Books by Jack M. Bickham

Released: July 1, 1994

What looks like a routine Davis Cup qualifying match in Caracas, Venezuela, turns into a routine political thriller when rebels stage a long-planned revolt to assassinate the president and, if necessary, disrupt the match. Reluctantly accepting the temporary cover assignment of team captain, tennis-pro-cum-spy Brad Davis (Double Fault, 1993, etc.) has his hands full even before the revolution. His heavily favored team acts like a bunch of misfits and losers (one of them has fallen victim to honey-pot pressure to throw his match); his patrician host Francisco D°az's sluttish daughter-in-law Trudi seems determined to take him to bed; Trudi's husband, Peter, and his brother Richard are obviously locked in a political feud. Finding his former London contact and lover, Linda Bennett, in town looks like Brad's only bright spot. But he blows his cover when he single-handedly repels a rebel assault on the D°az compound and gets caught spending too much quality time with Linda; both of them are promptly snatched by the ragtag forces of charismatic revolutionary Ram¢n Abrego. Luckily, a hint that the uprising was scheduled for this weekend brings government reprisals and the blessed sound of US warplanes. But wait: Even after the revolution is crushed, enough rebels survive to plot the death of the president, or of Brad, or of who knows who else. Top-flight tennis on clay courts, intercut with an appealingly amateurish terrorist mÇlange. You'll be glad to know that the rebels are squashed and the assassination aborted. But if you want the big story—whether Brad's boys pull off that qualifying match- -you'll just have to read the book. Read full book review >
DOUBLE FAULT by Jack M. Bickham
Released: July 1, 1993

Former tennis champ, Vietnam grunt, and CIA stringer Brad Smith (Breakfast at Wimbledon, 1991, etc.) finds himself harried by homicidally traumatized Vietnam combat vets. Over the years, a hit squad has been murdering the survivors of a particular infantry unit that fought at Quang Xi, site of a My Lai-style massacre of civilians. The latest victim is helicopter copilot Dave Wentworth, killed right after a fake Pentagon agent fools Smith into revealing his whereabouts. Last on the death-squad's list is pilot Kevin Green, who vanished after being repatriated from a Vietnamese POW camp. Smith, besieged by uncommunicative FBI, CIA, and Pentagon agents, learns that Green witnessed the massacre, then allowed the guilty GIs to stumble into a Viet Cong ambush. Will the hit squad's last hope—deranged, cancer-riddled Arnie Tubb—get to Smith before Smith can locate Green? Meanwhile, the narrative—alternating between first person (Smith) and omniscient author (dimwitted agents; pathetic, rather than threatening, vets; government bigwigs)—generates no tension or momentum, and precious little intrigue. Altogether a bloated, mediocre farrago; Brad Smith isn't the first spook to look threadbare in the absence of reliable, Evil Empire KGB opposition. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 1991

Tennis pro, Vietnam combat vet, and CIA stringer Brad Smith (Overhead, p. 483, etc.) packs his whites and knee-brace and flies to London for the big match against John McEnroe and the IRA. John McEnroe, of course, has nothing to do with the Irish terrorists, but in order for former Wimbledon champion Smith to follow CIA orders to keep an eye on tennis-oriented terrorism, the aging, gimpy pro has to sign up for the tournament. It's no fun at first. Smith leaves behind his newly successful Montana tennis resort and his CIA-hating girlfriend and has to pair up with a steroid-pumped madman for the doubles. And, too, his rebuilt knee is killing him. Things begin to look up when he is teamed with a very capable, very pretty agent from the CIA's London office. And then the Wimbledon social season starts, and there are swell parties. But the Irish threat is no fake. An IRA splinter group is indeed planning to make a loud and damaging statement at the height of the tournament. And Sylvester, the Soviet agent who has dogged Smith's steps for years, plans to end his comeback before it gets started. Bombs, bullets, and poison gas fly—as do Mr. McEnroe's killer serves. Martina, Chris, Jimmy, Arthur, ESPN, and TRH the Duke and Duchess of York pop in and out, keeping things reasonably lively. Smith's game continues to improve. Read full book review >
OVERHEAD by Jack M. Bickham
Released: June 20, 1991

Tennis pro, Vietnam vet, and intelligence operative Brad Smith, who first served in Dropshot (1990), quits an irritating job in Texas to head for Montana, where his unusual skills are needed to open a new tennis resort and locate a murderous nearby secret agent. Well, whom else would you call to clean out the spies plaguing a mysterious Air Force lab just a backhand away from a troubled tennis camp? The debt-ridden sports resort, just bought by Smith's old tennis and spying pal Ted Treacher, provides the perfect cover for Smith—the only tennis-playing spy in America capable of recognizing his old archenemy Sylvester, the Soviet spy responsible for the death of Smith's late Yugoslavian tennis- playing wife. Sylvester, operating with a completely new face fresh from the plastic surgeon, is in Big Sky country to snatch a bit of strategic-defense technology from the research lab whose powerful secret electromagnetic pulses have been giving the local children leukemia. Also neighboring the resort is a secret toxic- waste dump owned by a beautiful but ruthless capitalist hussy who wants to close down the country club so she can get her toxic wastes back. Smith has to sort out all these secrets while cleaning up the financial and managerial mess his chum has made of what should be a fabulous destination for rich tennis players. Sylvester shoots at him, a sadistic deputy shoots at him, and Ivan Lendl shoots at him. Bodies pop out of the golf course. Credibility crushed in straight sets 6-2, 6-0, 6-1. Read full book review >