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Hard Merchandise
by K.W. Jeter

Published by Bantam Publishing

Scott's Rating:   2 out of 4

This is the third book in the Bounty Hunter Wars Trilogy. In this novel we finally find out who Neelah is, why Kuat of Kuat is tangled up with Xizor and the Emperor, the fate of Kud'ar Mub'at and Balancesheet, and that Boba Fett is really a woman. (Just kidding on that last one.) Bossk and Boba Fett also resolve their differences.


    The cover by P. Youll is very cool and nicely done. Unfortunately, I have no idea why a Royal Guard or Stormtroopers and Dewbacks are on it, because they are not in the book at all. Weird.

Toward the end of the story, there is a big finish with a lot of explosions. Gotta love things blowing up. I also thought it was clever to have the lone Y-Wing Squadron stationed at the Kuat Drive Yards in order to fight off possibly fleeing Imperials. An interesting predicament to put them in, especially considering they wouldn't be able to do much if they did really come.


    It is common knowledge that in the Star Wars movies, there's a lot of action followed by a little dialogue which then takes you to more action. In these books, there's a lot of dialogue, a little action, then more dialogue discussing the little action that just took place. The pace is agonizingly slow. For example, there is one scene toward the end where Boba Fett places his blaster between Bossk's eyes. They then spend literally three pages discussing whether Fett will actually pull the trigger or not. I was screaming "Shoot the freakin' lizard and let's move on!" by the end of it. I really think this trilogy could have been condensed into one novel and not lost anything.

There's also a trend to Jeter's writing in this book and his other books which I've read. One character always acts like a know-it-all-smarty-pants. That character always seems to know exactly what is going on and then in a patronizing tone brings another character up to speed. These revelations are generally preceded by "Oh, come on, are you that dense", "Use your brain", or something like "You just don't get it, do you". Generally the character is also explaining something for the umpteenth time, too, that we've been aware of for a while. It's generally not a revelation. In short, Jeter's writing style did not agree with me personally.

As for the story, I thought Fett was made out to be a little too invincible. He seemed to know everything and see everything and always be a step ahead of everyone else. Isn't this the same guy that fell screaming comically into the Sarlaac when Solo got a lucky hit on his backpack? Wasn't his last scene as a mere burp in ROTJ? Fett should have had a little weakness in here. I also felt that everyone always talked about how bad-to-the-bone he was, but we were never once rewarded with proof of it. No mind blowing action scene with him.

Finally, why does everybody seem to know about the Battle of Endor? Just about every stinkin' character in here seems to be aware of the big battle about to happen. Is the security in the Rebel Alliance that bad?? In the end I was unimpressed with this novel and I had an extremely hard time finishing it. By the time all the mysteries were revealed, I just didn't care anymore.


    The fact that this series was 3 books long when other authors could have had their shot at a Boba Fett novel.

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