Sunday, October 28, 2007
Stay Away Or Die
Now here is a major badass. Brett Wallace is the Ninja Master, a former San Francisco restaurant owner whose parents and Japanese wife are murdered by vicious bikers. When the courts set the killers free, Brett murders them, then heads to Japan, where he trains under the tutelage of master Yamaguchi to become the first American ninja, a few years before Michael Dudikoff did the same in the Cannon film series of that name.
That all happens in the first Ninja Master novel. In Warner Books' second, MOUNTAIN OF FEAR, published in 1981, Wallace travels to a small town in Virginia where female travelers are being abducted by the corrupt local sheriff and his deputies, who rape them and then send them "up the mountain," where they become subjects for inhuman experiments being carried out by former Nazi scientist Nathan Tyler. Author Ric Meyers, writing as "Wade Barker," establishes the Ninja Master as a fighting expert not at all squeamish about gore. Limbs fly, skin is flayed, blood spurts, and the body count is astounding. If MOUNTAIN OF FEAR has a weakness, it's that Wallace's opponents are mostly redneck ex-cons grossly outmatched by the Ninja Master's powers. On the other hand, the racist villains are so hateful and cruel that it's a pleasure to read of their callous destruction, usually at the point of Brett's kitana, shuriken or samurai sword.
According to John Charles, Meyers wrote a dozen Ninja Master novels, and if they're all as sleazy and blood-soaked as this one, I'm going to have to read the rest. They must have been successful, as Meyers claims the Ninja Master series was the only one to outlast Warners' "Men of Action" line of paperback thrillers.