First published back in March of 1977, British pulp author Guy N Smith’s novel ‘The Truckers: No. 2 Hi-Jack!’ formed the second novel in ‘The Truckers’ series.

DLS Synopsis:
Rodney Carter had been driving trucks for Britton Transport for quite some time. His next job was transporting over ten-thousand pounds worth of wholesale men’s clothing to the Scottish town of Oban, before heading back to London with a fresh consignment of whisky.

He’d been making good time on his journey, so decided to park up in the moorlands for a short rest. That’s when they struck. Five men, each carrying double-barrelled shotguns, demanding he get out of his Foden. The trucker had been hi-jacked.

Back at Britton Transport’s depot, Mike Britton knew it was only a matter of time before a hi-jacking happened to one of his fleet. Across the UK a total of twenty-seven trucks had been hi-jacked since the beginning of July. So many hi-jacks in just a few short weeks. There was clearly an organised criminal gang behind the crimes.

Taking matters into his own hands, Mike Britton heads up to Edinburgh in one of his trucks to collect a consignment of whisky. The job would be the ideal bait for his plan. He wants to witness first-hand what is happening on the roads with these hi-jackers, to hopefully gain some understanding about their methods. It’s a dangerous ploy, but as the owner of Britton Transport, it’s one he feels only he should attempt.

However, his plan quickly backfires when the hi-jackers catch him off guard and take his truck under an elaborate ruse. Now, Mike Britton finds himself alone, in the middle of the Scottish outback, with only one clue where the hi-jackers might be headed with his lorry and its cargo. Before they made off, he heard the hi-jackers mention Maniaive. A small village located in Dumfries and Galloway.

Mike Britton can’t rely on the police to get to the bottom of the matter. As such, he knew it was now on him to find these criminals. To do so, he only has one choice – he’ll need to make his way to Maniaive alone, and when there, hopefully locate the gang behind the spree of armed hi-jacks…

DLS Review:
Good old Mike Britton is back for a second dose of high-octane action, this time faced with an organised gang of gun wielding hi-jackers who’ve been terrorising the highways of Britain for the past few weeks.

As you might recall from ‘The Truckers: No 1 The Black Knights’ (1977), Britton is one hell of a tough cookie. He’s got some balls to him, not batting an eyelid at the thought of putting himself in harms way. Of course, he’s got his experience with the National Service to fall back on, not to mention his combat training with the Rhine forces. However, as displayed time and again in these books, it’s more the utter disregard for his own safety and his unblinkered need to take everything on himself which constantly puts him at the forefront of danger.

So once again, here we have Britton deciding to completely disregard the obvious course of action, which is of course to get the police involved straight away, and instead he goes off on a one-man-mission to try to locate his stolen lorry and the organised gang responsible.

What ensues is a fast-paced and action-rich thriller, crammed full of outrageous ploys, involving kidnap, false imprisonment, unrestrained violence, and of course a good helping of murder. All of these crazy shenanigans take place within a remote Scottish valley which is owned by the Laird of Banshannon.

Of course, this Laird is a nasty piece of work. He’s the typical, somewhat clichéd, wealthy gang boss. Overweight, dressed in fine silk clothing and constantly smoking his Turkish cigarettes through an ivory cigarette holder. Oh yes, he’s everything you want from a big crime boss.

The Laird commands a team of over twenty hardened criminals who he has undertaking all the hi-jacks that he orchestrates. That and defending his highly secure stronghold that’s located in the Banshannon valley. With just one track in from the road, and with mountains all around, the stronghold is a tough challenge for anyone to get in or out of without the Laird’s say-so. Furthermore, the crime boss has vicious Alsatians roaming the hills at night, ready to tear the throat out of any intruder.

As with all of Smith’s pulp novels, the whole plot is completely over-the-top. The characters are also equally overdramatic. The best example of this is with Pat Houston, who’s the partner of one of the criminal gang. In recent months she’s become actively involved with the gang’s hi-jackings. Of course, she’s a good-looking and shapely young female who Mike Britton is instantly drawn to. Although even being held at gunpoint by her doesn’t prevent Britton from dropping in the most direct of come on lines:

“A nice name,” he smiles. “Sexy, too. I’ll bet you’re good in bed.” 

I kid you not, he’s previously said about five words to the lass before this bombshell of an introduction, not to mention being held at gunpoint by her…not once but twice, as well as having been tied up and imprisoned. But yeah, say what you see Mikey-boy!

But it doesn’t end there, when the pair manage to escape together (sorry, bit of a spoiler there!), they end up having sex out in the back and beyond, whilst the Laird’s gang are desperately trying to hunt them down. Now, let’s not forget good old Mike Britton is a happily married man! But don’t worry:

‘He thought of Jenny, but he knew she would understand. When death is just around the corner, life and all its pleasures seem more precious than ever.’

Honestly, Mike Britton is a class act!

The novel is every bit of high-octane fun as you’d hope it’d be. In this second book, Smith has absolutely outdone the sheer quantum of action and outlandish decision making that was present in the first book. Through the entirety of this novel, we just have Britton throwing himself from one dangerously sticky situation to the next. It’s insane and just so damn entertaining!

Over-the-top pulp thrillers don’t come much better than this.

The novel runs for a total of 112 pages.

© DLS Reviews

Other ‘Truckers’ instalments:


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