Monday, March 24, 2008

Mexican Connection

In 1974's BAJA BANDITOS, the Penetrator goes undercover in Mexico as playboy Winston T. Hackworth III. He's trying to get himself kidnapped by a criminal mastermind calling himself El Baron, who's snatching rich Americans (and one Israeli woman) and holding them inside an abandoned smelter. When he gets enough victims, he plans to issue one big ransom demand, thinking he can then use the money to buy Baja California and rule it. I know, crazy, right?

El Baron's number one man is a mulatto with the decidedly unintimidating moniker of Clyde Adams, though Clyde is something of a sadist with a penchant for cutting out people's intestines. The Penetrator does, indeed, get kidnapped, but teams up with a little boy to escape his captives, hold up inside a cave where dwells a nutty old goatherder, and assemble a ragtag army of local villagers to attack El Baron's contingent with homemade bows and arrows.

Not my favorite Penetrator novel, due to the fact that it's a little light on baroque violence and gadgetry. It's still well worth reading, as are all of the Penetrators I've enjoyed so far. BAJA BANDITOS was written by Mark K. Roberts using Pinnacle's house name of Lionel Derrick. He has also used the names Forrest Randolph (THE CONFEDERATE) and Patrick Lee (SIX-GUN SAMURAI). According to this site, Roberts was born in Tampa, Kansas in 1936, and, after getting out of the Army, became a filmmaker in Hollywood, writing, acting and doing stunts at Paramount and producing commercials for the Ford Motor Company.

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