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★★★★★

“This would make a really good movie”

Written on: 11/02/2016 by plappen (120 reviews written)

Vic Challenger 5: Fast!, Jerry Gill, 2016, ISBN 9781889823621

This is the fifth story about Victoria Custer, who, using the pen name Vic Challenger, is an adventure and travel writer for her hometown newspaper. She happens to have the avatar of a 100,000-year-old cavewoman, named Nat-ul, living inside of her, which gives her the self-confidence to do things that even experienced male adventurers won't do.

Vic, and her friend, Lin Li, travel to the Australian Outback to visit Vic's relatives. During a party with some of the locals to celebrate their arrival, the group is robbed at gunpoint by unknown individuals (The word "treasure" has been used). Vic and Lin Li go after them, after appropriate preparations. A person can't just chase someone who is on horseback in the Outback without carrying food and water, at minimum.

They are not totally sure if they are following the bad guys, or a decoy. Eventually, they catch up to them at an abandoned cattle station. Vic and Lin Li can't just burst in with guns blazing; two of them against several bad guys are not good odds. Before that, they have to deal with some Tasmanian wolves called thylacines that are kept at the station. They are large and carnivorous, and have been beaten and starved into becoming killers.

As the chase continues, dehydration is a major concern for Vic and Lin Li. They manage to find just enough water and edible plants and animals to keep going. The chase leads to a small forest, at night, where unseen, but very carnivorous, creatures mow down the rest of the thylacines like they were nothing, and nearly do the same to Vic and Lin Li.

The "treasure" is found in a grotto, next to a pond that is guarded by a creature that sets new records for carnivorousness. Again, our heroes barely escape, this time with the leather chest. Finally, Vic runs into the leader of the bad guys. Who wins the draw? Is this the end of Vic/Nat-ul's quest to find Nu, her lover from all those centuries ago?

By the time a fiction series reaches Part 5, there is bound to be some lessening, however small, in the quality of the writing. That is not the case here. The writing is still really good, with plenty of action. Any of these novels would make a really good movie.

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