Saturday, January 22, 2011

Death On Demand

I was not blown away by MILLION-DOLLAR MASSACRE, which was the fourth Warner Books novel in its Ninja Master series. Although it does finally get bloody in its second half, MILLION-DOLLAR MASSACRE features dull villains and less sleaze than the previous two books.

Ric Meyers, who has written comics, reference books (I still have his TV DETECTIVES from the early 1980s in my library), and many articles about Asian action movies, as well as novels, wrote this one under the Warner house name Wade Barker. It sends American ninja Brett Wallace to Atlantic City to find a teenage runaway. He finds the girl, a prostitute, dead--a victim of a war between mobsters John Testi and George Arrow. Brett infiltrates both sides as a hitman named Stillman, but the ruse doesn't work for long, and by the end of the book, nary a bad guy--or girl--is left standing.

Although MILLION-DOLLAR MASSACRE opens with an unsettling rape and mutilation of a bound young woman, Meyers basically eschews any sex angle this time. He does, thankfully, pile on the gore, as Wallace uses his ninja skills to rip people apart--sometimes literally. More Sonny Chiba than Sho Kosugi, Brett sure has a knack for mayhem.

At 173 pages, this 1982 entry could probably stand to lose twenty pages, though as it stands, outside of the violence, it's quite unmemorable.

1 comment:

Jack Badelaire said...

I've read a couple of the "Ninja Master" books, and I'm likewise unimpressed.

However, the WAR OF THE NINJA MASTER books, which wrap up the whole Ninja Master series, are actually pretty damn good as far as 80's Ninja Pulp goes. There is vast, marked improvement between these and the earlier NM novels.