Monday, July 19, 2010

Review of Nick Carter Killmaster 188: Death Island

Although there were reportedly 261 Nick Carter: Killmaster novels published between 1964 and 1990, I only have five, and they go from 188 to 236. As far as I'm aware, this puts the Killmaster novels at the second most prolific of the Post-Modern Pulp series, after the Mack Bolan Executioner novels (which are still being published today). One of the constant used book store "to-dos" in the back of my mind is to always look for more Killmaster novels, along with Death Merchant, The Butcher, The Guardians, and The Survivalist.

To get you caught up, if you have no idea what the Killmaster series is about, here's the Wikipedia article on the series.

Now that you're all caught up, back to Death Island. Nick Carter is called out to an island chain in the South Pacific because, literally, the natives are restless. An American satellite tracking and receiving station (which is also serving as an intel center for intelligence agencies) located on a French-controlled island is under continued assaults from the locals, and because of nearby Chinese influences, the possibility that they are stirring up the locals means Nick Carter must go in and investigate, before the station's American-born civilian workers revolt and demand to leave the island.

Carter shows up on the island, and just a few hours later, someone's trying to shoot him while he's enjoying a nice cocktail on the balcony of the local hotel where he's staying for the evening. A few hours later, he's crashed a party at the home of the French governor of the islands, who is so obviously a villainous scumbag it's almost laughable (no, wait, it IS laughable). Of course, the scumbag governor has a smoking hot exotic Euro-wife who, after five minutes of talking to Carter, wants to have crazy hot tropical sex with him. A few hours after that, he's in a firefight back at the base, capping the locals with his Luger. A few hours after THAT, and he's having crazy hot tropical sex with the Governor's wife - and of course, she's never had it so good.

From here on, there's helicopter flights, rampaging natives, a secret base, some good old fashioned post-modern pulp techno-wizardry, some submarine skullduggery, and a lot of shooting, stabbing, 'splosions, and running, boating, and flying around some tropical islands. There's only the one sex scene, which is good, because it's actually really awkward. The author is hinting at this and that, but trying to not be explicit at the same time. How exactly one can be "gentlemanly" about your character going down on a woman, but not actually SAYING you're going down on a woman, is beyond me. Either just cowboy up and give all the details, or take it behind a closed door (more about this when I get around to reviewing The Specialist series...).

As for a body count, I wasn't keeping track of Carter's kills, but I'd guesstimate it around two dozen, not counting deaths from explosions that more or less happen off-screen. I do like to see the main character still using a Luger in 1984 despite there being other, more "modern" or "tactical" pistols by that time, such as the Beretta 92F or CZ-75. Eight rounds of 9mm isn't a lot, but Carter is (of course) a phenomenal shot. I've handled a Luger before and while I haven't fired one, I've seen one fired, and although it is an accurate pistol, the weapon's light barrel moves its center of gravity so far back that rapid, accurate fire seems extremely difficult, as the muzzle has almost nothing keeping it weighed down. Considering the number of times Carter fires three or four rounds and drops two or three bad guys, it's no wonder he never uses anything else if he can help it; he's a past-master with the pistol.

I'll have another Killmaster review along sooner or later; next up in book reviews will be another Death Merchant novel...

4 comments:

Hank Brown said...

Reading your (amusing) summary of this one reminded me of an out-of-print novel you should pick up if you ever get the chance. Jim Morris is known as a non-fiction writer, but he got a military adventure (with sci-fi flavor) published in the late '80s, called Breeder. It's really takes the invincible stud action hero to lampoon extremes...and yet was thoroughly enjoyable. I think it's the only fiction he ever published because it probably didn't sell well--bad timing, maybe.

J. E. Badelaire said...

"Breeder" - hah! Brilliant. I may have to track this one down for entertainment purposes if for no other reason.

Scott said...

I read that book when it first came out. I have been starting with the first Nick Carter adventure in 1964 and going forth, small sort of review and cover scan in my blog http://suspenseandmystery.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Nick Carter has been around in one form or another since (I think) the early 1900s. Somewhere I have a centennial trilogy that had one of the original stories bundled in with some newer ones. They went from third person to first person and (I think) back again. Odd series in a way.