Nick Carter-Killmaster

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Nick Carter-Killmaster is a series of spy adventures published from 1964 until 1990, first by Award Books, then by Ace Books, and finally by Jove Books. At least 261 novels were published. The character is an update of a pulp fiction private detective named Nick Carter first published in 1886.

No actual author is credited for the books, with the Nick Carter name being used as a house pseudonym. Volumes varied between first person and third person narrative. Authors known to have contributed entries in the series are Michael Avallone, Valerie Moolman, Manning Lee Stokes and Martin Cruz Smith.[1]

The title character of the series serves as Agent N3 of AXE, a fictional spy agency for the United States government. The novels are similar to the literary James Bond novels - low on gadgets, high on action. Sexual encounters in particular are described in detail.

The Character[edit]

The definitive description of Nicholas J. Huntington Carter is given in the first novel in the series Run, Spy, Run. Carter is tall (over 6 feet / 1.83 m), lean and handsome with a classic profile and magnificently muscled body. He has wide-set steel gray eyes that are icy, cruel and dangerous. He is hard-faced, with a firm straight mouth, laugh-lines around the eyes, and a firm cleft chin. His hair is thick and dark. He has a small tattoo of a blue axe on the inside right lower arm near the elbow - the ultimate ID for an AXE agent. At least one novel states that the tattoo glows in the dark. Carter also has a knife scar on the shoulder, a shrapnel scar on the right thigh. He has a sixth sense for danger.

Carter practices yoga for at least 15 minutes a day. Carter has a prodigious ability for learning foreign languages. He is fluent in English (his native tongue), Cantonese,[2] French,[3] German,[3][4] Greek,[5] Hungarian,[6] Italian,[3] Portuguese,[7] Putonghua (Mandarin),[8] Russian,[8][9] Sanskrit,[10] Spanish[11] and Vietnamese.[12][13] He has basic skills in Arabic,[14] Hindustani,[15] Japanese, Korean,[16] Romansch,[3] Swahili,[14] and Turkish.[17] In the early novels, Carter often assumes a number of elaborate disguises in order to execute his missions.

The name Nick Carter was acknowledged by the series as having been inspired by the early 20th century pulp fiction detective of the same name in the 100th Killmaster volume (labelled Nick Carter 100) which included an essay on the earlier Nick Carter and included a Nick Carter detective short story alongside a Killmaster adventure.

Weapons and paraphernalia[edit]

Nick Carter uses three main weapons during the course of the series, all of which are named, and have histories. The gun, Wilhelmina, is a stripped down German Luger. In the earliest stories, Carter got the gun off a German officer during a harrowing mission during World War II. Later stories state that he has had a series of Lugers, all named Wilhelmina. The knife, Hugo, is a pearl-handled 400-year-old stiletto crafted by Benvenuto Cellini. The blade retracts into the handle, and the whole thing is worn on a special sheath on the wrist, designed to release the knife into the user's hand with a simple muscle contraction. The third member of the triad is Pierre, a poison gas bomb, which is a small egg-shaped device, usually carried in a pocket but sometimes as a "third testicle" at his scrotum. Activated with a simple twist, it would, within seconds, kill anybody, or anything, that breathed its odorless and colorless gas.

Carter often takes with him other weapons as the mission demands. These have included:

Carter has used a variety of equipment in the novels most of which have nicknames. These have included:


The agency Carter works for is described as being smaller and far more secret than the CIA, mostly concerned with assassinations. In the first novel of the series, Run, Spy, Run, AXE is described as "the trouble-shooting arm of the US secret services". AXE headquarters are located in the 6th floor offices of a building in DuPont Circle, Washington, DC under the cover of the Amalgamated Press and Wire Service. AXE is purported to contain several different departments with specific functions including Editing (later called "Special Effects and Editing") - headed by Mr. Poindexter - which, among other things, creates false biographies for agents and provides appropriate props (e.g. fake latex fingerprints); Documents - whose role is to plant stories in the media to support specific activities and create false identification and travel documents; Records - which provides background information on suspects; and Operations - which provides logistic support for specific missions. AXE has a branch office near Columbus Circle, New York and affiliate offices in countries around the world.

