Justice Riders

(Chuck Norris, Aaron Norris, Ken Abraham, Tim Grayem, n'en jetez plus je me rends...)

Genre : grenaille de bénitier
Catégorie : action

On prétend souvent qu'il ne faut pas juger un livre à sa couverture, mais c'est une expression imagée, rien de plus. Prenez The Justice Riders, par exemple (cela tombe bien, c'est le titre de la chronique) : ce "Chuck Norris" cyclopéen, ce rude visage de lascar maussade, voilà qui s'annonce plutôt alléchant, d'autant que le dos nous promet des commandos d'élite, de l'action, de l'aventure, de l'horreur et de l'héroïsme. Et le nanardeur émoustillé d'acquérir ladite merveille. Et le nanardeur émoustillé de se retrouver aussitôt embarqué pour une lecture dont il n'est pas prêt de se remettre.

Le moins qu'on puisse dire est que l'auteur, ou les quatre auteurs pour être plus exact, n'y sont certes pas allés de main morte, faisant joyeusement flèche de tout cliché : quel autre livre peut bien offrir à son lecteur, en 300 pages bien tassées du western, de la guerre, du karaté, du roman-catastrophe, du craignos monster et une double ration de morale pour la route ? Avec un bel enthousiasme, Chuck se rit des genres et ose tout, dépassant largement la masse nanaresque critique. Mais n'anticipons pas. L'histoire est celle d'une poignée de héros, parfaitement en droit de prétendre accéder au Valhalla de l'éculement :

D'abord, il y a Chuck. Enfin, non, pas Chuck bien sûr, mais Ezra Justice, un personnage qui a beaucoup en commun avec Chuck Norris. Comme les yankees ne sont pas bons à grand chose Ezra est sudiste, mais heureusement un sudiste bon teint, abolitionniste enrôlé de grand coeur dans les armées de l'Union. Ezra est bon chrétien, fait du karaté, a un pistolet-mitrailleur et met les pieds où il veut.

He pressed a lever on his specially designed LaMat, and the single shot pistol bacame a blazing rapid-firing repeater.
[...]
Holding his side, Ezra thought sure a rib was broken. No time to worry about it now. He spit out somme blood and staggered to his feet, just in time to elude the soldier diving toward him, bowie knife in hand. Undaunted, the soldier came at Ezra again.
Ignoring the pain in his side, Ezar pivoted on his left foot. Instantly, he whirled around a full 180 degrees and launched his right leg at the man's face, connecting his right foot squarely with the soldier's jaw, flipping him backward in the air.[...] In a flash, Justice's strong right arm chopped down, the straightened side of his rigid, bare hand connecting firmly on the side of his attacker's neck. [...] The soldier did'nt get up ; he was out cold.

festival Chuck Norr... Ezra Justice

S'y rajoutent, pour l'inévitable duo belliqueux, Shaun O'Banyon, un Irlandais caractériel qui passe son temps à parler de sa fiancée et qui meurt vite, Reginald Bonesteel, un tireur d'élite britannique exilé par la reine d'Angleterre en personne (!), incarnation du flegme britannique. Inutile de vous dire si son animosité envers l'Irlandais va subsister au-delà de quelques lignes, ni si ils vont un seul moment arrêter leurs prises de becs. Et en prime deux jumeaux tziganes, experts artificiers et pickpockets, un peu en retrait, un homme-médecine indien et Nathaniel York, un Noir d'une force herculéenne, dévot et dévoué, ancien esclave d'Ezra auquel il reste attaché corps et âme.

O'Banyon reached inside his coat and pulled out a locket. He flipped it open and showed Ezra the picture inside of a beautiful Irish woman with long reddish-blonde hair, a finely sculptured face, with smooth pale skin, and a fire in her eyes. "This is my Lizzie [...] She watches for me to come home every day. One of these days, I'm going to surprise her."

