Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Vs. The Black Widow

Anthony Nicholas Twin returns in RITUAL OF BLOOD, the sixth in Charter's bizarre TNT series of paperback adventures and the fifth I have read (THE DEVIL'S CLAW is what I need to complete my collection). If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know that the TNT novels are the strangest I've ever read—bizarre fantasies that usually involve the hero negotiating his way through a kinky maze-like deathtrap using his superpowers. In TNT, journalist Twin was caught in a nuclear explosion that intensified his senses of touch, smell, sight and, uh, sex. Yep, he can sustain an erection for hours, hell, days even, which is the power that normally gets the most use in these novels.

Nothing in the earlier TNT novels can be taken seriously, which is why it's odd that RITUAL OF BLOOD is the most conventional I've read so far. Not conventional for regular adventure novels, but certainly so for a TNT. The six richest men in the world have disappeared and their bank accounts have been drained. All six recently married a beautiful woman, who has also since vanished. Yep, a black widow and her 7-foot bearded lesbian lover have masterminded a deadly plot to marry, kill, inherit, you know the drill.

Another billionaire enlists the aid of fussy Arnold Benedict to set a trap for the black widow, and of course Benedict's first thought is to recruit Twin to pose as a potential victim. Meanwhile, TNT is already on the case, as one of the victims was a good friend whose children were murdered in front of him.

I don't want to make RITUAL OF BLOOD sound too normal, as it does feature a bizarre maze hidden inside a Broadway museum in which Twin must navigate hallways slowly filling with fast-drying plaster, a sex scene on a bed of one-way glass dangling from a helicopter over the New York skyline, a climactic battle in and around a castle located in the Arizona desert, and TNT's battle with a family of inbred spider-men. So, yes, the aforementioned word "conventional" is relative, though it also accounts for RITUAL OF BLOOD being the least interesting TNT novel to date. It just isn't crazy enough.

As for whom author Doug Master is, no telling. I noticed in the indicia a line that reads "Translated by Victoria Reiter," so perhaps the TNT books were originally printed in a foreign language.


Andrew Byers said...

Another great TNT review, thanks! Nice catch on the Victoria Reiter translation. A quick Google check didn't turn up any interesting tidbits about TNT. She's translated a number of other books from various languages into English and she battled cancer in the late '90s, but that's about all I could turn up. It's odd she doesn't want to loudly proclaim her affiliation with the TNT novels.... :)

Anonymous said...

According to Al Hubin's CRIME FICTION IV, Doug Masters was a French writer named Pierre Rey, who died in 2006. For more on Rey, see his obituary at



Anonymous said...

these books are amazing (i've read 'em all) and the last two are probably the best.

i love all the reoccurring characters-Benedict, The Titan, Rawlish, Corrie.

but who would play TNT in the film? Jeffrey Jones would make a decent Benedict.


Anonymous said...

To correct an error in my previous post, Al Hubin has discovered that the Pierre Rey who wrote the TNT books is not the same Pierre Rey whose obituary I cited.

I still believe that the correct Pierre Rey is French (and so were the books, originally) but some more investigation is in order, it appears.

-- Steve

Marty McKee said...

Thanks for the detective work, Steve!

Anonymous said...

If the original work was in french it is nowhere to be found on the internet. I really enjoyed TNT the spiral of death, and i remember reading it in french, in my dad's collection altough I am looking for more in french and cannot find any.
if anyone knows where to find these books in french please let me know.

Joe Kenney said...

To clarify all posts --

TNT was originally published in France from 1978 to 1980, and it was written under the name Michael Borgia.

Michael Borgia is a psuedonym of the authors Pierre Rey and Loup Durand.