Agents are given code designations; Carter's N3, which has at least once been stated as standing for Number three, identifies him as one of the elite Killmasters. It has been stated in some novels that there are 4 Killmasters in AXE with Carter the most senior.[18] The meaning of the code N3 is described differently in different novels - sometimes it is Carter's personal designation, other times it is considered a rank, with N1 being the highest, in other novels we are told that Carter is the third Killmaster to have worked for AXE with both his predecessors having been killed in action. David Hawk, described in early novels as looking a lot like Uncle Sam, is the head of AXE and Carter's personal boss. Della Stokes, Hawk's personal secretary, is a character similar to Bond's Miss Moneypenny - flirtatious but serious. Ginger Bateman is Hawk's personal secretary in later novels. Geoffrey Poindexter, AXE's equivalent to Q, runs the Special Effects and Editing department, in charge of weapons, gadgets, disguises, and papers.

AXE Agents[edit]

In the first novel in the series (Run, Spy, Run), AXE is described as comprising 24 agents. They are identified by alphanumeric code. The following agents / codes have been described:
A2 Unnamed (mentioned in "Hanoi")
A4 Unnamed (mentioned in "Fraulein Spy")
A7 Alec Greenberg (based in AXE London office, mentioned in "The Weapon of Night")
A12 using pseudonym "Alfred" (mentioned in "Fraulein Spy")
A24 Unnamed (mentioned in "Run, Spy, Run")
B5 (mentioned in "Hanoi")
B12 Unnamed but further nicknamed "Vitamin" (mentioned in "Fraulein Spy")
C4 Unnamed (mentioned in "Fraulein Spy")
D5 Dan Eiger (based in Iraq, killed in "The Weapon of Night")
E14 Red Turner (mentioned in "A Bullet for Fidel")
H19 Hakim Sadek (Egyptian policeman and academic, mentioned in "The Weapon of Night")
K7 Unnamed (mentioned in "Run, Spy, Run")
J2 Unnamed - briefs Carter on his trip to Japan (mentioned in "The China Doll")
J20 Jean Paul Turnier (mentioned in "The Terrible Ones")
N1 Unnamed (stated killed in "The Red Guard")
N1 Stuart Hample (mentioned in "The Peking Dossier (1975)")
N1 David Hawk (in "Trouble in Paradise (1978)")
N1 Theodore Salonikos (dies in "Hide And Go Die (1983)")
N2 Unnamed (stated killed in "The Red Guard")
N3 Nick Carter
N5 McLaughlin (mentioned in "Dr. Death (1975)")
N6 Joe Banks (stated dead in "Six Bloody Summer Days (1975)")
N7 (stated dead in "Hide And Go Die (1983)")
N12 John Sparks (mentioned in "Under the Wall (1978)") (stated dead in "Hide And Go Die (1983)")
N17 Dennis Gordon (dies in "The Golden Bull (1981)")
N17 Bill Qualley (mentioned in "Hide And Go Die (1983)")
N30 Kiki Pederson (dies in "Trouble in Paradise (1978)")
P3 David Trainor (murdered in "A Bullet for Fidel")
P4 Unnamed, described as a mole in the Kremlin (mentioned in "Safari for Spies")
Q7 Ellie Harmon, briefs Carter on his mission in "Hanoi"
Z4 Zeke, works in AXE Psycho Lab, featured in "Hanoi"


N.B. the listing here is in series order (not necessarily by publication date, which is given)

