The 'Roadblaster' debut is called "Hell Ride". It's filth was released to the masses in 1987 via Leisure's "Adventure" line. I believe there are a total of four books in the series and I am searching high and low for the other three. The author is Paul Hofrichter and I'm sure that isn't a house name but it damn well should be. Of course the series is yet another 80s entry in the "Soviets nuked America" formula ('The Last Ranger', 'Out Of The Ashes', 'Phoenix'). This one was supposed to center around a one word hero named Stack and his mechanical abilities.
80s action heroes need guns, bullets and babes. Stack has none of these. In fact, Stack has no skills whatsoever, runs from action and is a complete loser. But more on that in a minute.
Let's start with the cover. It shows us some sort of science fiction/fantasy scenes of a hero in some sort of shoulder padded cloak complete with a gold coin badge and bullet belt.That hero is not in this book. There are no cloaks, shoulder pads, bullet belts or gold coin badges. Our hero Stack...the Roadblaster...has jeans and a t-shirt and his gold coin badge is a taxi driver's license. Yes. The motorcycle gang on the cover wearing cloaks, American Gladiator apparel and battle helmets is not in this book. Our criminals are your normal Mel's Bar & Grill variety that shoot pool, chase broads and happen to ride motorcycles. There is a B-52 bomber on the cover and...oddly that is in this book.
The novel begins with a guy named Stack. He is in northern California doing a little hunting on vacation. His wife and three kids are in New York holding down the fort while he is trampling about. From a mountain side Stack witnesses the mushroom clouds of doom and realizes the Soviets have nuked most of California. Oddly enough he doesn't panic...certainly the idea of his family being killed by bombs had to cross his mind but instead he makes his way into Fresno picking up a few survivors along the way. Once this is established the book completely switches gears and now tells us all about a small Airforce team flying over the Pacific in a B-52 with nukes ready to drop on the Soviet Union. They have engine trouble and are forced to land in California with a belly full of armed death. After sixty plus pages of Stack's story we now get fifty pages of B-52 engine failure. Where the Hell is this Roadblaster versus motorcycle psychos alluded to in the synopsis?
Oddly the next introduction we get...as if we needed another...is about a motorcycle gang that just happens to be cruising around looking for a town to take over. I am not making this up...the gang is called The Bloodsuckers and the member names are:
San Quentin Sal
Ivan The Terrible
The Bloodsuckers get about twenty pages or so before we switch back to Stack. He picks up a fifteen year old girl named Rayisa and drives to a small town for food and shelter. He hangs out in his van...eats, sleeps and makes mindless chatter with the band of survivors. You know...heroes named Stack do these kinds of things in action adventure novels. In one of the more ridiculous scenes, The Bloodsuckers decide that the small town of Vista Royale is perfect for an orgy. They roll into town and start shooting and raping all of it's citizens. The small band of survivors decide they will go out and liberate the town and push out the bikers. They go to Stack and tell him about the situation and that basically The Bloodsuckers are running a train on Vista Royale's women and they need to be stopped. They ask if he can join them. His response?
"No thanks. I've had a day and night I won't forget if I live to be a hundred. Good luck with everything."
Good luck with everything?!? A town is being raped in post apocalyptic Hell and this guy is going back to his van to lay down? What? His wife and kids are possibly dead in New York and he is taking catnaps down by the river? So, needless to say the survivors pounce on the town, get annihilated and retreat back to the safe zone. They return to town and stir Stack into saying this to the Sheriff...
"Sorry about what happened. I took a nap in my van, but all the commotion as your people came back into town woke me. What I want to say is that if you need my help in the future feel free to call on me".
Priceless man. Just priceless.
At one point one of the survivor's asked Stack if he knows anything about nuclear radiation cures. His response...
"I'm no doctor. Maybe home remedies. I don't know."
Home remedies for radiation sickness? Really. Really?
We read a few more despicable aspects of The Bloodsucker's reign in Vista Royale. Apparently only 24 hours removed from a nuclear war the only thing to do is to take over a small town and have pizza, beer and sex in various houses on Main Street. The gang fight a little with each other but none can really speak in complete sentences and resemble something more akin to 'Hills Have Eyes' than the roving motorcycle gang they should be. The survivors in the mountain decide Stack, of all people, will lead their next attempt at reclaiming the town. Apparently his naps in the van and ridiculous dialogue is enough to render him the only capable leader. Oh and this awesome conversation...
Sheriff: "Have you got weapons?"
Stack: "A Savage 99F hunting rifle that holds a five-bullet clip plus additional ammunition and various knives."
That spark of wisdom leads the Sheriff to ask:
"Have you had commando training?"
Stack says "I was in the National Guard and took commando courses".
What in God's name are commando courses? Is there some branch of our military that teaches Commando? Speaks Commando? Performs Commando? What is a Commando Course? Because of Stack's great commando skills he leads the assault and loses fifteen year old Rayisa to the gang. As he prowls around from house to house he sees his new "daughter" figure stripped naked and being whipped to oblivion with a leather strap. In her cries of pain she stops to ask the gang why they are whipping her and "she has never been whipped like this before". As if whipping a fifteen year old girl's bare back and buttocks spread eagle is just a normal Friday night. But this whipping is something really different. What does Stack do? He watches the whole thing and does nothing. He must have learned this in his commando courses.
Soon the battle spreads out and the motorcycle gang finds out a B-52 filled with nukes is just a few miles away. If they can get their hands on the nukes then they can have sex with most of the country's survivors. In a final battle scene, Stack really does nothing, asks for a lot of assistance from the town and survivors and eventually lets two of the gang members escape.
Wow...all of that came from this back cover synopsis:
"One man stood out like a tracer round in the night sky. His name was Stack and his skills at staying alive made his mechanical wizardry even more valuable. Tough, dangerous and ruthless, he could build or repair any piece of machinery ever made. And in a world where cars and gasoline were worth far more than human lives Stack could name his own price."
Does that synopsis sound like a different book? Stack has no mechanical wizardry other than driving a van and sleeping. He doesn't build or repair anything after the bombs fall. How could gasoline and cars be worth that much? Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. The worst piece of trash ever written and one that will go down in the "Hall Of Shame". I desperately need to pick up the other books to see how our hero evolves in a world gone bad.