Thursday, November 15, 2012

Book Review: Motorcycle High: The Adventures of Rock Pounder by Dave Harrold

Motorcycle High by Dave Harrold is a high-octane and fun-loving adventure that takes the reader on a long and dangerous journey, full of action and betrayals, femme fatales, mobsters and spies.

Rock Pounder, adventure rider extraordinaire, is planning a round-the-world trip on his motorcycle. His goal is Amsterdam and the herbal refreshment that awaits him there. But when you're a legend—among women, adventure riders, and spies—nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

This is one of those books that are simply way too fun not to like. And Rock Pounder is one of those heroes that no matter how hard you try, you simply cannot forget; not only for his character, but also because he’s quite a character. He’s cool, he’s fearless, he loves his bikes and his women and he has a past that still haunts and entertains him. I will let him speak for himself.

Let me tell you about Rock Pounder. I’m mad as hell. People are starting to push me around because they think I’m old. They don’t know who I am. They don’t know that I’ve helped start three revolutions—and I’ve personally been in charge of one. I’ve ordered countless men into battle and I’ve fought many myself, and I’ve supplied money and guns to people across the globe. I’ve made love to pretty women all over the world, including two princesses and a billionaire drug lord, who was also a woman, by the way.
     I look at life, and I feel like I have at least one more big job in me, before I retire to my place in Mexico. The United States pays me $10,000 a year to keep my eyes open as I travel around. But right now nothing’s going on, and I’m looking for action.

And that is exactly what he’s going to get: nonstop action; bike and car chases through the wilderness of the Russian countryside, meetings with spies and mobsters, and secrets agents and much more. And all that despite the fact that:

I’m really a pacifist most of the time. I don’t carry a gun, and I don’t like to hurt people. But there are some things I won’t put up with, and beating up a defenseless priest is one of them.

Whether he likes it or not, Rock, will have to resort to violence more than once during this journey, this adventure; an adventure that will really start, not in the US, but when he and his buddies reach Siberia.

Well, today it started just like it does in every big city in the world. You get lost trying to get out of town. After about 20 minutes of wandering around, we found the right road and headed to Khabarovsk, about 650 due north into Siberia. I was just thinking about why we do this, why we take these long trips. I guess it’s because you like to go where there’s no help, where you’re totally self-sufficient, where it’s just you, the motorcycle, and the elements. There’s no motorcycle shop, maybe no gas stations or motels, just pure adventure. I guess that’s why we go, and we just don’t go around the block on the motorcycle too much.

Going around the block would probably be the best thing that could happen to him in this case, but that’s not meant to be. Instead he’ll travel through Siberia, go to Russia, Ukraine and Poland, sleep in luxury and out in the open, face betrayal and find a true friend, and then think, constantly think about his life.

Rock feels like he’s blessed and cursed at the same time. He really enjoyed his ride through life, but he cannot help but think that maybe it’s time for him to call it a day. What started his wanderlust was a book, Around the World in 80 Days, but if things keep going the way they do now, it’s doubtful that he’ll have, in the end, 80 days to live.

What do they want from him? Why can’t they just let him be? he keeps wondering. Who are they? His boss, “Fat Man” Manfred, and the CIA. They are interested in a package that contains a computer program that could change the world. And so is the Russian government, and so is the Mafia who’s after him. The problem is that he doesn’t have the package. The problem is that, even though he doesn’t know it yet, he’s going to get it.

Oh well, when you think about it it’s all business as usual for Rock. He’ll just do what he has to do, while trying to avoid his silicon-made ex-wife, his pursuers, a woman who lusts after him and… and…

What I liked the most about this novel is not so much the action, but the interactions; the interactions between some of the main characters; the love and hate relationships, the lack of trust between them. I’ve also enjoyed Rock’s sense of humor, his stubbornness and his lust for travel and adventure. To put it simply, Rock is here to entertain, and entertain he does.

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