fast cars toting huge guns. I called it "Death Race 2000". It's only a matter of time before our boy Trench gets to meet The Sheik. The Sheik needs a new contestant to represent his faction so Trench gets a sweeeeet ride called Death Wings...because everything has to have an awesome name. Guess what else Trench gets? For free? Sluts. Lots of them. For free. And food. And showers. And lodging.

After the hanky panky jazz, and there is A LOT, Phoenix enters the death race thingy and of course he can outrun everyone. He mops the track up with the clowns and then notices all of these troops and planes trying to shoot him down. TRYING. Guess what? Phoenix goes about 120MPH and then hits his nitrogen and jumps out of the race track using a well placed ramp. Convenience and total bad-assery. Did I mention that over the weekend SCORF went out and found 6 of Cobra's most vile villains to take out Phoenix. Yeah, in a weekend they found these goons, trained them and brought them in to kill Phoenix. I wonder if they had weighed in at the end to determine the biggest loser? Okay while those goons are training to take out the Phoenix....

Phoenix is outrunning a fighter jet in a car. Yep. He ends up wrecking and falling into another damn cave. Here's where the shit really gets crazy. You ain't seen nothing yet Junior. Inside the cave is a sex cult! Literally humpin-and-a-grindin. All day. All night. Why? Well they have this theory that if they talk in proverbs, use one word names (even in a cave they know this is obligatory) and screw the living shit out of each other then they can escape Earth during orgasm. I'm gonna stop right there and let you re-read that again....

Okay? Okay.

At one point Phoenix watches the ultimate of orgies go down and, in his infinite wisdom, asks when it can be his turn. I mean the dude has plowed his way through Vegas broads and that was only yesterday for God's sake. Well, leave it to a bunch of cave orcs to ruin a good orgy. They show up and start hauling the bimbos and penis wielders into the bowels of the Earth where they eat them. So Phoenix quickly learns that he is going to have to get the F outta the caves and forget all this Peter North bullshit. He's gotta go to the surface and fight it out with SCORF. Orcs or SCORF? No whammies, no whammies, c'mon....no whammies.

Phoenix using a small arsenal meets the SCORF baddies in an abandoned western styled town and takes them out. But SCORF's head honcho is there with a surprise and Phoenix is taken into his custody. 

David Alexander. Oh, oh, oh. You shit the bed. Big time. I am assuming this is comedy, it has to be right? But it isn't "Spaceballs" funny. It's just...simply awful at best. It's porn. Like not even the good kind. I mean every single male character is essentially running around with massive swollen man-sticks and ramming it in every female orifice. It's 16 year old stuff. It's gun porn too. But again, not a very good one. Get this...

"Autofire chattered as Trench hit the deck narrowly avoiding the brace of 7.56mm flesh-shredders that whizzed overhead from the chattering Steyr AUG .223 submachine gun."

If you don't know guns, .223 is the caliber of the Steyr AUG firearm. It shoots .223 bullets or what they refer to as NATO rounds in .556. It's your modern day AR-15. Very common. Yet the author mixes two different calibers together in describing the firearm. The 7.56 he is describing is essentially the .32ACP. It could be he was confused and was "shooting" for a 7.62mm style in .308. Either way it screwed the pooch. He does it again when talking about the JATI SMG piece. In most pages he has it shooting 9MM, which is what it is chambered for. But on page 185 he describes to the reader how it is chambered in .45ACP. Good God man! Your firearms aren't even accurate. 

If you are looking for all volumes of this series you can purchase them in digital format at Amazon. You owe it to yourself to at least pick the whole series up for $10 and just poke fun at what is essentially some of the worst fiction ever created. You buy. You buy now!




Friday, December 2, 2016

M.I.A HUNTER #02 - CAMBODIAN HELLHOLE

That old bear Jack Buchanan is back at it again. Buchanan, real name Stephen Mertz, brings us flush with the old glory hole itself - CAMBODIAN HELLHOLE (let "Second in the Explosive New Series" ring out an epic crescendo!). What's our favorite M.I.A. Hunter doing these days? Well shit, he's sucking soggy rice off his thumb in a bamboo cage in the middle of freakin' nowhere. What!?!

Okay. Back up. Let's break it down like Steve Stone calling an 80s Cubs game. Dang now that was a Stone with some balls. Remember that time he said relief pitcher Latroy Hawkins forgot to bring home plate with him from the bullpen? Or was that Chip Carey. Shit I can't remember. But that was ape shit funny. This isn't. Seriously. 

