Monday, November 09, 2009

TVA Terror

The Penetrator finds plenty of action in his 13th adventure, 1976's DIXIE DEATH SQUAD from Pinnacle. So much action that it can barely contain its main plot.

The paperback cover touts an extortion plot in which the book's villain, a "dangerous and beautiful" terrorist named Colonel Linda King, threatens to blow up a Tennessee Valley Authority dam unless she receives $5 million. This only happens at the very end of the book after much mayhem has already occurred.

Colonel King's ultimate goal is much more ambitious. She's training an army of soldiers at a classic old Georgia plantation, but not just an army of men. King is also kidnapping children and teaching them how to become inhuman killing machines, an army raised to instantly obey authority and one that law enforcement will be hesitant to shoot back at. Yes, a female Fagin.

The Penetrator manages to infiltrate King's corp as an NCO named Patrick Lee, who, of course, manages to seduce the shorthaired blonde in the line of duty. Some amazing action sequences find Mark Hardin on the streets and in the skyscrapers of Atlanta, shooting down the colonel's advance team of snipers.

Making another appearance is Howard Goodman, the Penetrator's Javert-like rival with the FBI, who operates a special task force dedicated to killing the Penetrator. Not capturing Mark, but killing him, even though it seems most American law enforcement silently roots for the Penetrator's success, as he's doing an effective job of cleaning up crime without having to follow pesky laws.

Pinnacle's Penetrator series, which was written alternately by Chet Cunningham and Mark Roberts, is the company's most interesting men's adventure series, even more so than its inspiration, Don Pendleton's Executioner.

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