Friday, February 8, 2008

John Eagle-Expeditor #13 - Operation Weatherkill

John Eagle-Expeditor #13-Operation Weatherkill by Paul Edwards.
Pyramid V3874, Copyright 1975


With all the elite, adventure, hero types the paperback publishers were spitting out in the 70s, it’s amazing they weren’t bumping into each other around the world. “Operation Weatherkill” is number 13 in the 14 book Expeditor series. A little heard of series, that turns out to be surprisingly enjoyable.

John Eagle is the first and only agent for the Expeditor Project. It’s a program run and financed by a special U.S. government group to insure the survival of the free world. Eagle, who came from an Apache upbringing, has been trained and equipped to take on any threat from evil forces.

A secret organization has developed a technical way to control the weather in any location they choose. They can produce rainstorms for days, which create floods, disease, and crop destruction. This in turn causes an economic disaster for the countries targeted. Nations are blackmailed to pay up in gold or the disasters will continue. After a couple of strikes in America, the leader of the Expeditor Project gives John Eagle the mission to locate and destroy the threat. Eagle traces the location to a Slavic island called Sveti Hvar, and quick discovers that a Turkish millionaire named Ferit Sunay is the leader of Operation Weatherkill and his goal is to bring back the great Turkish Empire. On the island Eagle bumps into a beautiful, blond, nymphomaniac, Soviet agent, who is on a similar mission for Russia. They agree to team up to destroy Sunay and Operation Weatherkill. They make an effective team, slowly eliminating some of Sunay’s men and also in some vigorous lovemaking. Finally the duo sets out to destroy the operation’s headquarters, which is an old castle on the island. Later Eagle discovers that the cold-blooded, female KGB agent wants a few of the secrets for her government and risks both their lives to kidnap the lead scientist. At the end, the two of them enter the castle headquarters to complete the mission and only one comes out.

“Eagle squeezed the soundless trigger. The steel-vaned dart entered the man’s skull with a sound like an arrow sinking into a melon. He dropped in his tracks.”

I guess I am drawn to these paperbacks because I get nostalgic for these old Cold War stories, where the KGB and CIA are playing cat and mouse. Eagle is a fairly well-oiled machine. He has been well trained and has some neat gadgets that he uses on missions. He has a high-powered pistol that fires deadly darts, a specially designed suit that allows him to blend into any background, and even a one-man nuclear submarine. As in most of these numbered series books; there is a lacking of character depth and realistic plot development. But these paperbacks weren’t about that; these were about action entertainment for men, which is how they should be read. This may not be for everyone and there is nothing new here, but I still enjoyed reading the paperback. Not to be taken too seriously, just to sit back and have some fun.

Paul Edwards is actually Lyle Kenyon Engel (1915-1986) who used many pseudos. He is credited as the author of “The Baroness” series, “The Chopper Cop” series, and others using the name Paul Kenyon. But he did not actually author these books; instead he commissioned others to write them. I guess you would call him a “paperback production manager.”

Expeditor - Paul Edwards

  1. Needles of Death
  2. The Brain Scavengers
  3. The Laughing Death
  4. The Fist of Fatima
  5. Valley of Vultures
  6. The Glyphs of Gold
  7. The Ice Goddess
  8. The Death Devils
  9. The Deadly Cyborgs
  10. The Holocaust Auction
  11. Poppies of Death
  12. The Green Goddess
  13. Operation Weatherkill
  14. Silverskull

10 comments:

Steve Lewis said...

I didn't believe that anyone but me remembered these Expeditor books, except probably for Bill Crider, who remembers everything I do and more.

Blonde nymphomaniac Russian agents were all the rage back then. I wonder if they're still around.

As for Lyle Kenyon Engel, I'm sure he never did any writing himself. He was only the packager for many many men's adventure series like this one, and for western and Americana series as well.

The authors who really did the writing for the Paul Edwards books were Robert Lory, Manning Lee Stokes, and Paul Eiden.

Eiden also did some of the Don Romano books. Maybe you have some of those up your sleeve for us soon?

AndyDecker said...

The Expeditor series had a distinct James Bond movie vibe. The boss of the Oraganisation, super-rich and sitting in a wheelchair, namend Mr. Merlin and living in a vulcano in Hawaii - you can´t get more pulpier. Or derivative. Just the cat was missing :-)

But the series was a lot of fun. Awful covers, but they used to deliver. At least the first ones. The later ones were a bit lame, as I seem to recall. Have not read them in ages.

The blonde nymphomanic russian agents are grandmothers today and working in the cafeteria of whatever the KGB is called this year :-)

August West said...

Just was digging in my boxes and discovered I have 10 of the 14 in the series. Brought back some memories. My favorite might be "The Deadly Cyborgs." If I remember there was a Chinese doctor in Tibet who was transforming humans into abominable snowmen-Yetis. He captured an English girl to alter into a female Yeti and she was always naked and in chains. Who thinks this stuff up? Gotta love it!

Bruce said...

I've got two of the series that I picked up a few weeks ago. They will be moved up in the reading rotation.

Juri said...

I read one of these and remember it being pretty bad. But then it was a Finnish translation, which may've been bad.

Andrew Byers said...

Just discovered your blog this morning when looking for some information on the John Eagle - Expeditor series. Great blog and great review of the book. You convinced me to buy a set of these books from a seller on eBay (picked up the first ten in the series for $15). I will definitely continue reading your reviews. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Just saw this post. Lyle Kenyon Engel was a "Book Packager," and in fact made John Jakes into a bestselling author by commissioning him to write The Bastard.

Bob Randisi

Christel said...

I am a volunteer for the Friends of the Escondido Library and we just listed the complete "Expeditor" series on ebay. Starting at only $9.99 ebay item # 150356034372

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150356034372

Please take a look!

The White Wolf said...

Hmmm. Lyle Kenyon Engel holds the copyright to the book I'm currently reading, KILLER AT LARGE, a 1975 rape-sploitation novel by DON BANNON. A truly awesome read.

August said...

The Baroness by "Paul kenyon" was actually written by Donald Moffitt, according to some very knowledgeable researchers/fans at

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheBaroness/

The books are arguably ahead of its time as the spy series featured a sexy female spy, with violence and sex above the usual stuff found in other spy action thrillers.