Monday, June 30, 2008

Strike Force 7 by Ian MacAlister

Strike Force 7 by Ian MacAlister
Fawcett Gold Medal M2971,
Copyright 197

"There were only a few passes through the cliffs this high up. By morning there were going to be troops, ambushing every one of them. Tomorrow was going to be hell."

In a three year period in the 70s, Marvin Albert using the pseud. Ian MacAlister, wrote four top shelf adventure novels. They all take place in dangerous locations, they are full of intrigue, and the plots involve extreme risks. The main character is usually a mercenary or ex-commando with a shady past that accepts to lead a mission with a handful of other professionals, some of which you wouldn't invite to your home for dinner.

My favorite is "Strike Force 7", which takes place in Morocco and its vast surrounding desert locations. Canadian gunrunner Earl Jarrell is completing his prison term in a Marseilles hell-hole and needs cash for the future, he's not getting any younger. He gets offered a job, "his last mission", to lead a team of his choosing to rescue an American millionaire's wife and daughter from a violent Arab political revolutionary group. He assembles an experienced team of professional killers, calculates a forceful plan of action, and Jarrell leads them out. There is a short timeline for the rescue, so the action is fast and explosive. Albert creates a prodigious atmosphere in the novel, and the reader can feel the sand in his nostrils and sweat running down his back. All characters are strongly portrayed, along with their psychological and physical features. There is a well developed relationship between Jarrell and A.P. reporter Nora Devlin, who gets involved with the mission. The reader expects this relationship to evolve into a romantic one, instead Marvin Albert leads us to one of appreciation, respect and understanding. And it works perfectly....

Nora Devlin shrugged. "You sell arms and yourself to any side that pays. In Katanga, they said you'd sell yourself to both sides at the same time, if you could."
Jarrell laughed softly. "That's true enough, So?"

Many authors were spitting out adventure thrillers in the 70s. Marvin Albert packed a high quality four punch during that time. "Strike Force 7" is my personal favorite, but all four are superb. The last chapter is truly touching and wonderfully written, It really reveals to the reader what a fine author Marvin Albert was.

Equally as good is "Driscoll's Diamonds." Another adventure thriller involving a mercenary (Driscoll), stolen diamonds, and a man called Royan who taught Driscoll everything he knows. The wicked Royan character is remarkable, as is the Middle East setting.

The four under Ian MacAlister are:

Skylark Mission (1973)
Driscoll's Diamonds (1973)
Strike Force 7 (1974)
Valley of the Assassins (1976)

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