THE OUTRIDER #5 BUILT TO KILL BY RICHARD HARDING

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Leather the leader of the Slavestates is in one of his foul moods. He’s lost a lot of supply convoys to the raiders in Chicago. When Leather is in a foul mood he usually kills some of his flunkies. The flunky a tax general that had the misfortune to delivery the bad news thinks fast. He suggests that Chicago should be eliminated.

This gets Leather to thinking of grand dreams of conquest and an eventual alliance is formed with the other two feudal states to wipe out Chicago. Leather kidnaps Lucky the best mechanic in Chicago to build him three fearsome war machines.

Bonner learns of Leather’s plans and rallies the free citizens of Chicago for a final confrontation with the forces of evil. Thanks to Lucky’s betrayal and self-sacrifice the war machines are destroyed and the alliance doomed. Bonner chases Leather and shoots him in the head. It ends with him picking up his girl and riding off into the sunset.

The final book in the Outrider series. There was a notice at the end for the next in the series called Black Death. Unfortunately Pinnacle books went bankrupt and Black Death was never released. I always wondered about that book. I found recently on an Amazon review that some enterprising man actually tracked down the author and asked. The sixth book was never written. I always will wonder where Black Death would have taken the saga. If the author by some whim comes across this please send me a short message on the plot.

Otherwise I am content to imagine an ending. The series ended with closure. Leather and the other thugs that ruled the continent got their just rewards. I like to think Bonner took his girl and went off to find the inhabitants of Almost Normal from book three. Settled down and raised a family. Good ending.

Final thoughts on this series. Obviously this was never going to go down in history with Shakespeare, Hemingway and Twain. It was a series that was commissioned to take advantage of the post-apocalypse craze of the 80’s. The author was hired to crank out books and did his job well. The characters are over the top and the plots are improbable at best.

Still I really like it. As a young teenage boy in Nevada it gave me hours of escapist joy. I devoured book series like this and if you stick with this blog you’ll learn about many more. Rereading these books brought me back to those carefree days. I think that’s all you can ever ask from any book. That it entertains and gives pleasant memories.

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