  1. Run, Spy, Run (Feb 1964) by Michael Avallone/Valerie Moolman
  2. The China Doll (Apr 1964) by Michael Avallone/Valerie Moolman
  3. Checkmate in Rio (May 1964) by Valerie Moolman
  4. Safari for Spies (Aug 1964) by Valerie Moolman
  5. Fraulein Spy (Oct 1964) by Valerie Moolman
  6. Saigon (Dec 1964) by Michael Avallone/Valerie Moolman
  7. A Bullet for Fidel (Mar 1965) by Valerie Moolman
  8. The 13th Spy (May 1965) by Valerie Moolman
  9. The Eyes of the Tiger (Sept 1965) by Manning Lee Stokes
  10. Istanbul (Oct 1965) by Manning Lee Stokes
  11. Web of Spies (Jan 1966) by Manning Lee Stokes
  12. Spy Castle (Jan 1966) by Manning Lee Stokes
  13. The Terrible Ones (May 1966) by Valerie Moolman
  14. Dragon Flame (May 1966) by Manning Lee Stokes
  15. Hanoi (1966) by Valerie Moolman
  16. Danger Key (1966) by Lew Louderback
  17. Operation Starvation (1966) by Nicholas Browne
  18. The Mind Poisoners (1966) by Lionel White/Valerie Moolman
  19. The Weapon of Night (1967) by Valerie Moolman
  20. The Golden Serpent (1967) by Manning Lee Stokes
  21. Mission to Venice (1967) by Manning Lee Stokes
  22. Double Identity (1967) by Manning Lee Stokes
  23. The Devil's Cockpit (1967) by Manning Lee Stokes
  24. The Chinese Paymaster (1967) by Nicholas Browne
  25. Seven Against Greece (1967) by Nicholas Browne
  26. A Korean Tiger (1967) by Manning Lee Stokes
  27. Assignment: Israel (1967) by Manning Lee Stokes
  28. The Red Guard (1967) by Manning Lee Stokes
  29. The Filthy Five (1967) by Manning Lee Stokes
  30. The Bright Blue Death (1968) by Nicholas Browne
  31. Macao (1968) by Manning Lee Stokes
  32. Operation: Moon Rocket (1968) by Lew Louderback
  33. Judas Spy (1968) by William L Rhodes
  34. Hood of Death (1968) by William L Rhodes
  35. Temple Of Fear (1968) by Manning Lee Stokes
  36. Amsterdam (1968) by William L Rhodes
  37. 14 Seconds to Hell (1968) by Jon Messmann
  38. The Defector (1969) by George Snyder
  39. Carnival for Killing (1969) by Jon Messmann
  40. Rhodesia (1969) by William L Rhodes
  41. The Red Rays (1969) by Manning Lee Stokes
  42. Peking-Tulip Affair (1969) by Arnold Marmor
  43. The Amazon (1969) by Jon Messmann
  44. Sea Trap (1969) by Jon Messmann
  45. Berlin (1969) by Jon Messmann
  46. The Human Time Bomb (1969) by William L Rhodes
  47. The Cobra Kill (1969) by Manning Lee Stokes
  48. The Living Death (1969) by Jon Messmann
  49. Operation Che Guevara (1969) by Jon Messmann
  50. The Doomsday Formula (1969) by Jon Messmann
  51. Operation Snake (1969) by Jon Messmann
  52. The Casbah Killers (1969) by Jon Messmann
  53. The Arab Plague (a.k.a. The Slavemaster in U.K.) (1970) by Jon Messmann
  54. Red Rebellion (1970) by Jon Messmann
  55. The Executioners (1971) by Jon Messmann
  56. Black Death (1970) by Manning Lee Stokes
  57. Mind Killers (1970) by Jon Messmann
  58. Time Clock of Death (1970) by George Snyder
  59. Cambodia (1970) by George Snyder
  60. The Death Strain (1970) by Jon Messmann
  61. Jewel of Doom (1970) by George Snyder
  62. Moscow (1970) by George Snyder
  63. Ice Bomb Zero (1971) by George Snyder
  64. Mark of Cosa Nostra (1971) by George Snyder
  65. The Cairo Mafia (1972) by Ralph Eugene Hayes
  66. Inca Death Squad (1972) by Martin Cruz Smith
