Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The Sea Trap - Nick Carter Killmaster 44

The Sea Trap, published in 1969, was the 44th of the Nick Carter Killmaster novels.

Nick Carter as American as super-spy Agent N3 was the last of the radical re-inventions of a character dating back to the 19th century, with each new re-invention having zero connection to earlier versions.

This particular title was written by Jon Messmann. It begins with sleaze and sadism, and there will be more of both to come.

This time Nick is once again up against Judas, a villain who makes many appearances in the series. Judas has had major plastic surgery. His face has been reconstructed and he has a mechanical hand which is also a singe-shot pistol. He has acquired two very creepy henchmen. Harold is a scientific genius. He is also impotent and gets his jollies from torturing women. The Tartar is a huge Mongolian with the mind of a child but with insatiable sexual urges.

To keep Harold happy Judas has arranged a supply of women for him. The women are fooled into thinking they’re applying for a job looking after an elderly recluse who owns a private island in the Caribbean.

Judas has other things on his mind. His latest master plan involves stealing submarines from the navies of various powers, for the purposes of high-stakes international blackmail. He has now stolen a top-secret US research submarine, the X-88.

Nick has five days to get the X-88 back. AXE, the shadowy US intelligence agency that employs Nick, is convinced that Judas’s secret headquarters must be in the Caribbean (although I confess I still don’t understand how they came to that conclusion). Nick is off to the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean, his cover story being that he is part of a marine biological expedition.

Despite having only five days to accomplish his mission Nick finds time on the way to the Lesser Antilles to have sex with Betty Lou, a cute girl he met on the plane. She then disappears in circumstances that should have started alarm bells ringing in Nick’s heads, but he shrugs it off.

The leader of the marine biological expedition is of course a young beautiful lady scientist. Nick immediately sets out to seduce her.

Nick takes the expedition’s seaplane out to look for traces of the missing submarines. He encounters a rather battered ketch being sailed solo by a young woman named Joyce. Joyce’s sister vanished in circumstances eerily reminiscent of the disappearance of Betty Lou. Nick has picked up an important lead from Joyce. Naturally, despite being on a very tight schedule, he finds time to seduce her.

Joyce has also given Nick an idea as to how those submarines were hijacked. It’s a crazy idea and he has no evidence for it but he assumes it’s the correct explanation and of course it is. Nick’s ideas always turn out to be correct.

Nick is James Bond exaggerated almost to the point of parody but this is no spoof. We are expected to accept that Nick Carter is the most super of super-spies - tougher, smarter and more irresistible to women than regular super-spies. Nick Carter can bed more women in a weekend than James Bond can manage in a year.

Nick has an extraordinary fixation with breasts. Fortunately all the women he encounters have firm thrusting breasts and prominent nipples that are always erect. Almost every page of the novel contains something that will offend the over-sensitive and have them spluttering about how problematic and dated it all is. In 1969 nobody minded if a book was problematic as long as it was entertaining.

Judas is a very villainous creepy evil super-villain. Harold and Tartar are vicious nasty henchmen.

This is a very sleazy novel with a brutal edge to it. It’s also a very exciting and relentlessly fast-paced novel. There’s some underwater action as well, always a major bonus in my opinion.

The Sea Trap really is very pulpy and hugely enjoyable. Highly recommended.

I’ve reviewed other Nick Carter Killmaster novels - the excellent The Bright Blue Death, The Executioners (also by Jon Messmann and also featuring underwater action), the slightly disappointing The Mind Poisoners, the outrageous Web of Spies and the fine Spy Castle.

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