Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Scream In The Hot Desert Air

The earliest Penetrator novel I have is #2, BLOOD ON THE STRIP, published by Pinnacle in 1973. And it's pretty badass, pitting the Penetrator against an evil bitch called the Fraulein. Through a corrupt talent agency called Starmaker, the Fraulein and her people lure young girls into the fold with promises of making them movie stars, and then drug them and "train" them in sundry sordid sexplay. One highlight finds Mark Hardin stumbling into a large dark warehouse where nude girls are caged during their training, which consists of the Fraulein's brutal henchmen raping them.

Hardin gets involved when the Fraulein's latest victim happens to be Sally Wilson, who is a friendly waitress at a diner he frequents. Sally's stubbornness leads to a nasty facial disfigurement, pissing off the Penetrator to the point where he flies his private plane to Las Vegas and penetrates the Fraulein's base of operations, a casino called the Pink Pussy.

Chet Cunningham (writing as Lionel Derrick) injects plenty of sleaze and violence into the story, including a couple of big building explosions. The kinky finale is an odd one, finding the Penetrator chasing his quarry literally into a snake pit. Great stuff, showing that Pinnacle had the Penetrator formula down pat from the beginning.

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