Monday, December 08, 2008

The Deadly Cult

I don't know why the hero of Zebra's Chameleon action series is called Chameleon. He isn't a master of disguise or a cat burglar or anything like that. He's really just Vance Garde, a very rich, very smart dude who avenged the overdose death of his sister in his first book by striking back against the Anaconda, the druglord at the top of the chain. He managed this by forming a secret division called VIBES within his corporation to fight crime. His sidekick and lover is Ballou Annis, who also happens to be an employee. Come on, Vance, you know what they say about the company ink.

In IN GARDE WE TRUST (I know), Garde goes into investigative mode again after Ballou gets a strange phone call from her younger brother Adrian, who demands that she turn over to him his substantial trust fund. Adrian has fallen under the control of a Vietnamese cult leader named Sol Luna, who operates from his secret base in Montana. Luna and his partners, including a rapist dentist, have taken over the minds of his followers using brainwashing radio waves emanating from their dental fillings (!) and plan to use the same technology to hypnotize the world during a national television broadcast. Garde not only goes up against Luna's braintrust, but also Handjob, the mysterious strongman henchman previously in the Anaconda's employ, and a freaking grizzly bear that chases him across a glacier.

It sounds pretty cool, but is not really that interesting. At 240 pages, IN GARDE WE TRUST is a seriously flabby book with bizarre sex scenes that go on well past being interesting. It's a running gag that Garde and Ballou are constantly being interrupted during sex, which leads to a ridiculous page-filler involving their belts being stuck together and another where they decide to do it during a raid on an enemy office.

Granted, writer Jerry LaPlante does create some imaginative setpieces, not just the previously noted bear chase, but also an odd cliffhanger in which an explosive chastity belt attached to Ballou is set to blow if Garde's private plane drops below 10,000 feet. Hmmm, so this is where SPEED came from.

1 comment:

Dan said...

Glad to see somebody else is as perplexed by the title of this series as I am! Finished the first book and I'm writing it up for my Summer of ACTION! series at my blog. Will be sure to link to your write-up of #2. Not much to be found about this series on-line.