  67. Assault on England (1972) by Ralph Eugene Hayes
  68. The Omega Terror (1972) by Ralph Eugene Hayes
  69. Code Name: Werewolf (1973) by Martin Cruz Smith
  70. Strike Force Terror (1973) by Ralph Eugene Hayes
  71. Target: Doomsday Island (1973) By Ralph Hubbard
  72. Night of the Avenger (1973) by Chet Cunningham
  73. Butcher of Belgrade (1973) by Ralph Eugene Hayes / Larry Powell
  74. Assassination Brigade (1973) by Thomas Chastain
  75. The Liquidator (1973) by Ralph Hubbard
  76. The Devil's Dozen (1973) by Martin Cruz Smith
  77. The Code (1973) by Larry Powell
  78. Agent Counter-Agent (1975) by Ralph Eugene Hayes
  79. Hour of the Wolf (1973) by Jeffrey Wallman
  80. Our Agent in Rome is Missing (1973) by Al Hine
  81. The Kremlin File (1973) by Willis T Ballard
  82. Spanish Connection (1973) by Bruce Cassidy
  83. Death's Head Conspiracy (1973) by Robert Colby
  84. The Peking Dossier (1973) by Linda Stewart
  85. Ice-trap Terror (1974) by Jeffrey Wallman
  86. Assassin: Code Name Vulture (1974) by Ralph Eugene Hayes
  87. Massacre in Milan (1974) by Al Hine
  88. Vatican Vendetta (1974) by George Snyder / Ralph Eugene Hayes
  89. Sign of the Cobra (1974) by James Fritxhand
  90. The Man Who Sold Death (1974) by Lawrence VanGelder
  91. The N3 Conspiracy (1974) by Dennis Lynds
  92. Beirut Incident (1974) by Forrest V Perrin
  93. Death of the Falcon (1974) by Jim Bowser
  94. The Aztec Avenger (1974) by Saul Wernick
  95. The Jerusalem File (1975) by Linda Stewart
  96. Counterfeit Agent (1975) by Douglas Marland
  97. Six Bloody Summer Days (1975) by DeWitt S Copp
  98. The Katmandu Contract (1975) by Jim Bowser
  99. The Z Document (1975) by Homer H Morris
  100. Dr. Death (1975) by Craig Nova
  101. The Ultimate Code (1975) by William Odell
  102. Death Message: Oil 74-2 (1976) by Dee Stuart / Ansel Chapin
  103. The List (1976) by Jim Bowser
  104. The Fanatics of Al Asad (1976) by Saul Wernick
  105. Assignment: Intercept (1976) by Marilyn Granbeck
  106. Green Wolf Connection (1976) by Dennis Lynds
  107. The Snake Flag Conspiracy (1976) by Saul Wernick
  108. The Turncoat (1976) by Leon Lazarus
  109. The Sign of the Prayer Shawl (1976) by David Hagberg
  110. The Vulcan Disaster (1976) by George Warren
  111. A High Yield in Death (1976) by Jim Bowser
  112. The Nichovev Plot (1976) by Craig Nova
  113. Triple Cross (1976) by Dennis Lynds
  114. The Gallagher Plot (1976) by Saul Wernick
  115. Plot for the Fourth Reich (1977) by Bob Latona
  116. Revenge of the Generals (1978) by Saul Wernick
  117. Under the Wall (1978) by DeWitt S Copp
  118. The Ebony Cross (1978) by Jack Canon
  119. Deadly Doubles (1978) by Lawrence VanGelder
  120. Race of Death (1978) by David Hagberg
  121. Trouble in Paradise (1978) by Robert Derek Steeley
  122. Pamplona Affair (1978) by Dee Stuart/Ansel Chapin
  123. The Doomsday Spore (1979) by George Warren
  124. The Asian Mantrap (1979) by William Odell
  125. Thunderstrike in Syria (1979) By Joseph Rosenberger
  126. The Redolmo Affair (1979) by Jack Canon
  127. The Jamaican Exchange (1979) by Leon Lazarus
  128. Tropical Deathpact (1979) by Bob Stokesberry
  129. The Pemex Chart (1979) by Dwight V Swain
  130. Hawaii (1979) by Daniel C Prince