Ça sent le sapin

"A most enjoyable afternoon, Captain." Bonesteel dismounted and pulled his rifle out of a side pocket on his saddle. He stroke the .44 caliber's as though he were caressing a pet.
"Impressive ? No, not impressive. Rather convincing, I'd say, would'nt you ?"
"Sergeant ? I was a captain in the Coldstream Guard. Not only must I fight with men of questionable lineage, you want to demote me as well ?"

un comportement anglais typique

The twins crazy inventions usually worked. Usually.

Notre équipe gaiement interlope, recrutée par Sherman en personne sans pour autant vraiment recevoir de mission spécifique, va donc passer la guerre à harceler les sudistes et à en tuer davantage que le bourbon, ne tardant pas à rencontrer la Némésis de Chuck Norr... Ezra Justice, à savoir Mordecai Slate, un Sudiste sadique et dépravé commandant les Death Raiders, une bande de gredins tout droit sorti d'une bisserie post-apocalyptique.

Dressed in full, clean confederate regalia, while his soldiers wore filthy, tattered trousers and shoes with gaping holes in them, the officer was ruggedly handsome yet possessed a nearly palapable sense of malice at the same time – the type of man men feared and women could not resist.

At one time, the band of thugs under Slate's command man have been honorable soldiers of the South. At one time... maybe... but not anymore. Mordecai Slate had slowly but surely transformed his regiment from noble men fighting for a cause they believed in to murderers who enjoyed killing for no reason or any reason. They took no prisonners, preferring to shoot anyone they captured rather than bother with having to feed, house, and/or transport the enemy.
Obviously the leader, he seemed disinteressed in her for himself ; but it was also apparent from the banter Elizabeth could hear that he would not be opposed to his men having her way with her. It sounded as though he was offering her as some sort of reward to his men.

festival Mordecai Slate

Slate sat high on his horse, his revolver aimed at Ezra's chest. "Justice !" he called. "How about some Mordecai's slate brand of justice."

Ezra looked up and saw Mordecai Slate pull the trigger and felt the bullet slam into his chest. The impact of the bullet sent Justice reeling backward onto the ground. His body did'nt move ; his face was expressionless.

Mordecai Slate let out a hideous laugh, spinning his horse and galloping back to the tracas.

[...]

he heard a loud groan emanating from the captain.

"You're alive !" Harry cried.

Ezra struggled to sit up."Yeah, barely," he said hoarsely. He reached inside his breast pocket and pulled out a gold pocket watch. Lodged dead center in the watch was a flattned .44-caliber slug.[...] Ezra reached into his coat pocket and pulled out the gold pocket watch his father has given him as a young man. Ezra flipped open the watch's lid and smiled. Mordecai Slate's bullet had stopped the timepiece at barely seven minutes past three.

du jamais vu

Surprise, la guerre dure cinquante pages, à peine le temps pour l'Irlandais de se faire assassiner par Mordecai et pour nos amis de se voir confier une dernière mission en attendant l'heure de la vengeance : escorter deux mille prisonniers fraîchement libérés dans leur foyer. En chemin, attardons-nous un peu sur le style de Chuck : même à huit mains et aux yeux d'un non anglophone, c'est à la fois désastreusement plat, avec des répétitions à n'en plus finir et une pauvreté de langage digne des vieux westerns débités au kilomètre dans les années 50, et savoureusement outrancier dans la moindre description. Avantage, cela se lit sans le moindre effort et même avec une gourmandise coupable.

