Friday, August 3, 2018

The Terminator #02 - Silicon Valley Slaughter

Dennis Rodriguez, writing as John Quinn, produced a six-book series in the 80s called 'The Terminator'. With fonts, layouts and story design, it attempted to capitalize on Pinnacle's success with the superior 'The Executioner'. Whether it was successful or not remains to be seen, but judging from its limited run, I assume Rodriguez and 'The Terminator' met a bitter end.

The second entry in the series, “Silicon Valley Slaughter”, was released in 1983 and is set a few months after the debut events. Former CIA hitman Rod Gavin is now laying low, unemployed and living off of his savings in rural Colorado. He's still close friends with Dorn, an older mechanic colleague that assisted Gavin in the prior novel. Also Duffy, the NSA operative from the debut, once again aligns with Gavin to right a few wrongs – namely the kidnapping of Duffy's niece by the dastardly Yakuza, otherwise known as the Japanese mafia. 

The book opens with a killer named Shigata killing off the paid surveillance on Susan Billings, Duffy's niece and master computer programmer. We learn that both Shigata and another killer named Scanlon work for Clayton Edwards, a technology mogul who has a two-part plan to become wealthy, travel abroad and rape children. First, he has Billings kidnapped and her new coding on an encryption software will be sold to the highest global bidder. Second, he will then sell Billings to the Japanese for the sex slave trafficing. The problem is that Duffy, on a random visit to Billings, stumbles on the kidnapping taking place. Shigata and Scanlon rough up Duffy and leave him for dead – but not dead. Big mistake.

Gavin is now on the scene to find out what happened to Duffy and where Billings is being held. The action comes in waves beginning with Gavin throwing Edwards' thugs out of a hospital window, then running and gunning through an arcade to find where Billings is at. There's a partnership with Dorn that isn't necessarily expanded on, but provides a decent side-step to the action. There's an interesting scene where Edwards is controlling a robot aimed at stopping Gavin in a hallway...but the author drops the ball and that enjoyable conflict never comes to fruition. Oddly, for Gavin to be this impressive ex-CIA hitman, he manages to screw up repeatedly and eventually gets caught. Instead of a quick execution, the thugs just drive Gavin around in a van and eventually the tables are turned. 

While nowhere near as good as the series debut, “Silicon Valley Slaughter” is an enjoyable, par for the course 80s action novel. It's nothing special, but certainly can hold its own in the crowded vigilante market. I've read zillions of these things and at this point, I would pick up the next series entry with no qualms. 'The Terminator' is up there with the mid-era Bolans, Able Team, Phoenix Force, etc. Good guy vs baddies to prevent rape and ruin. I'll take it any day and twice on Tuesday.

Note - The cover is by Bruce Minney, a talented artist who contributed immensely to Men's Action & Adventure magazines. Paperback Warrior friend Bob Deis conducted an interview with Minney in 2011: https://bit.ly/2K2rCEE.