WAR DOGS #3 BUSTING CAPS BY NIK-UHERNIK

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Copyright 1985.

The War Dogs have decided after their last mission to go to Cambodia after reading about a princess who has problems with Chinese bandits. They make friends with the tribe and rescue the princess’s brother and take out the Chinese bandit leader in the process. Yet the mysterious Mr. Y in the Pentagon finds them and they get their next assignment. The NVA have an interrogation center for POWs next to the Cambodian border. Their mission is to go there and assassinate a recently captured Air Force pilot that was shot down. A strange assignment but the War Dogs don’t question their assignments and proceed to the base. Only they’re ambushed by T-54 tanks. The group escapes except for Chandler. Chandler finds out the Air Force lieutenant is the son of a man he served with in Korea. He died in an assault on Camp Starburst. The son has been searching for his father and found out a traitor defected to the Chinese.

Meanwhile the War Dogs after failing in their mission get another assignment. A Congressman is in Vietnam leading a mission to defeat the opium dealers in Cambodia. In the POW camp Chandler and the lieutenant are rescued by an old mercenary friend of Chandler’s from Africa. The man was posing as an East German interrogation specialist known as The Claw. They manage to escape and it all ends with a confrontation with the Congressman who was the traitor in Korea and the one responsible for trying to silencing the Air Force lieutenant for exposing him.

So this was another wild book in the series. I have to admit that the author has a way of throwing stuff at you that you don’t expect. The prologue that starts in Korea with Chandler and his run in with the sentry that was asleep and triggers the claymores when he is surprised killed the returning patrol. His actions result in the destruction of Camp Starburst. Yet it makes sense at the end. A traitor that’s now a congressman who is funding his campaign with drug money. There is goofiness abounding in the book. A German mercenary looking for a cache of weapons he can steal and impersonating an East German with a mechanical hand. Tanks used by the NVA in 1964 even thought they would be next to useless in the terrain and type of war they were fighting. An Air Force fighter pilot who was only 20. A little too young. All this made it an interesting read.

WAR DOGS #2 M-16 JURY BY NIK-UHERNIK

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Copyright 1985.

The War Dogs are in Bangkok to take out the local Communists who plan to attack the U.S. Embassy. After saving the deputy ambassador its off to Saigon. There the team has to assassinate an Army colonel who is running a white slaving operation on the side. As the team waits around two of the men decide to do a little extracurricular active to supplement their incomes. They kill a notorious drug dealer and steal his money.

June Wanda is a rising singer and movie actress. She is also a notorious Communist who married a prominent Black Panther. She also is a highly outspoken critic of the war. She has just been on a trip to Hanoi. Now she is coming to Saigon and the mysterious Mr. Y in the Pentagon wants her taken out. So the team plans an assassination at the rally she is attending. Only the mortar round they are using is a dude. An exciting car chase with a helicopter involved leads to the team capturing June. They take her to a safe house and torture her on why she is really in Saigon. We find out she is there to deliver $250,000 from a rich Texan to pay off the North Vietnamese to release his POW son an Air Force officer shot down in the north. We find out she is actually an NSA agent who has successfully penetrated the anti-war movement, the Black Panthers and the KGB. Then its found out she is a double agent working for the KGB and funneling secret war plans to the north. A final confrontation at an old French fort outside Saigon ends with the traitor getting her just deserts.

The second book in the series was a fun read. The story moved fast and was filled with plenty of action. I loved the wild twists and turns the story took. What was at first just some hit on a kooky Jane Fonda type celebrity seemed kind of pointless. Then all these wild revelations are revealed and it becomes clear why she was tortured and marked for assassination. The guys also donate most of the money recovered to a local orphanage giving the group with such questionable motives and tactics some redemption at the end. A very solid read.

WAR DOGS BY NIK-UHERNIK

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Copyright 1984.

1963. Lt. Justin Ross and his elite clandestine team are ambushed. They were going to assassinate a cousin of President Diem who is a known Communist sympathizer. The team was betrayed and now all his men are dead. Only the timely intervention of South Vietnamese police save him from certain death. Now Ross has to rebuild the War Dogs. So he gathers a new bunch of individuals he can use. One is a former Korean war vet who was working as a mercenary in Rhodesia. He was caught planning a bank robbery and deported back to the states. Because he faked his death and his wife collected $250,000 in life insurance he has to join or be exposed. A Pueblo, Colorado police officer who beats an arrest subject to death. A seventeen year old from a rich family that ran off and joined the Army. He kills his drill instructor who bullied a friend to suicide. Then a helicopter pilot arrested for smuggling drugs. Finally a Guatemalan prostitute working in New York City. She kills a pimp and the Bronx Basher a serial killer that was targeting prostitutes.

This group is trained to be an elite squad of assassins that clandestinely eliminate enemies of America. Their first assignment is back in Vietnam. They first get the chance to take out an arms dealer who is selling to the VC in Hue. Then they infiltrate the presidential palace to kill the cousin. Only the coup starts against President Diem and they find out their real mission is to assassinate President Diem and his brother Nhu who is head of the secret police. They follow the two through secret underground passages to the cathedral in Cholon where they shoot both of them.

