Full Name: General Richard LeGrande
Nationality: American
Organization: Genops
Occupation Spymaster

Creator: Irwin R. Blacker
Time Span: 1960 - 1967

       Richard LeGrande is a spymaster with the American intelligence organization known as GENOPS.
       GENOPS is an amalgam for General Operations, a very secret part of the intel community formed in the late 50’s and tasked with “covert violence – guerrilla warfare, sabotage, assassination and other unpleasant activities.” It is treated much like a pariah by the other more respectable governmental agencies, including the CIA, and it is often finding itself in danger of being dismantled or absorbed by the bigger boys. Then very nasty events around the world would remind the higher powers how important having a group like GENOPS is to a country that wants to play nice but which has to deal with many groups who do not.
       Leading GENOPS since its beginning is Major General LeGrande, a man in his early 50’s with hair just now showing the signs of aging but with a physique not yet affected and a mind that keen enough to keep many operations around the world straight and ongoing. LeGrande was a retired military commander who had learned the horrors of war first hand during WWII. It was there that he received his first star, being informed of the promotion during a conflagration in which he was the youngest divisional commander in the field. He earned his second star when he was brought home from Korea, a vote of confidence and a thanks for excellent service.
       Helping him run the department are several highly capable people who had earned their own share of medals and commendations. Highest on this list would be Janet Garner. While she had not served in combat, she had earned her unofficial rank through years of dedicated work in the halls and offices of Washington’s bureaucracy and it was said that no one understood how to deal with that nefarious underground world quite as well as Garner. She was GENOPS personnel officer and close advisor to LeGrande on all matters of operation. She had been such since the creation of the department and had been LeGrande’s mistress for nearly as long.
       The highly select group of operatives who worked for GENOPS and LeGrande dealt with problems all over the world. In the four published adventures, the regions of action included North Vietnam, Afghanistan, East Germany, and several African nations. News of the activities of these people could not be released to the general public because the U.S. was not supposed to do such things but they were done and under LeGrande’s strict guidance, they were done well.


Number of Books:4
First Appearance:1960
Last Appearance:1967

1 The Kilroy Gambit The Kilroy Gambit
Written by Irwin R. Blacker
Copyright: 1960

A shipment of arms to be hidden in Afghanistan ends up in Soviet hands. As GENOPS director Richard LeGrande tries to put out the fires in Washington, his agent in the Middle East tries to uncover the truth and find who went rogue.

2 Chain of Command Chain of Command
Written by Irwin R. Blacker
Copyright: 1965

Four different sources indicate Soviet troops are massing along the European border but the Pentagon does not agree. When Richard LeGrande presses the point, others use the opportunity to try and close Genops for good. Meanwhile, LeGrande knows war might be just days away.

3 Search And Destroy Search And Destroy
aka The Valley Of Hanoi
Written by Irwin R. Blacker
Copyright: 1966

Five separate targets in North Vietnam make up the assignment for the five men Richard LeGrande selected. A bridge, a dam, a railroad station, an airfield, and a tank farm were all constructed in less than a month with Chinese help, showing a major shift in assistance. LeGrande needs them all destroyed.

4 To Hell In A Basket To Hell In A Basket
Written by Irwin R. Blacker
Copyright: 1967

LeGrande and GENOPS are given the job of forcing the Chinese to stop helping in Burundi as well as keep the Egyptians from arming Congo rebels. To do this, he needs the help of an agent who had quit some time back because it was too hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys.


       The series was written by a master storyteller who knew better than most the importance of pacing, character development, and having a compelling plot with dangers exciting enough to keep the reader turning the next page. This makes the fact that he is almost totally unknown 50 years later such a surprise. I certainly did not know of him until my research unexpectedly uncovered him and his fascinating spymaster, LeGrande.
       Since LeGrande did not become a household name, I am assuming the author was busy practicing his craft with television and movie screenplays but it is a pity that such an interesting man as LeGrande is such an unknown.
       These books are very enjoyable spycraft adventures with the politics of D.C. playing as important a role as the back alleys of East Berlin. LeGrande is a good man but he is also a hard man who has to send people into areas from which he knows they are likely not to return. He does not send them quickly or carelessly but he does send them.


My Grade: A-

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