Well, sir, I read in the bible where some women prepared Jesus for burial by wrapping his body in cloth, sort of like a mummy, with some sort of spices to keep the body from smelling badly, and a sticky substance to hold the graveclothes together. I think if we can tap into some pine sap, and maybe some berries, and use it to seal stripes and clothes as we wrap O'Banyon [...] we can make it to Vicksburg.

une momification artisanale

Thousands of dirty, disheveled, emaciated men huddled together inside the stockade. [...] Many looked like walking skeletons. [...] The air inside the stockade reeked, partially from the foul smells from the polluted stream running through the camp, and partially from the horribly unsanitary conditions.[...] "It's hard to imagine that human beings could treat other human beings so horribly," Justice said. "Killing men in battle is one thing, but what they have done to these men is an abomination."[...] Capitain Henry Wirz, a former doctor himself and the man who had run the prison for the past year and a half, left when heknew the war was lost. Eventually he was caught and taken to trial. When later questioned about the appalling conditions at his camp, his answer was, "I was merely following orders."

un stock-text de point Godwin

Le voyage de retour, en bateau, occupe la majeure partie du roman et Chuck en profite pour nous expliquer les ravages de la cupidité et de l'orgueil. Il n'est pas interdit d'être d'accord mais la dénonciation manque un peu de nuances. Ainsi les deux mille vétérans, sur l'ordre d'un planqué corrompu et incompétent, seront entassés à bord d'un navire vétuste aux chaudières sur le point d'exploser, commandé par un capitaine arrogant et entêté, sourd aux appels à la raison de notre équipe et, tel un Achab du Mississipi, menant son bâtiment à sa perte.

"That boiler could blow any minute. We need to repair it it, or we will risk the entire boat catching fire."
" Oh, Nathan, calm down," Coxley said. We'll be fine." At five dollars per enlisted man and ten dollars per officer, even minus the "pecuniary consideration" for Gains or his bosses, Coxley could still make a good profit.

le navire vogue vers sa perte

Perhaps the most unusual "passenger" aboard the Sultana was a twelve-foot-long alligator that the crew kept as their mascot.

la mascotte du bord

"Close the door," Coxley said nervously.
Colonel Stanley did'nt move from the doorway as he reached into his satchel and pulled out a package. He anded the package to Coxley. We're expecting fourteen hundred passengers, give or take a few. Here's your fifty-four hundred dollars, Captain Coxley, minus of course, my fourteen hundred and Captain Gains's seven hundred."
" It's been a very profitable day for both of us," Coxley said.

Little did Gains know or care, but because he had not taken the time to count the number of men boarding the trains and ultimately boarding the Sultana, the number of prisoners joining the more than one hundred paying passengers, eighty-five crew members, and twenty-one military guards aboard the steamboat was not in fact fourteen hundred but closer to twenty-two hundred !"

salopards de planqués

La prévisible (et historique) catastrophe sera la grande scène d'action du livre, un incendie suivi d'un naufrage entraînant une explosion qui libère un alligator mangeur d'hommes. Une bonne occasion pour nos héros de briller, sautant dans tous les sens et sauvant moult civils et militaires, tandis que les responsables de la situation périssent dans le brasier en attendant d'aller rôtir dans les flammes de l'enfer (sic). Craignant visiblement de n'avoir pas le temps d'aligner tous les poncifs du genre (voire des genres), Ezra et ses hommes se démènent avec un bel enthousiasme, ne faisant une petite pause que pour accorder au lecteur qui n'en demandait pas tant quelques utiles rappels bibliques.

Justice blocked the first man's punch with his right forearm ; and while his arm was still in the air, he whirled around and caught his attacker with a hard kick in the stomach. The attacker crumpled over, flopped to the floor with a thump, and didn't move. Ezra rotated just in time to catch the second attacker with a body chop to the shoulder area. The man stumbled backwards and tumbled over O'Banyon's coffin. The third man dove at Ezra's midsection, but Justice saw him coming just in time. He locked his hands above his head and brought them down like a hammer, pounding the man's head into the deck.

