Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Canadian Terror

Here's an earlier adventure of the Penetrator, #15 in Pinnacle's series, written by Mark Roberts as Lionel Derrick (Roberts wrote the odd-numbered episodes, and Chet Cunningham the evens, both "as" Derrick). In THE QUEBEC CONNECTION, Mark Hardin heads to Canada to investigate a terrorist organization calling itself the 23 May Liberation Front, which has been blowing up banks and other federal institutions across the border in Buffalo, New York. They've also been dealing a new narcotic called Ziff, which is becoming quite popular among addicts.

The plot isn't quite so straightforward, as the Penetrator ends up in Paris fighting a cadre of dwarfs who head the Ziff organization, but are cutting the drug with a special chemical that provides an unusual side effect that strikes its users after only one snort. The Ziff affects the user's genetic material so that all of his or her offspring will be dwarfs. Yep, these druglords are trying to create a world of people just like themselves, leading up to an amazing climax in which three midgets dressed as Athos, Porthos and D'Artagnan are armed with rapiers and fighting the Penetrator atop the Eiffel Tower.

I prefer men's adventure novels that are unafraid to branch off into somewhat offbeat storylines, though Roberts/Derrick saves the big surprise until you've long accepted the book as a straight hero-battles-hippie-terrorists story. The leading bad guys are mentioned, but never their physical appearances until Roberts is ready to drop the bomb. Entertaining stuff.

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