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Full Name: Ivan Yazov
Nationality: Bulgarian
Organization: CIA
Occupation Agent

Creator: William Wingate
Time Span: 1977 - 1987


Ivan Yazov is an agent with the CIA.

Well, sort of.

Truth be told, Yazov is, in my opinion, very much a freelance agent working for himself alone and having no allegiance to any person, place, or country. Certainly not to his homeland of Bulgaria where he had lived and worked much of his life, rising in the ranks of the notoriously brutal MGB (Ministry of State Security) until he was a Colonel.

It has been well established by many sources that the Soviet KGB, when it needed extremely efficient and brutal wet work done, often called upon the MGB to do it. Yazov was one of those so asked and he never flinched no matter the task. Numerous of his executions would be over the years CIA agents, which makes his going to work for them as a double agent so interesting.

He did not make the switch over anything as ridiculous as political leanings. He was mercenary to his bones and the thought of making a considerable amount of money, certainly far more than he did for the MGB, was his primary motivation. And after life required he abandon his life in Bulgaria and transition to America, he did so in a way that would result in his having a very substantial nest egg as a result. "Nonetheless he would choose when and what to do about [any] idiotic situation, not the MGB, KGB, [or] CIA".

"Ivan Yazov was a merciless man, word of who had passed far beyond Brzina Street", we are told in one early passage. ""Yazov's a regular son-of-a-bitch" is another, this one coming from a CIA official who notes "He does their interrogations. Before we bought him, he killed a few guys, a couple of our own too."

Another example of his style of living is: "Ivan Yazov always slept within easy reach of a rifle, shotgun and pistol in an airy bedroom that opened onto a small brick patio. The patio was kept cool and green by a large syringa tree that grew there and sprouted yet more well placed razor wire. Nobody was, on a whim, going to assassinate Yazov from a perch in the tree while Yazov sipped away at his Turkish coffee."

Yazov was "superbly fit, superbly trained. And superbly nerveless too, even if he said so himself. After all, he had nobody but himself to look out and live for-and of life his great friend Macbeth had said it all in saying, "Life is a tale told by and idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Exactly. Regarding a particular mission being considered 'big', it is said "big to Yazov means killing people and blowing up the building".

When we first meet him living in a small but nice estate in Sofia, he has three gorgeous and devoted Alsatian dogs as his companions and he shows clearly how much he cares for them. Nevertheless, when it comes time to sever his life in Bulgaria and defect to America, he calmly and quickly puts a bullet into each of their heads.

Yazov is not a man with friends.

Good Lines:
- Thought by Yazov about a technician administering a polygraph on him in response to the question of whether he had killer more than five people, "Yes, many people. And I could kill you, idiot, in five seconds".


Number of Books:4
First Appearance:1977
Last Appearance:1983

1 Fireplay Fireplay
Written by William Wingate
Copyright: 1977

The year is 1973. In the middle of the Pacific, Hurricane Clarissa ravaged everything it touched and that included the Soviet submarine Doneska which sank to the sea bottom some 950 miles northeast of Midway. On board were its precious nuclear missiles and a cache of secret codes. Both sides are determined to keep the other from getting hold of the sub. On the American side was Ivan Yazov.
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2 Bloodbath Bloodbath
Written by William Wingate
Copyright: 1978

The year is 1976. Hijackers from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine take control of an Air France jetliner with 248 on board and take it to Uganda where President Idi Amin welcomes the terrorists. Then Israeli Commandos take it back. Now Amin and the PFLP are out for revenge for their humiliation. And the KGB is very interested in help. And the CIA, using Ivan Yazov, has its own interestes.
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3 Shotgun Shotgun
Written by William Wingate
Copyright: 1980

Ivan Yazov has a new identity. His new name is Hardacre and he was trying to get from one place in the States to another when his car breaks down in a small town in Tennessee. It will take a few days to get the part needed which was no problem for Hardacre/Yazov since he had no place he needed to be. His staying in an extra room of the mechanic, though, is interfering with a local crime boss and they let their unhappiness known. Bad mistake on their part!
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4 Crystal Crystal
Written by William Wingate
Copyright: 1983

When a resurgence of the heroin trade coming out of Marseilles interfers with the plans of Ivan Yazov, aka Hardacre aka Crystal, there will be serious repercussions. The drug dealers do not like trouble. Yazov does not like inconvenienced. They show their displeasure. He shows why he is Yazov.
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Number of Movies:1
First Appearance:1987
Last Appearance:1987

The author comments on the movie Malone saying that he was not unhappy with the Burt Reynolds film which had his character Yazov/Hardacre renamed Malone but he felt the last portion of his book was far superior to the movie's and the flic would have been better if his ending was chosen instead of the screenplay writer's.

1 Malone Malone
Director: Harley Cokeliss
Writers: Christopher Frank, William Wingate
Actors: Burt Reynolds as Malone, Cliff Robertson as Delaney, Scott Wilson as Paul Barlow, Cynthia Gibb as Jo Barlow, Lauren Hutton as Jamie
Released: 1987

"An ex-C.I.A. hit man running from his past finds just how difficult it is to retire when he runs across a small town controlled by mercenaries and a family that's resisting their control."
Note: this movie is based on the third book in the Yazov series, Shotgun with Yazov/Hardacre renamed Malone.


I am a huge fan of what is commonly called B-movies and for many people the Burt Reynolds film from 1987, Malone, borders on that. Whatever! I loved the kick-butt, you messed with the wrong stranger, aspect of the movie and, of course, I was a huge Burt Reynolds fan since the days he was briefly on Gunsmoke.

Anyways, it was not until I was well into my appreciation of this very violent but extremely well written spy series about a do-not-mess-with-me former Iron Curtain operative turned CIA agent, Ivan Yazov, that I learned that Malone was Yazov! Okay, Yazov had become a fellow named Hardacre and that is who was made into Malone. Again, whatever! 

I mentioned above the author thought his last part of the story was better than the movie's and I agree. If you get a chance to read the former and watch the latter, you are likely to agree as well.

But first you really should, to appreciate the nastiness of Yazov, read the first couple of books in the series just to set things up.

Whatever you do, though, do not mess with Yazov/Hardacre/Crystal/Malone. Not a good idea!


My Grade: A-


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