Gold Eagle brought us the fourth volume of Laurence James' 'Deathlands' saga in August of 1987. “Crater Lake” picks up after the happenings of the third book, “Neutron Solstice”. From the hot Mississippi basin, the group entered the redoubt only to emerge in frigid Oregon. It's a return back to the harsh winter elements found in “Red Holocaust”. After a quick hike down the road they come to the bizarre little town of Ginnsburg Falls.
The town is strictly organized into a hierarchy that places women well below social classes. In Ginnsburg Falls, women exist for breeding and slavery. This theme has run rampant in doomsday and prepper fiction so it's nothing too original or innovative. Quickly, series' mainstays Lori and Krysty are placed in holding pens and it's just a matter of time before Ryan fights back. After a stoning ritual, the team manages to escape security and heads into the forbidden north region, a volcanic island called Crater Lake.
The team stumbles on what appears to be another redoubt in an area called the Wizard Island Complex for Scientific Advancement. Essentially, it's a fortified lab that once housed over 1,500 scientists. Cutting themselves off from civilization, the group resulted to inbreeding over the years and now the remaining party is 60 psychos that are hoping to destroy the Earth again. After targeting Jak for research, the team find themselves prisoners on the island with another “escape the bad guys” narrative.
The book is really two story-lines that are very comparable to each other. One, escape Ginnsburg Falls and the second is the island fiasco. There's the prison aspect, a few firefights and an enjoyable adventure to be found, but it's really starting to become redundant and borrowed at this point. I hope the series does improve, but based on this book alone I may be ready to retire early. Of note is a hint of who and where Doc originally came from as well as the death of a major character. No spoilers here.