So my tradition to read a Vietnam war book for the holidays I started this new series. The first book is an extra length one at over 400 pages long. This was a common practice for Zebra when starting a new series for the first book to be extra long to establish the characters and world. The book definitely does this for the first half, except for the prologue doesn’t even take place in Vietnam. Instead it skips all over the world for Rhodesia, New York City, Pueblo, Florida Everglades, and Panama. We get backstories to all the team members and why they are in the War Dogs. The ending actually involved real world events. President Diem and his brother did escape to the Cholon cathedral using underground passages. Yet history says the two were captured and killed by an ARVN captain in the back of an M-113. A bit of revisionist history.

The first book was an enjoyable read. The characters were fleshed out and feel real. Nik-Uhernik is the pen name for Nicolas Cain who wrote the excellent Saigon Commandos. So the first review of the new year. I plan to do many more with a mix of new books I’ve read and older ones that I plan to reread. Happy New Year.

ALIEN NATION BY ALAN DEAN FOSTER

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Copyright 1988.

Los Angeles in the near future. An alien ship crashes in the Mojave desert. On it are 200,000 alien slaves now marooned on Earth. Eventually they are released into society. Now known as Newcomers they are assigned new names and most settle in L.A. Detective Matt Sykes is on routine patrol with his partner Tuggs when a Newcomer robbery of a local mini mart results in the death of his partner. Wanting to get revenge he partners with a new Newcomer detective George Francisco. He needs the Newcomer’s help in tracking down the killer. The two eventually stumble on a plot by a successful Newcomer businessman to introduce a new alien drug to the Newcomer populace. A drug that could threaten the existence of the Newcomers on Earth.

The eighties were the height of the buddy cop movies. There were all sorts of combinations at the time. There were dead cops, Soviet cops, Japanese cops, vampire cops, kid cops and dog cops. It was only a matter of time they had to have an alien cop. The movie Alien Nation had a simple premise. A group of aliens had become the newest additions to American society. Like many they moved into society and had various levels of success. I found the idea interesting enough to get the novelization of the movie. For the most part it was a standard cop buddy movie. Yet it would take Kenneth Johnson and his TV series to flesh out the mythology of the Newcomers. Alan Dean Foster the go to guy to novelize movies from the seventies to nineties did his usual excellent job. You get a good story with fleshed out characters. It also follows the movie pretty good. An enjoyable book.

DARK ANGEL AFTER THE DARK BY MAX ALLEN COLLINS

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Copyright 2003.

The transgenics of Terminal City have now been excepted by normal human society. They have set up a profitable arts and crafts business. Soon they will get representation on the city council. The only problem is Ames White the NSA agent. Now on the run from the government and his snake cult people. Captured in Canada by the snake cult Ames makes a deal. He will deliver Max to the cult. So he hires a Seattle gang to kidnap Logan Cale. Now Max and her fellow transgenics must track down White. The trail leads to a cult run mental institution and their plan to rule the world when a comet comes on Christmas 2021 that will release a plague on the world.

Well the final book in the trilogy. This one tied up a lot of loose ends from the series. It comes back to me as I read it. Kind of forgot how goofy the second season was with its snake breeding cult and the genetic virus that infected Max and Logan. This was because the producer thought the two were getting too close and wanted to preserve the sexual tension. The virus was gone because in the last book Kelpy took on the likeness of Logan and that somehow made the virus go away. We also find out the snake breeding cults plan. That two thousand years ago a comet left a virus that could wipe out humanity but they were breeding themselves to have immunity. Only the founder of Manticore was the father of Ames White and gave Max the cure in her DNA. So she could produce a cure for the world. Only the comet does come and nothing happens. A very anti-climatic ending. Oh and Max and Logan finally get together. Plus it set up that the next season would be the search for Max’s mother.

The trilogy was an interesting read. Not necessarily high quality but an enjoyable romp down nostalgia lane. It was interesting to get some closure on the series and what was planned for it. I suppose it would have worked for a TV series. If your a fan of the series I would recommend.

DARK ANGEL SKIN GAME BY MAX ALLEN COLLINS

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Copyright 2003.

The transgenics are now trapped inside Terminal City. A deserted part of Seattle that was abandoned after chemical spills. Only the transgenics can survive exposure to the chemicals. Now the police and National Guard surround Terminal City. The press thanks to NSA agent Ames White who has his own ulterior motives is fueling the hate and fear in the news. Max the X-5 who has become the leader for the transgenics tries to negotiate a peaceful solution. Unfortunately a transgenic is stalking the city and skinning people alive. The fear grows and soon the National Guard will storm Terminal City. Max and her friends go after the serial killer who turns out to be Kelpy. Kelpy is make from chameleon DNA and wants to build himself a human skin suit. Max and her friends also find out Kelpy is being manipulated by White. Now they must capture Kelpy and expose the plot by White.

So the second season was a departure from the first. It introduced a whole bunch of transgenics and sort of had a X-men type story of transgenics vs. normal people. It left off with them trapped in Terminal City and their decision to stand and fight. The books gives the first chapter over to the final part of the season final to refresh readers memories of that episode. While once again it reads like an average TV episode it does give us what was going to happen in the third season if this show was renewed. Through a contrived story they manage to expose White on national TV and make peace with regular society. It was nice to have some insight into where this series planned on going. A great book for fans of the show but otherwise would hold no interest to those that never watched the series.

Season two trailer.