|Pinnacle Books, July 1982 - cover by Earl Norem|
As far as adventures go, this one is a pretty cool one. It's got a "secret hideout of Satanic witchery" run by a nut by the name of Michael Franklin Unzer (referred to throughout as Mfu) and his partner Baron Friedrich Von Zapp, a former SS goon who utters hein all the time. Hanging out with Von Zapp is a Russian-French babe named Ilga Mornay.
She might have stepped out of an old Joan Crawford movie...Her face was triangular, with flaring nostrils, a thick-lipped sullen mouth and those cat eyes set in a mask whose skin was pure alabaster. Her jet-black hair was worn Cleopatra-style--the bangs bit.
Want to lay odds that Bucher and Ilga will be throwing down? Of course they do! Ilga is one of those icy-hot babes that likes to torture men with her overwhelming animal magnetism and, needless to say, she's got Bucher lined up in her sights...but wait! Also in the plot is a frigid red-haired dish named Frances Fern. You know, the kind of gal who has been waiting for a guy like Bucher to come along and take her all caveman style, thereby awakening the she-beast within...and all that stuff.
The whole caper involves this Mfu cat who has settled in Lake Placid to run his Satanic cult and mumbo-jumbo and what-not. There is rumor that his cult is also a front for human smuggling. Not really something that White Hat (Bucher's organization) would bother with. Except that White Hat has learned that the Syndicate might be bankrolling Mfu's game, which involves weapon smuggling and a terrorist plot against Manhattan. It's also assumed that Mfu is likely a former SS official who has resurfaced after escaping into South America years before. Man, I got to tell you, this is the kind recipe a dork like me can't resist!
Bucher rolls into Lake Placid with his guns and exploding chewing gum...yes, his exploding chewing gum! and immediately discovers a cache of hand-grenades hidden in a produce delivery truck. He dispatches said truck and its contents with a wad of exploding chewing gum, and immediately comes under the scrutiny of Baron Von Zapp, thanks to a one-eyed, one-armed chopper pilot who had been monitoring the delivery of hand-grenades from the sky. Vonn Zapp contacts Bucher, who is using the alias Dix Hernan while staying in town. Von Zapp offers Bucher (as Dix Hernan) a job with Mfu but first he wants to know who sent Hernan into to screw up the shipment of grenades. If Bucher's story isn't good enough then it's the Big Sleep for him. Bucher offers up a name from a rival outfit, in the hopes that Mfu will believe that the Syndicate is setting him up for a betrayal of sorts. It really doesn't matter, because Bucher has got Ilga to screw first. Ilga sets herself up as some kind of over-sexed vixen, but when push comes to pushin' real good, Bucher discovers that she's a bum lay who has never had an orgasm before. Until he's come along, that is.
Meanwhile, Bucher has noticed Frances Fern, the redheaded chick with the Gloria Steinem glasses. Seems that she's the town librarian and has some kind of connection to Mfu. Is she a "damsel in distress? or a Devil Girl?" Well, that's Bucher's job to find out. That and killing some goons and getting into Mfu's lair and blowing shit up with his explosive chewing gum and fending off the advances of Ilga Mornay while deflowering Frances Fern. It's all shoot first, aim later kind of stuff...but I liked it the whole way.
Yes, it's a pulpy blast of fun, and probably a decent sendoff for the series. I've got a few others in my collection that I'll be getting to eventually.