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Fast-paced but uninspired suspense nonsense about a buried cache of biological-warfare microbes. Joe Dugger has retired from the spy game at age 50 and just wants to relax in West Germany and take care of his blood pressure. But when an old Agency-mate shows up and tells him that the members of a certain past mission are being killed off, Joe sees that he's on the list too--and almost immediately there are two attempts on his life. Joe heads for CIA headquarters in Stuttgart but once there can't be sure that either the Agency or the FBI is playing fair with him and so goes into operation as a lone agent. Chief focus of his sleuthing: old colleague Peter La Fontaine, now a millionaire rocket builder, who has some mysterious interest in Marandaya, a black state in East Africa. Why is Peter apparently involved in the overthrow of Marandaya's leader Joseph Obutu, who is scheduled for assassination on a visit to Paris? Why? Because a vast Nazi cache of deadly microbes, once buried in underground chambers at Regensburg, along with many brand new Panzer tanks, is now buried in the world's deepest cave in Marandaya; and rocket missiles with bio-warfare warheads would be worth billions to Peter in sales to African states. . . . Bickham (The Excalibur Disaster, The Winemakers) tries to keep things convoluted, with subplots bouncing in Paris and N.Y. (where Marandaya's leading terrorist is addressing the UN)--but the primary appeal is to straight-action fans, as Joe spiffily fends off an endless supply of professional killers. Busy but threadbare, routine but painless.

Pub Date: March 14th, 1980
Publisher: Doubleday