Friday, July 29, 2016

Last Ranger #04 - Rabid Brigadier

"The Rabid Brigadier" from Craig Sargent, real name Jan Stacy, continues the wasteland survival tale of the badass, barrel-chested Martin Stone. The book released in 1987 by Popular Library and is the fourth of ten books that fall under the 'The Last Ranger' series. Will it live up to the high-octane thrill ride of the first three entries? 

By 1987 Jan Stacy had completed the first four books of the 'Doomsday Warrior' series, co-written by John Sievert, and had 'The Last Ranger' series on his plate full-time by '87. Sadly, Stacy died from the AIDS virus in 1989 and I often wonder if his diagnosis this late may have had some impact on his writing style. This book is shoddily crafted and doesn't resonate with the same attention to detail that the series' first entries had. While the book is entertaining and continues the epic journey of Martin Stone, it leaves the reader with wanting a bit more out of this by book four. 

The novel picks up right after the events of the third book - remember dwarves, big Colorado fortress, huge explosion and the truckload of whores? Yeah, Stone gets buried in an avalanche of debris and wakes up to bodies everywhere. He gets his bearings, waylays some biker scum and finds his dog Excalibur. 
An injured water-logged Stone gets picked up by a new military force called N.A.A. - New American Army. They have little patches on their uniforms of two M-16s crossing the US flag that notates they are mutant killing baddies off to cleanse the world and create a new order. Stone befriends them at first and later finds they are indeed fascist bullies controlled by an arch enemy in the making called General Patton III. 

Stone gets invited to their camp and immediately gets tended to his groin by nurse Elizabeth. You can pretty much gather that any female characters that show up in 'The Last Ranger' series is really just fodder for a page or two of lovemaking. After that, Stone is all better and physically fit to join Patton's ranks as Major. But it doesn't last long as Stone eventually finds that Patton is in league with the devil and hopes to baptize the world with nuclear fire - three nuclear warhead launch sites are revealed. Stone stops one missile from being detonated by shooting it out of the sky with an anti-aircraft rocket. But, the General escapes and Stone sets out with his new buddies and three tanks. 

Unfortunately, this book really just doesn't do a whole lot overall. Stacy spends a big part of the beginning just showing us Stone nearly drowning and then ultimately being rescued. There's the whole Patton III character but he's rather one-dimensional. The character has no prior military experience, so there's not much to elaborate on in terms of depth or expansion. But, the end promises we haven't seen the end of this maniacal general. End result - obligatory read if you are doing the series chronologically. Otherwise, it's probably a skip on repeated reads.

1 comment:

  1. I remember this one having a strong anti-war vibe, of a Vietnam vintage...whereas Doomsday Warrior seemed to have a "peace through strength" orientation (also probably of a Vietnam vintage)--at least during the parts in the underground cities.