Sunday, June 15, 2014

Last Ranger #03 - Madman's Mansion

"The Madman's Mansion" is the third entry of this post-apocalyptic series of bullets and bravado. This was released in 1986 via Popular Library among the hysteria of the pending nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Those of you that have read my previous blog entries have already read my review of the first two books of this series. The premise is pretty simple - Stone was trained by his now deceased father, a highly experienced US Army Ranger. Stone's mother died in a post-nuclear battle with marauders and his sister was kidnapped. Stone was left with a pit bull named Excalibur, enough firepower and ammo to take out North Korea and a purpose to locate his sister. Along with the guns, martial arts training and "survival" education is a motorcyle that is armed with missiles. 'Streethawk', anyone?

I really enjoyed the first two issues of the series. "Madman's Mansion" is a continuation of the story that book two, "Savage Stronghold", presented. Stone's sister April has been kidnapped by a wheelchair bound dwarf and taken to a Colorado ski-resort that is filled with baddies. These aren't just your normal 'Mad Max'' hooligans, instead these are the baddest of the bad that are up to all kinds of tom foolery. This resort is filled with sex, bondage, slaves, drugs, gambling and gladiator bouts.

The beginning of the book gives us a worn out Stone on his way back to his secret mountainside fortress to sleep, eat and reload. From there, he travels by motorcycle through back roads of Colorado wilderness on a trek to the ski resort. He stops for the night in a small town and engages in the obligatory game of cards that results in a few dead cheaters and a friendship with a traveling salesman named Kennedy. He explains to Kennedy that he is going to the resort and of course Kennedy is going there too. Apparently this traveling vagabond puts on a Christmas show in the resort every year and he can get Stone inside using a disguise. I am just guessing here...but baddies that are engaging in gambling, snorting and humping debauchery probably won't take the time to watch Mr. Kennedy's Christmas play...but maybe that is just foolish thinking. 

Once inside Stone penetrates a blonde bombshell in Chapter Fifteen and finds his sister being sold into sex slavery. He bids on her and wins but soon the disguise fails and the dwarf captures Stone. He then forces our hero into a water filled dungeon filled with snakes, giant roaches and killer rats. Conan couldn't escape this kind of nonsense, but Stone manages to free himself. The book comes to an abrupt end as Stone is left with a truckload of whores while Kennedy and April are somewhere in the vast wilderness waiting for Stone to rescue them in book four.

Jan Stacy is clearly having a ton of fun writing this stuff. His enjoyment absolutely conveys to the reader. "The Madman's Mansion" is the perfect example of why this sub-genre of action and adventure is so appealing. This post-nuke style is wide open and allows the author complete freedom to just run wild with it. No rules, regulations or restraints. This book is an absolute blast. 

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