ALBY MURDOCH

 
Full Name: Alby Murdoch
Nationality: Australian
Organization: D.E.D.
Occupation Agent

Creator: Geoffrey McGeachin
Time Span: 2005 - 2008
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Alby Murdoch is an agent with the Australian D.E.D.
       That acronym stands for the "Directorate of Extraterritorial Defense" and is part of that country's Intelligence Community. Apparently it got its start during World War Two as a group of coast watchers but then the man in charge got to thinking about ways to keep a good paying job after the war was over and began to find ways to get involved in other defense matters. Before long it was its own small bureau and since its operatives actually got things done more often than not, it got to hand around.
       Murdoch got involved with D.E.D. many years before his first recorded adventure. It began when his interest in photography got some of his photos noticed by people in the cloak and dagger business. He was offered a job. It was his idea to use his camera-snapping skills as a cover and it worked out quite well.
       He then came up with an even better idea in the creation of World Pix, a legitimate photo selling enterprise. Offering darn good images at a reasonable, albeit not cheap, price to magazines and newspapers and advertising people was genius because not only did it provide considerable funds for the running of D.E.D. (which make the bean counters in government very happy), it gave fantastic camouflage to activities of the agents wherever they went around the world. These people were thus not just espionage agents using a photographer cover, they were actual photographers who got a bit of spying done while on assignment.
       Murdoch is no spring chicken but he is not ready for the pasture quite yet. Though his age is not mentioned, I would put it in the mid to late 30s. He's seen a lot, done a lot, had quite a bit done to him, and isn't likely to be too surprised by much. He is extremely capable and highly trustworthy, as long as you don't get ridiculous about it. By that I mean, if you entrusted your child with him, he would protect and defend the tyke to his last breath. If you asked him to safeguard your drop-dead gorgeous sister or a bottle of single-malt Scotch, though, you might have a problem if both were say over the age of 21.
       Having been around a lot and done a lot of good for his country, Murdoch has made a good number of decent friends upon whom he can, and does, call when the chips get down or gun barrel raised. He has also made his share of people who would not mind attending his funeral either, though thankfully most are not too enthused to be the cause of it.

BOOKS

Number of Books:3
First Appearance:2005
Last Appearance:2008

       I looked hard and could not find any copy of these books in, well, book format. There were lots of audio versions available but the physical or electronic version of the prose were sadly missing unless one wanted to fork over a whole lot of money.
       Luckily for me, and I mean this in two ways, they were available at a decent price as audio, like I said.
       This is lucky because:
a) the price was more than reasonable. And
b) the audio version, read by Peter Hosking, is incredible.

       I seldom make a recommendation as to which version to peruse but I do so here. Get the audio version and have a great time listening to terrific storytelling done fantastically. I chuckled, laughed, guffawed, and chortled on many occasions. I grinned like a buffoon the rest of the time.
       The stories are intelligent. The characters are believable and by no means silly. The action is dynamite (almost literally there). I heartily recommend all three.

1 D.E.D. Dead D.E.D. Dead
Written by Geoffrey McGeachin
Copyright: 2005

Alby Murdoch and his friend and colleague, Harry, were ordered to do a routine check on personnel at an American signal intercept site. Done every year or two. No big thing. Harry in fact offered to do it all by himself. Then someone shot Harry. Then someone tried to blow up Alby. The first event got Alby miffed. The second really upset him.

2 Sensitive New Age Spy Sensitive New Age Spy
Written by Geoffrey McGeachin
Copyright: 2008

When a huge tanker filled with highly explosive natural gas shows up marooned in Sydney harbor, it tends to get people's attention. It certainly got that of Alby Murdoch. Not to mention the Sydney police and even the local CIA Station Chief. Also paying attention is the crew of a visiting US warship which may or may not be carrying nukes. And that is just the start of the fun.

3 Dead and Kicking Dead and Kicking
Written by Geoffrey McGeachin
Copyright: 2008

On suspension yet again, Alby Murdoch is making ends meet by shooting still photographs for a film crew making a movie about a much decorated Aussie officer who was killed during the Vietnam War. Imagine the surprise then when a chance photograph reveals a very much alive war hero. Of course there is a good chance the reason he is still in hiding is the same reason people would like to see Murdoch dead for noticing.

MY COMMENTS

       Oh, my! How I enjoyed the daylights out of this series.
       It was my great pleasure to have to get it in audio format and that meant I had to listen to it narrated so superbly by Peter Hosking.
       Please do not mistake my enthusiasm as having anything less than tremendous respect for the author's words but when read so fantastically by Mr. Hosking, the words penned by Mr. McGeachin came to life so wonderfuly.
       Now, about Murdoch - he is a hoot.
       He is reasonably dedicated to his job. He would not walk straight into trouble like he does if he was not determined to get the job done. However, he does take noted exception each time some bloke decides to take a pop-shot at him or heave a knife in his direction or, perhaps most of all, bring a knee up into contact with the family jewels. He gets very unhappy with that.
       And the writing and the pacing let you know that in a way that is not overblown but distinctly apparent.

       The author is a noted photographer so it made sense to have Murdoch, spy though he is, take photography as a cover. I know next to nothing about the activity but was never once in the dark as to what was happening even when he talked technically. He successfully dumbed it down enough for laymen like me to grasp and yet retained enough to keep it sounding cool and real.
       And he made the character someone we could like. I would have loved to sit with Murdoch for a beer or two except for the fact that it seems every time he sits down for a cool one, someone starts sending hot lead his way.
       Then there are the ladies. Murdoch is not a skirt-chaser but he is appreciative of the finer sex and for reasons that sometimes even amaze him, these lovely ladies keep taking those skirts (or shorts or pants or whatever) off around him. And the prose tells enough to get you interested but not so much as to make you blush or look around to see who's watching you read that sort of thing.
       An additional comment about the prose and those wonderfully accommodating ladies. In one great scene, a beauty needed a shower. She borrowed Alby's. She shut the door behind her. It came open all on its own. As Alby described it, it was like the world wanted him to take a look. So he did.
       That's the kind of wonderfully amusing without being silly humor that the author spreads throughout these stories.

       It has been nearly a decade since the last of the three books came out. I do not particularly hold much hope of more heading my way but ....
one can only dream!

GRADE

My Grade: A-

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