Sacré Chuck Norr... Ezra justice, même quand tout brûle autour de lui il trouve encore le temps de corriger quelques malandrins

Ezra pulled his knife, waited until the gator was right below him, and then he leapt off the coffin he landed on top of the gator's rough-scaled back, the force of his landing pushing the strong alligator deeper into the water but barely slowing him down. Ezra hurriedly turned himself around in the opposite direction and straddled the gator like he was riding a wild bull. Justice threw his arms around the gator's jaws and squeezed. Unable to open his mouth, Chops attempted to throw Justice off his back by rolling over in the water. Ezra's head splashed below the surface ; buth he continued to hang on, his knees digging into the side of the huge alligator, his strong arms sealing the gator's jaws shut.[…] Still clutching his knife, Ezra reared back and slammed the blade into the alligator's soft underbelly, directly into its heart. The gator thrashed its tail violently once more, then slowly rolled over dead.

Face à un monstre mangeur d'hommes, seul un planqué de Washington ferait usage d'une arme à feu.
Notez l'habile alternance gator/alligator pour éviter la répétition (de alli).


"I'm dying," the man said weakly,"and I've never been afraid of anything in all my life, but I'm scared now."
Nathaniel York pressed closer to the man and put his hand on the man's shoulder. " It's alright, my friend. We're here with you."
" No, no", it's not alright," he gasped. "I've done horrible things. I've been a thief. I've robbed people ; I've cheated on my wife ; I've even murdered a few people. Now I'm dying, and I know it's late to make anything good of my life."
" It is never to late to start doing the right thing," Nate said kindly.
" It is for me. I'm about to meet God," the soldier said, wheezing, "and there's no reason why he'd let me into heaven, I deserve to go to hell."
" So do the rest of us, friend. Besides, you don't get into heaven by being a good person or going good deeds. You get into heaven by trusting in Jesus. Did you ever go to the church in your life ?"
" Yeah, a couple of times."
" And did you ever hear that God loved you so much that he sent Jesus to die on the cross to pay the price for your sins, and mine and the sins of all of us ? » Nate looked around as several of the men nodded their heads in agreement.
" My kids told me something like that," the man lying on the deck whispered.
" Do you remember that during the crucifixion of Jesus, there were two bad men on the crosses next to him ?"
" Yeah, I do."
" One guy cursed God and died. The other guy – the thief on the cross – cried out to Jesus. He'd been a bad man, too ; his life had been wasted, and now it was over, but he ackmowledged Jesus as God's son, and Jesus said, 'Today you will be with me in paradise.' One man died and went to heaven, and one man died and went to destruction. Which man are you most like, my friend ?"
" I want to go to heaven, but there's no time for me to go to church"
" You don't have to go to the church to meet God. You can meet him right there. All the thief on the cross had time to do was to acknowledge Jesus as the way to God, and he went to heaven. If you'll trust in Jesus, today you can be with him in heaven, too."

The dying man reached out his pale, fragile white hand ; and with as much strength as he could muster, he gripped Nathaniel York's big hand. "I'm trusting Jesus," he said with a nod. He gasped for breath and continued talking, his eyes on Nate but looking far away, as though he were talking to someone else.
" Jesus, you are my Lord and Savior. Please forgive me of my sins."

un peu de sulpicianisme pour la route parce que cela commençait à être trop léger (pendant ce temps, le bateau coule)

Plusieurs milliers de morts serviront donc à cette leçon de morale impromptue, assénée avec un sérieux papal si j'ose dire vu le réformisme de nos cowboys préférés. S'ensuivent quelques séquences d'émotion bancales avant que la vie ne reprenne ses droits.


