Sunday, August 24, 2014

Assignment Tokyo

Mark Hood: #4 “Assignment Tokyo” by James Dark (James E. MacDonnell) was a little slow, but a good story. There is one sex scene, but it isn’t descriptive and not as hardcore as most Aggressor novels. Odd, he enters the karate tournament in Tokyo as a cover, and his opponent is the Japanese champion, and they fight for two hours before Hood is beaten. But then throughout the book everyone he meets is tougher than him.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mindanao Pearl

Mindanao Pearl By Alan Caillou. David Calib’s father sends him after a thief named Smith that stole from his San Francisco company. Reports put Smith somewhere in the Pacific islands around Mindanao. David is to locate Smith and turn him over to the police in Manila; a simple task, though David isn’t used to roughing it. A few years in the Army, but he was more accustomed to the finer things in life. Things are not as easy, as his father let on. Arriving in Mindanao, he’s mistaken for Smith’s cohort, a man after pearls Smith stole from the Ordue brother on a plantation on the island of Pangalau. The brothers capture and torture him, but their sister, Andree, helps him escape. They head for the volcanic island where Smith is thought to be hiding out, with the brothers in hot pursuit. Gaston Ordue is a giant of a man with incredible strength, and has beaten men to death before, and Andree is afraid he will kill David if she doesn’t help him. There was a lot of similarity in this story and stories by Dan Cushman, but where Cushman is strong on dialog, Caillou is strong on description. Regardless, the story is a fun read.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Turncoat

The Turncoat by Hal G. Evarts. David Grant lives in Hong Kong, working for an Import company. He’s an American born and raised in China and speaks the language fluently. His parents died during the Typhus epidemic in 1948, and he returned to the US. He served in the Army during the Korean War as an interpreter, but was captured and tortured, until he finally went to their side (against his will), become an American turncoat, and spent a year in the stockade. America never forgave him, so he chose Hong Kong to live and work. But now his past is catching up to him. Someone in the Embassy has him fired from his job, and then offers him another one. Work for them (who they are is never really explained, but probably CIA); they want him to enter China and locate the Panchen Lama and who is hiding from the Reds, and bring him to Honk Kong. If he does this, they will reinstate him in his job, and give him back his honor. A pacifist, he doesn’t consider himself a spy or killer, and doesn’t understand why he has been chosen for the task. He is eventually forced to accept, and illegally enters China. He must cross the Himalayas with a guide, and locate the missing Lama believed to be hiding in a village controlled by a vicious Chinese colonel and his mistress, Sonya Rosov, a beautiful woman who is of Russian and Tibetan descent. At the end of the story he does become an operative for the agency(a curious note, there is a spy series later featuring a n agent named David Grant, but written by someone else). This was a well-written and exciting tale, of an unlikely hero he must face danger, and maybe even death to clear his name. A Good read.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Assignment Find Cherry

Curt Stone #5: “Assignment: Find Cherry” by Jack Seward. The Far East Investigations is hired by the Monday Club to find relatives of a Shogun whose ship was sunk with almost two tons of gold aboard. There was supposedly a map and another group, called the Pure Nation Society, whose members wish to return to the old ways, want the gold to finance their rise to power. Curt Stone locates a surviving relative in Hawaii, a beautiful nightclub dancer named Cherry, and buys the map from her. But someone may be a spy in the Monday Club, working with the Pure Nation Society, as the enemy knows his every step. This was another nice plot, but the author’s writing remains a bit awkward. Sentences in Japanese, then repeated in English, slowing down the pace; plus, he tells a lot of the action instead of showing it, which would make for better reading. This was the final story in the series, and I don’t know why it was discontinued. The covers were typical men’s action scenes, with sexy women, and Curt Stone shown with a gun that he seldom carried. I guess guns were illegal in Japan, even for a private detective. A fun read, however.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Twelve Hours To Destiny

Steve Carradine #4: “Twelve Hours To Destiny” by Manning K. Robertson. Working for British Intelligence, Steve Carradine is sent to Hong Kong to find why their agent there has disappeared. His job is to find him, and discover the secret he held of a new super weapon in Chinese hands. In Hong Kong, Carradine discovered a double agent, then is contacted by the missing agents niece. Her uncle has been taken to the mainland, where he’ll be tortured for what he knows about China’s secret weapon. The girl is part of a Chinese acrobat troupe, and they have free movement in China. She smuggles Carradine into China, then her troupe helps him rescue her uncle from a guarded facility. The troupe hate the communists, and have been fighting them on their own, using their acrobat show as a camouflage. After rescuing her uncle, however, Carradine discovers they only have twelve hours before the new weapon will be tested, and they must again travel into deeper country, and enter a well-guarded compound to destroy the facility and weapon. This is a really nice plot, with good action. Everything seemed to go like clockwork, however, and if it hadn’t been for the troupe of Chinese acrobats, it’s doubtful one man could have pulled everything off. Personally, I thought Steve Carrigan out-Bond Britain leading spy, James Bond.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Chinese Pleasure Girl

Curt Stone #4: “The Chinese Pleasure Girl” by Jack Seward. Curt Stone’s Far East Investigations is hired by an ex American CIC agent to find out who is trying to sabotage his bars in Yokosuka. A pretty good plot, with a nice bit of action, and we see a lot of Yokusuka. It’s a fun read, but we still have the main problems with this author. He’s trying to teach us the Japanese language in a fiction novel. We get dialogue in Japanese and repeated in English, which distracts from the flow of the story; plus, just when something is about to happen, he gives us a page or two of documentary on some aspect of Japan, its history, or a subject he wants us to know about Japan. By the time we get back to the scene of action we’ve forgotten what was happening. It slows the pace of the story drastically. It’s a good series, and the interaction between the main characters is fun., I’m just not interested in learning the language, and I can look up whatever information I need on Japan. The author would have been better off sticking to the action.