Thursday, September 12, 2013

They Call Me the Mercenary 2: The Slaughter Run

They Call Me the Mercenary 2: The Slaughter Run
Axel Kilgore (aka Jerry Ahern)
Zebra Books 1980

"Assassination in the Swiss Alps...terrorism in the Central Americana jungle...treachery in Washington...and Hank Frost right in the middle! The wise-cracking mercenary captain is up to his eyepatch in brutal violence, torture, and betrayal. There's the presidential bodyguard force he'd be a fool to trust; the fighting right-wing general whose republic is aflame with revolt; his seductive wife who'll have Frost as her lover—or have Frost dead; and the Communist Terrorist Army that's out for a final bloodbath!"
Hank Frost is the mercenary that they call the mercenary. The second volume opens straight into the action with Frost fleeing from assassins in the Swiss Alps. From there he's coerced by the State Department to protect the military dictator of the fictional Central American country of Monte Azul. The dictator is one of the good guys.

Monte Azul is overrun by communist terrorists, and the US won't give them arms unless they restore civil rights. This is a bad thing. Frost protects the dictator because he believes he is necessary in the fight against international communism. He also has strong feelings of personal loyalty to the man, going so far as to say he may love him, in a totally not gay way. He expresses this devotion by banging the dictator's wife and young daughter, giving him a heart attack. This is what the good guy does.

Frost protects the dictator as he goes around dictating, and does a horrible job trying to make us believe that he's a good guy at heart. In one scene he is shocked to find that the children of a village are starving, and that his close friend and military underling has not been distributing supplies. Imagine that, in a military junta with no accountability. The dictator swiftly creates a civil buearcracy to handle the job with a system of checks and balances and begins the process of free elections.

Of course not. He executes the traitors without trial and the children are promptly forgotten about. Remember, we are somehow supposed to like this man and not sympathize with the rebels who are trying to overthrow him.

Pretty soon the inevitable happens and Frost is forced to flee the country with the dictator, all of his family members that he's porking, and members of the US embassy. The second half of the book is a chase across the country in an antique steam train. There is a brief detour involving big corporations who want world peace at any price, that price being handing Mexico over to Russia and having homosexuals touch Frost's testicles. It's really not as weird or cool as it sounds, and just seems to be shoe-horned in to give us a reason to dislike the government beuracrats who otherwise seem completely reasonable.

This is a Jerry Ahern book, his second as far as I can tell. Solid, well written action that never really pushes the WTF barrier enough to be really fruitful. The characterizations are more blah here than in the Defender or Survivalist series, with the closest thing to a personality being that Frost makes jokes about his eyepatch. Jerry Ahern is a man who writes entire books about handgun holsters. He is not known for his wit, and Frost's quips regularly fall flat.

The dedication is to Death Merchant author Joseph Rosenberger. "The Professor's Been Paid, My Friend"

No comments:

Post a Comment