It's 1971 in South Vietnam and our boy Sergeant Mark Stone is out on patrol in the green slimy filth hunting some Cong. AK fire rips up the night and shreds the silence like a fat ass cleaver. Stone guns 'em down but almost gets killed in the process. Who's there to fetch his tail from the hot winds of Hell? His drinking buddy and RTO SP4 Jess Lynch. After Lynch saves Stone's ass he tells him "You owe me one". Later it is presumed that Lynch is killed in action and a letter is sent to his family from Uncle Sam. 

Fast forward to present day 1985 and Motley Crue has "Theatre of Pain" on the charts. That doesn't matter. Instead Stone is on a mission with his guys Hog Wiley and Terrance Loughlin to free some prisoners. Instead Stone royally screws up and damned if he don't kill every freakin' prisoner in an explosion. I hate when that crap happens at work. Stone, down and depressed about totally pooping in the tent, is in Bangkok doing a little business...GUN BUSINESS...mister. He gets a visit from a deep CIA guy named Carruthers who forces Stone to a house in the city. By force I mean "come with me or we will shoot your face off". Stone fights back and then eventually goes with the goons. 

At the house he finds that the CIA operatives are keeping a US prisoner of war on a dirty cot, malnourished and dying. The prisoner escaped his jungle Hell after thirteen plus years and was picked up. The CIA has no intention of helping the guy and don't want to admit to a US public that they dropped the ball on guys left behind. The prisoner tells Stone that Jess Lynch is still alive and is being held captive in Cambodia. This makes Stone furious...obviously...and he has quite the little skirmish with Carruthers and his men. Fast forward a day and Stone is picking up guns and supplies from his dealer and ready to hit the jungle for a shoot'em up. Carruthers gets in the way and Stone runs him off the road and into a truckload of horseshit...wait that was "Back to the Future 2"...but he does run him off the road and escapes.


Stone, Hog, Lough and a handful of mercenaries for hire are in Cambodia outside the camp where Lynch is being held along with twenty or more US P.O.W.s. Like seriously where does Stone get all this money? I checked Gander Mountain and C4 is outrageously expensive. We know Stone does some private investigating but he ain't making this kinda cabbage nabbing photos of future ex's doing the nasty. Instead of doing some more surveillance work and having an actual plan Stone decides to approach the camp and - get this - crawl through a sewer pipe and enter the camp stinkin' to high Heavens. It almost works. After slicing the head off a King Cobra with a knife he manages to walk right up to the cages and get captured by the enemy. What's with all this "Cambodian Hellhole" talk? Well Stone is about to find out. 

Our boy gets hung up like a bat and then gets the bat treatment. This ain't no rat with wings. Stone gets clubbed almost to death while the commander, Nguyen Ngu, goes on and on about confessing his real reasoning for entering the camp. Stone refuses to break so they light his foot on fire with a Zippo! Ouch. Stone gets dropped in a cage next to his old buddy Jess Lynch, who looks and sounds like he is approaching death's door. If a good nightly beating isn't enough, Stone awakens to find that all the prisoners including himself are going into the mines to dig for gold all freakin' day. That's what I love to do on my day off. Eat soggy rice, succumb to a hefty beating and then go lug rocks out of a dark cave for twelve hours. Geez. 

Alright, enough's enough. Hog and Lough plan the attack perfectly, blow the bridge and bring Hellish fire and thunder onto the camp. Stone kills off King Baddie and mostly all the prisoners are freed. Greyhound is running late so Stone tells them to walk their asses out of Cambodia - and that's just what they did. But before we close this...check this scene out. Lynch has his longtime torturer gutshot on the ground...

"Lynch forced the heated muzzle of his AK-47 between those skinny lips, his finger tightening on the trigger. He gave Needledick twenty rounds of mercy, shattering his skull and spewing bloody fragments of his brain in every direction."

TWENTY ROUNDS in the mouth. Whoa. Like that's heavy dude. You don't read that stuff everyday. 

"Cambodian Hellhole" was a decent read, plenty of action at the beginning, a short nod off in the middle but finished up with a solid ten pages of kill 'em all. Throw the snake in there, that CIA bullshit and a Zippo to the foot and you've got the makings of a real slobber knocker here.