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.