Hayes, Ralph - The Hunter #4: The Deadly Prey (Leisure Books, New York, 1975, 174pp)

When you combine the 100 point red type screaming "Sadistic Maniac" on the back cover with the picture of a middle aged tough guy holding a ridiculously huge gun/phallus on the front it isn’t too hard to suss what this one is all about. Fairly standard Vigilante fodder in which John Yard, ex Green Beret turned Big Game hunter, teams up with his African Private Investigator sidekick Moses Ngala to take out a mad scientist who is testing a super-virus on Appalachian drunks and other local lowlifes.

In a scenario destined to unsettle anyone who has ever donated blood or sold their time and body for medical research the rogue doctor and his allies in the military-industrial complex take one step too far when they knock off a local commune dweller. No ordinary hippy this one turns out to be the son of a hunting pal of Yard’s and as a result the ex Green Beret (aren’t they all?) is called into action with predictably brutal results.

Surprisingly anti-police and not a bad read so far as the genre goes the book also provides some unintended comic relief in the form of its "hip" patter and the protagonists pseudo-Colonial English (lots of "Bloody"s and "Old Man"s).


"The girl was nude from the waist up and a long skirt had been pushed up to expose her thighs. Perspiration dampened her forehead. The young man who had disconnected himself and lay beside her with his eyes closed seemed very much at peace with the world.

‘Greetings brother’ a husky fellow with a full beard said to Moses sticking his hand out. Moses took it and shook it at once. ‘Are you lost or do you want to join the Brotherhood?’
The man who spoke to him appeared to be sober, but several around the camp appeared high on something. Moses could smell the cloying odour of marijuana, and there was the smell of incense coming from the board cabin which was apparently the communal house of the group.

‘Good afternoon’ Moses said smiling broadly. ‘No I can’t stay on to join your interesting group. I’m looking here for someone.’
The other men began to drift away to leave Moses and the bearded man some privacy. In one of thents a radio or stereo was playing some odd off key Eastern music.
‘Hey man. You’re not black fuzz? We don’t dig that scene.’
‘No’ Moses said.

‘That’s a groove. Hey listen, can I push something on you? Speed? Acid? We got only the best man. We can make it happen. Or maybe you dig Cherry over there.’ He jerked a thumb toward the supine blonde. ‘She’s finished servicing Toro.’" (pp46)