" I owe my life to you, Ezra Justice. I will never forget you, not for a single day. And I shall thank God for you each day for the rest of my life."
" Er… ah, thank you, ma'am." Ezra reluctantly slid his hand out from Anna's. "I believe it is time for us to be going, isn't it, Nate ?"
" Huh ? Oh, yes, sir, Captain Justice. I has been a pleasure, ma'am." Then with that same twinkle in the eye that Ezra had seen before, Nate said, "And I do hope that our paths cross again under more pleasurable circumstances."
" Thank you, Mr. York," Anna replied. Her eyes brightened. "I appreciate that, and I hope you are a prophet." She smiled openly, her face radiant.
" Good bye, ma'am."
" Please call me Anna, if I may call you Ezra."
" It would be my pleasure," Ezra said.
" And it's not good-bye, Ezra," she said with a smile. "See you later. May God be with you and keep you safe. And may we meet again."
" I hope we do Anna," as Ezra nudged Nate toward the door. They stopped in the doorway to wave one more time to Anna Harvey, who waved to them from her bed.
" I think she likes ya, Ezra," Nate said as the two men bumped into each other going through the doorway.
" We saved the woman's life, Nate. What would you expect ?"
" Oh, I don't know," Nate replied, whimsically raising his eyebrows and smiling broadly. " I just think she likes you."
" Aw keep quiet." Ezra said. "Let's go. The other guys are probably stir crazy out front." But as they walked away, Ezra thought, Anna Harvey. She was rather pretty. And she did seem to like me.

Elle a perdu son mari et son enfant mais ce n'est pas plus mal puisque cela lui permet de dévorer du regard Chuck Norr... Ezra Justice (décidément !)

Il ne reste plus, en somme, qu'à aller rapporter le cercueil d'O'Banyon à sa courageuse épouse Lizzie juste à temps pour lui sauver la vie et à lui accorder de dignes funérailles chrétiennes, c'est-à-dire protestantes, parce que pour plus de simplicité, les Irlandais sont protestants (sinon ils seraient probablement Mexicains). Cela tombe bien, devinez qui est justement en train de ravager le village voisin, d'importuner les dames avec propos déplacés et de forcer les civils à boire des toasts en l'honneur de Jefferson Davis ?


It didn't take long for the reputation regarding their propensity for pillaging, raping, and other violence to spread throughout the countryside. Fear created some unlikely allies, as weak men allowed evil to have full sway because they were unwilling to challenge Mordecai Slate and his men. Clinton's sheriff, Karl Mc Cain, and his deputy had bravely confronted Slate, telling him to control his men. Slate simply laughed and and without warning, drew his gun and shot the sheriff and his deputy in cold blood. With no law to constrain them and nobody willing to resist them, the vicious members of the Death Raiders simply gave in to their passions and perversions.
" Hey little lady, what's your name ?" one of the creeps had accosted Elizabeth as she carried a sack of feed from the general store to her wagon. "should'nt you have a big man to carry that feed for you ?"
" Maybe she needs you to go home with her today, to help her unload all those supplies in that wagon," said one of the other unkempt men wearing a red headband around his hat.

Elizabeth ignored both men and continued to load the wagon.
" How 'bout that, missy ?" the first man asked. " How'd you like me to come home with you tonight ?"

Ezra turned and looked toward the courthouse. He pulled out his .44 and checked the bullet in the chamber. He looked at his men and said, "This is between Mordecai Slate and me. All of you stay out here."[…]

[...]

Slate and Ezra began circling the room counterclockwise, each watching the eyes of the other man. Both knew that the eyes always reveal when a man is going to make a move.
" I presume you are not a Christian, Mordecai."
" No, I am not."
" Well, I think you ought to get right with Jesus."
" Do you want to tell me why ?"
" Because you are about to enter eternity, and I would prefer to see you go up rather than down."

C'est sur cette touche rurale et quelques massacres de sbires incompétents que s'achève ce chef d'oeuvre de démesure, ce monument manichéen voué au narcissisme de notre Texan favori. Pas la moindre touche de second degré ni de retenue pour ternir ce joyau d'hénaurmité, aussi fascinant qu'un White Fire enrichi à l'uranium 235, enchaînant tambour battant action over the top, dialogue bancals et catéchisme à la truelle. Un mot de la fin, Ezr… euh, Chuck ?

Eventually they all would go their separate ways, but any time one of the Justice Riders rececived a message stating "Remember O'Banyon" they reassembled to fight together on behalf of good people who needed their help. Wherever they went – whether to the gold mines of california, the wide open ranch lands of Texas, or the mountains of Colorado, they brought hope, peace, and justice.

Yahoo!


Sortez-moi d'ici