Full Name: Joaquin Hawks
Codename: Swinger
Nationality: American
Organization: CIA
Occupation Agent

Creator: Bill S. Ballinger
Time Span: 1965 - 1966

       Joaquin Hawks is an agent for the CIA.
       He is the highly intelligent and resourceful product of a Nez Perce Indian father and a Spanish mother. Because of that parentage, Hawks’ complexion is a bronze hue. That, coupled with a thin, high-bridge nose, lean face, ebony hair, and dark eyes give him a natural edge in disguise as he is able to, with relatively minor makeup, pass as any number of different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds, including European Caucasian, Filipino worker, and Mongol heavy laborer. This talent is used to good end throughout all his adventures.
       Hawks is employed by the CIA, working out of a L.A. branch office, working for a task master but Hawks' friend, Berke. Being based on the West Coast, it is easier to concentrate most of his energies in the Indochina region, all during the intial build-up to the Vietnam War. As such, it is absolutely fascinating to see the attitudes of the characters about the U.S. and each other and to consider how different they would be in just a few years.
       When he is not on assignment, Hawks maintains his cover as a one-man travel agent in Los Angeles, leading tour groups into Mexico or Central and South America. When he is not working as either kind of agent, he often returns to his roots on the home of his native people in Lapwei Reservation, Idaho. It was there that Hawks learned from a little boy the secrets of tracking, stalking, and hunting any type of prey from little animal to man. While he maintains he is nowhere near as good as his teacher, he is certainly one of the very best in the Intelligence community.


Number of Books:5
First Appearance:1965
Last Appearance:1966

1 The Spy In The Jungle The Spy In The Jungle
Written by Bill S. Ballinger
Copyright: 1965

Something from the jungle of Laos is downing American missiles test-fired into the South Pacific and Joaquin Hawks must determine who and how.

2 The Chinese Mask The Chinese Mask
Written by Bill S. Ballinger
Copyright: 1965

Three scientists, held prisoner in Peking, are forced to work to create a potent psycho-gas. Joaquin Hawks must sneak himself into, and them out of, a top-security prison

3 The Spy In Bangkok The Spy In Bangkok
Written by Bill S. Ballinger
Copyright: 1965

Stolen nuclear missiles are being offered to the Red Chinese in the waters off Thailand, a deal Joaquin Hawks must prevent.

4 The Spy At Angkor Wat The Spy At Angkor Wat
Written by Bill S. Ballinger
Copyright: 1966

The young surviving Prince of Cambodia is in danger from the Red Chinese unless Joaquin Hawks can find his way into that country to effect an impossible escape.

5 The Spy In The Java Sea The Spy In The Java Sea
Written by Bill S. Ballinger
Copyright: 1966

When a US submarine is crippled at the bottom of the Java Sea, Joaquin Hawks has the assignment to rescue it before other nations get their chance.


       It was with considerable regret that I filled in the "Codename" section with the word "Swinger". Yes, that truly is the codename under which he operates but the modern connotations are considerably misleading. I have no idea why the author chose it but the character is far different, and the stories considerably more serious, than would be indicated by such a epithet.
       This is a quality series that deserved a lot more attention than I think it got. The action is steady, the character interesting, and the locales wonderfully described. Because the series came out when so many others did, most trying to out-Bond Bond, this series got lumped in with them and did not receive anything like the attention it should have. Hawks should be spoken with the same admiration that Matt Helm is, and that is saying something.
       I liked this series a lot.


My Grade: A-

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