Sunday, October 07, 2007

Live White Cargo

In 1974, Leisure Books released the first in its SHANNON series of trashy mens adventure paperback novels penned by Jake Quinn. #1, titled THE UNDERTAKER, introduces Patrick Shannon, an American secret agent who works for a government agency called MORITURI, which is based beneath a Catholic church in New York City where his boss, Number One, poses as a priest. Shannon lives in a two-story penthouse apartment with his houseboy/assistant/sidekick/cook Joe-Dad, who is half-Chinese/half-black.

Shannon investigates the disappearance of his latest girlfriend, Gilly, whose fate appears to be tied to a mysteriously indolent funeral parlor in his neighborhood. Deducing that Gilly's kidnapping is tied to the disappearance of several other famous, beautiful, blond women from New York, Shannon convinces Number One to let him officially look into the case, of which he does a poor job. First, the Russian ice skater he's bodyguarding is swiped right from under his nose (Shannon is rescued from drowning on a melting ice rink by her pet seal!). Then, after he is given a physical makeover in order to disguise himself as the lover of a prominent Swedish actress, they both are kidnapped while frolicking nude in a fountain.

This is where THE UNDERTAKER really kicks in and becomes kinky. Shannon and the actress, Risa, are taken to a private island near Jamaica, where the owner, an unusually hairy Italian dwarf named Viserba, holds prisoner one beautiful blonde for each day of the week (Risa is Sunday). Every day, he has sex with the woman designated for that particular day. Also on the island are Frau Berger, a German plastic surgeon who is developing a method that will not only allow her to remove Viserba's legs and replace them with full-sized prosthetics, but will completely change the little man's features to make him handsome. When he discovers Shannon on the island, he not only wants the gorgeous agent's face, but his magnificent member as well. However, Frau Berger, a lesbian, is torn by Shannon's awesome masculinity, and becomes a ravaging nymphomaniac who not only falls prey to the agent's manipulative seductions, but vows not to let her boss take away his you-know-what. The other member of Viserba's team is Gator, a hideously malformed brute with sharpened teeth and bumpy skin who looks forward to tossing Shannon into his pit of hungry alligators.

Although it took THE UNDERTAKER awhile to really get going, the second half has enough goofy kinks in it to make it worth reading. Shannon has an absurd amount of sex--ten different partners in fewer than 200 pages--with Quinn really piling on the silly prose to describe the encounters, which are surprisingly conservative--one might think Shannon might want to spice things up on occasion. The violence factor is quite low, and even when the villains get their comeuppance in the final chapter, Quinn handles it quickly without much muss. Leisure calls THE UNDERTAKER "rollicking adventure with the wildest secret agent since James Bond," which isn't true in the slightest, but it is a fast, fun read.

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