  131. The Satan Trap (1979) by Jack Canon
  132. Reich Four (1979) by Fred Huber
  133. The Nowhere Weapon (1979) by William Odell
  134. Strike Of The Hawk (Jan 1980) [19] by Joseph L Gilmore
  135. Day Of The Dingo (Apr 1980) by John Stevenson[disambiguation needed]
  136. And Next The King (May 1980) by Steve Simmons
  137. Tarantula Strike (Jun 1980) by Dan Reardon
  138. Ten Times Dynamite (Jul 1980) by Frank Adduci jr
  139. Eighth Card Stud (Aug 1980) by Robert E. Vardeman
  140. Suicide Seat (Sept 1980) by George Warren
  141. Death Mission: Havana (Oct 1980) by Ron Felber
  142. War From The Clouds (Nov 1980) by Joseph L Gilmore
  143. Turkish Bloodbath (Dec 1980) by Jerry Ahern
  144. The Coyote Connection (Feb 1981) by Bill Crider/Jack Davis[disambiguation needed]
  145. The Q Man (Mar 1981) by John Stevenson[disambiguation needed]
  146. The Society Of Nine (Apr 1981) by Jack Canon
  147. The Ouster Conspiracy (May 1981) by David Hagberg
  148. The Golden Bull (Jun 1981) by John Stevenson[disambiguation needed]
  149. The Dubrovnik Massacre (Jul 1981) by Henry Rasof/Stephen Williamson
  150. The Solar Menace (Aug 1981) by Robert E. Vardeman
  151. The Strontium Code (Sept 1981) by David Hagberg
  152. Pleasure Island (Oct 1981) by Robert J Randisi
  153. Cauldron Of Hell (Nov 1981) by Mike Jahn
  154. The Parisian Affair (Dec 1981) by H Edward Husenburger
  155. Chessmaster (Jan 1982) by Robert J Randisi
  156. The Last Samurai (Feb 1982) by Bruce Algozin
  157. The Puppet Master (Mar 1982) by David Hagberg
  158. The Dominican Affair (Mar 1982) by David Hagberg
  159. The Damocles Threat (Mar 1982) by David Hagberg
  160. Earth Shaker (Mar 1982) by Robert E. Vardeman
  161. The Treason Game (Mar 1982) by Joseph L Gilmore
  162. Deathlight (Mar 1982) by Jerry Ahern
  163. The Israeli Connection (Mar 1982) by Robert Derek Steeley
  164. Norwegian Typhoon (Apr 1982) by Robert E. Vardeman
  165. The Hunter (May 1982) by David Hagberg
  166. Operation: McMurdo Sound (Jun 1982) by David Hagberg
  167. Appointment In Haiphong (Jul 1982) by David Hagberg
  168. Retreat For Death (Aug 1982) by David Hagberg
  169. The Mendoza Manuscript (Sep 1982) by Robert J Randisi
  170. The Death Star Affair (Oct 1982) by Jack Canon
  171. Doctor DNA (Nov 1982) by Robert E. Vardeman
  172. The Christmas Kill (Dec 1982) by Joseph L Gilmore
  173. The Greek Summit (Jan 1983) by Robert J Randisi
  174. The Outback Ghosts (March 1983) by Robert E. Vardeman
  175. Hide And Go Die (1983) by Jack Canon
  176. The Kali Death Cult (May 1983) by Robert E. Vardeman
  177. Operation Vendetta (1983) by Joseph L Gilmore
  178. The Yukon Target (July 1983) by Robert E. Vardeman
  179. The Death Dealer (1983) by Jack Canon
  180. The Istanbul Decision (1983) by David Hagberg
  181. The Decoy Hit (1983) by Robert J Randisi
  182. Earthfire North (1983) by David Hagberg
  183. The Budapest Run (1983) by Jack Canon
  184. Caribbean Coup (1984) by Robert J Randisi
  185. The Algarve Affair (1984) by Jack Canon
  186. Zero-Hour Strike Force (1984) by David Hagberg
  187. Operation Sharkbite (1984) by Jack Canon
  188. Death Island (1984) by David Hagberg
  189. Night of the Warheads (1984) by Jack Canon
  190. Day of the Mahdi (1984) by Gayle Lynds
