Robert Tine’s ‘Outrider’ series comes to a premature ending with book five, “Built to Kill”. Genre fans hold the series in high regard – keeping in mind that it’s a fun, senseless ride that doesn’t convey any realism or seriousness. It’s 80s post-nuke fiction with all of the characteristics or stereotypes that go with it. The publisher, Pinnacle, was sold shortly after this book’s release in 1985, bringing to a halt the series with a promised book six (pictured below) never reaching fruition. Regardless, this closing chapter has a great makeshift ending that wraps up storylines and characters from the past four novels. I’m extremely satisfied with calling this book the ultimate finale.
Each of the past four novels had our hero Bonner battling marauders, gangs and tyrants in each of North American’s new territories – Slavestates, Hotstates and Snowstates. Chicago, where Bonner and other loners live, has always been a neutral city surrounded by dried up lake Michigan. It’s a hard area to attack, made even more difficult with the amount of firepower possessed by these loners and renegades. However, arch enemy Leatherman poses a scheme to align the territorial leaders into a collective combat force to take Chicago. It sounds awesome on paper…but realistically we just know Leatherman plans to eliminate everyone but his own forces. He wants to rule the whole continent and thinks the downfall of Chicago will be the best opportunity.
The author brings in all of the familiar characters of the series – Beck, Bonner, The Means, Clara, Lucky and even a surprise visit from a guy named Starling. At times it’s intentionally humorous and I found myself laughing out loud at the antics of Starling and Beck. Lucky actually plays a big part in the book, moving him from under the hood to a spot in the front seat. I always liked the character and it was really entertaining to see more of him. From an action stance, the novel does spend a lot of time setting up what is essentially a 10-page fight. I thought the inevitable confrontation between Leatherman and Bonner was more fizzle than spark. The book could have been fleshed out with a little more action but publishing and time restraints probably limited the author’s creative force. Overall, this series was highly entertaining and closed out perfectly in my opinion. Grab copies of these books and keep them safe and dry. Pass them on down the line and let the next generation explore this wacky and wild genre we know and love.
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Hi- I really appreciate you posting this. I'd read the series in my teens and when the internet made it easier to find people (and books) I was annoyed to find #6 on Amazon but with no way to order it. Somehow, I figured out that Richard Harding was an alias for a "movie novelist" named Robert Tine. I was able to call Tine one day as I happened to find a New York City phone number and tried it. You can read my reviews of #1 and #6 on Amazon. I was trying to help people find out that the series did indeed end–not necessarily trying to help people find Tine. For the first time since I've been on Amazon, a reader sent me an email. He asked if I had tried to ask Tine what the possible plot line for "Black Death" might have been. Unfortunately, I didn't think to ask Tine more than a few questions. I think he was as surprised as I was to find his direct line.ReplyDelete
I will check out your site. I'd read other books in that era like "Traveler" and "Doomsday Warrior". They got be a little "trippy" for me. It's funny to see audiobooks of Deathlands in truck stops today.
This was extremely gratifying to read. I am in fact Richard Harding/Robert Tine's son. He died last March and would have been so pleased to know that there were still fans out there reading and enjoying these books. If you'd like to strike up a correspondence or have any questions please get in touch. I'd love to hear from you.ReplyDelete
My email is firstname.lastname@example.orgReplyDelete