Sunday, April 4, 2021

#20: Agent Counter-Agent by Nick Carter

Killmaster Nick Carter gets captured and brainwashed by Soviet agents intent on disrupting a South American conference in Agent Counter-Agent, penned by hard-working pulp writer Ralph Hayes.

Hayes has written across all genres from men's adventure to western to romance over a long period of time.  He did a handful in this extensive spy series that I read steadily as a teenager and have decided to revisit here and there with adult eyes.

At the time, I did not know Nick Carter was not a single person but a large cadre of writers, generally thought to have worked with mixed results.  Even as a teenager I thought some were markedly better than others.

This one has a pretty rickety plot, where the spies break into the AXE training center to taunt Carter into catching them in their plans, which his espionage colleagues don't seem to believe for whatever reason.  Naturally it's a female double agent with a knockout lipstick that causes Carter's downfall.  Curiously, Carter is brainwashed into thinking he is an assassin pretending to be Nick Carter, a baroque ruse, and sent to kill the Venezuelan President and American Vice President. 

Fortunately his brainwashing is broken by a jet flying overhead, too complicated to explain, and is able to break the spy ring.

Definitely a second-tier spy novel, but written in an interesting enough way to give Hayes another try.  I got this one in a big batch of Nick Carters from a friend and have another Hayes standing by.

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