  191. Assignment: Rio (1984) by Jack Canon
  192. Death Hand Play (1984) by David Hagberg
  193. The Kremlin Kill (1984) Jack Canon
  194. The Mayan Connection (1984) by Gayle Lynds
  195. San Juan Inferno (1984) by Joseph L Gilmore
  196. Circle of Scorpions (1985) by Jack Canon
  197. The Blue Ice Affair (1985) by Ron Felber
  198. The Macao Massacre (1985) by Jack Canon
  199. Pursuit of the Eagle (1985) by Gayle Lynds
  200. The Vengeance Game (1985) by David Hagberg
  201. Last Flight to Moscow (1985) by Joseph L Gilmore
  202. The Normandy Code (1985) by Jack Canon
  203. White Death (1985) by Gayle Lynds
  204. The Assassin Convention (1985) by Joseph L Gilmore
  205. Blood of the Scimitar (1985) by Jack Canon
  206. The Execution Exchange (1985) by Dennis Lynds
  207. The Tarlov Cipher (1985) by Jack Canon
  208. Target Red Star (1985) by Jack Canon
  209. The Killing Ground (1985) by David Hagberg
  210. The Berlin Target (1986) by Jack Canon
  211. Mercenary Mountain (1986) by Dennis Lynds
  212. Blood Ultimatum (1986) by Ron Felber
  213. The Cyclops Conspiracy (1986) by Dennis Lynds
  214. Tunnel for Traitors (1986) by Jack Canon
  215. The Samurai Kill (1986) by Dennis Lynds
  216. Terror Times Two (1986) by Jack Canon
  217. Death Orbit (1986) by David Hagberg
  218. Slaughter Day (1986) by Jack Canon
  219. The Master Assassin (1986) by Dennis Lynds
  220. Operation Petrograd (1986) by David Hagberg
  221. Crossfire Red (1987) by Jack Canon
  222. Blood of the Falcon (1987) By Dennis Lynds
  223. Death Squad (1987) by Jack Canon
  224. The Terror Code (1987) by Jack Canon
  225. Holy War (1987) by Jack Canon
  226. Blood Raid (1987) by Jack Canon
  227. East of Hell (1987) by David Hagberg
  228. Killing Games (1987) by Jack Canon
  229. Terms of Vengeance (1987) by Jack Canon
  230. Pressure Point (1987) by Jack Garside
  231. Night of the Condor (1987)
  232. The Poseidon Target (1987) by Jack Canon
  233. The Andropov File (1988) by Jack Garside
  234. Dragonfire (1988) by David Hagberg
  235. Bloodtrail to Mecca (1988) by Jack Canon
  236. Deathstrike (1988) by Jack Garside
  237. Lethal Prey (1988) by David Hagberg
  238. Spykiller (1988) by David Hagberg
  239. Bolivan Heat (1988) by Jack Canon
  240. The Rangoon Man (1988) by Jack Canon
  241. Code Name Cobra (1988) by Jack Canon
  242. Afghan Intercept (1988) by Jack Garside
  243. Countdown to Armageddon (1988) by Jack Canon
  244. Black Sea Bloodbath (1988) by Jack Garside
  245. The Deadly Diva (1989) by Jack Canon
  246. Invitation to Death (1989) by David Hagberg
  247. Day of the Assassin (1989) by Jack Canon
  248. The Korean Kill (1989) Jack Canon
  249. Middle East Massacre (1989) by Jack Canon
  250. Sanction to Slaughter (1989) by Jack Garside
  251. Holiday in Hell (1989) by Jack Canon
  252. Law of the Lion (1989) by Shelly Loewenkopf
  253. Hong Kong Hit (1989) by Jack Canon
  254. Deep Sea Death (1989) by Jack Garside
  255. Arms of Vengeance (1989) by Shelly Loewenkopf
  256. Hell-Bound Express (1989) by Jack Canon
  257. Isle of Blood (1989) by Jack Canon
  258. Singapore Sling (1990) by Jack Garside
  259. Ruby Red Death(1990) by Jack Garside
  260. Arctic Abduction (1990) by Jack Garside
  261. Dragon Slay (1990) by Jack Canon

See also[edit]