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TURK MADDEN

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Full Name: Turk Madden
Nationality: American
Organization: None
Occupation Other - Pilot

Creator: Louis L'Amour
Time Span: 1941 - 2004

ABOUT THE SERIES

Turk Madden is a freelance pilot.

He makes his sometimes lucrative but ofttimes scant living as a tramp aviator flying, preferably, a Grumman amphibian plane large enough to haul a respectable amount of cargo or a half dozen passengers all round the Pacific. At times he operates in the northern region near Japan on the east and and Vladivostok on the west and at others in the southern off Australia. And when the one-time contracts and his personal whim strikes him, he could be found across the wide expanse of ocean in South America. The point then really is that he is largely itinerant.

Such an occupation would hardly qualify him for membership in the compendium save for the fact that quite often the one-off jobs that he is presented with comes from Intelligence agencies of one nation or another. Lots of vital information can be gleaned from ten thousand feet up and covert agents have to find some way to get to and from their targeted assignments with planes being a whole lot faster than boats. Throw in the fact that usually the nations being spied upon or having their borders violated by infiltrating aircraft loaded with enemy agents and you have the makings for exciting cloak and dagger adventures.

Madden is an American though when was the last time he actually spent any time in the States is a fair question. We first encounter him in the early parts of 1941 and he has already been plying his trade up and down the Pacific rim for a few years with a wide assortment of contacts all over that huge region.

We learn that prior to that he had been under contract to the American government flying mail all around the Eastern Seaboard until a run-in with a mobster trying to "organize all the mail pilots" turned particularly nasty and there was a confrontation that did not end well for the mobster but also soured that region for Madden and he chose a whole different area of the globe to give a try. Interestingly, he apparently traded the small turmoil left in that wake for considerable more turmoil by taking part in the early days of the China Wars as Japan began its expansion.

We do not get told much more about his past but we quickly learn a good deal about the Madden of the present. We discover that he is a tall-ish man of just over six feet weighing around 200 lbs. and in pretty good shape for someone who sits in cockpit most of the time. We are told he enjoys knocking back a few with his pals and no matter if he is in New Caledonia or Western Russian or the Mato Grosso region of Brazil, he will know someone well enough to share a beer or two with. And always there will be a very friendly woman more than happy to ease his tense shoulders.

And there will be a tons of people who would love to separate his head from those shoulders because Madden can find trouble anywhere he goes, and he apparently would not want it any other way.

BOOKS

Number of Books:5
First Appearance:1986
Last Appearance:2004

       There were no Turk Madden books written by Louis L'Amour, just short stories/novellas. These were collected, however, in several different volumes over the years as show below.

1 Night Over The Solomons Night Over The Solomons
Written by Louis L'Amour
Copyright: 1986

A collection of six novelettes/short stories including four Turk Madden tales:
Wings Over Khabarovsk
The Goose Flies South
Tailwind to Tibet
Pirates with Wings
buy from Amazon

2 Beyond The Great Snow Mountains Beyond The Great Snow Mountains
Written by Louis L'Amour
Copyright: 1999

A collection of ten novelettes/short stories including one Turk Madden tale:
Coast Patrol
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3 With These Hands With These Hands
Written by Louis L'Amour
Copyright: 2002

A collection of 13 previously uncollected short stories. Two in this group were about Turk Madden:
Pirates of the Sky
Flight to Enbetu
buy from Amazon

4 From The Listening Hills From The Listening Hills
Written by Louis L'Amour
Copyright: 2004

A collection of twelve stories, one of which was a Turk Madden story:
Flight To The North
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5 The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour - Volume 4: The Adventure Stories The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour - Volume 4: The Adventure Stories
Written by Louis L'Amour
Copyright: 2004

A huge collection of all of Louis L'Amour's Adventure short stories. This includes all eight Turk Madden tales:
Pirates of the Sky
Coast Patrol
Flight to the North
Wings Over Khabarovsk
Flight to Enbetu
The Goose Flies South
Tailwind to Tibet
Pirates with Wings
buy from Amazon

NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:8
First Appearance:1941
Last Appearance:1949

1 Pirates Of The Sky Pirates Of The Sky
Written by Louis L'Amour
Copyright: 1941

First published in Thrilling Adventures, February 1941. Reprinted in the collections With These Hands and The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour - Volume 4: The Adventure Stories.
The year is likely 1940. Turk Madden is flying supplies to a plantation on Erromango, Vanuatu, when he sees a native floating in the waters. This sighting will land him in a conflict with mobsters fleeing the States. These gangsters are using the plantation as a staging base for piracy in the area hoping the political upheaval with the War will hide them.

2 Coast Patrol Coast Patrol
Written by Louis L'Amour
Copyright: 1943

First published in Thrilling Adventures, January 1943. Reprinted in the collections Beyond The Great Snow Mountains and The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour - Volume 4: The Adventure Stories.
The year is like 1942. When Turk Madden is hired by the Russians to fly coastal spotting missions just north of Vladivostok, he expected trouble. He got it in the form of an American cargo ship dealing with a mutiny. It is then he learns about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and realizes that the Japanese current truce with the Soviets might not extend to the American vessel.

3 Flight To The North Flight To The North
Written by Louis L'Amour
Copyright: 1943

First published in Sky Fighters, September 1943. Reprinted in the collections From The Listening Hills and The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour - Volume 4: The Adventure Stories.
The year is likely 1942. The Soviet Union is now at odds with Japan and vying for much of the same territory in the western part of China and Mongolia. Turk Madden is hired to first fly a passenger from Shanghai to Vladivostok and then an even more perilous mission to pick up two agents, Russian and British out of Japan!

4 Wings Over Khabarovsk Wings Over Khabarovsk
Written by Louis L'Amour
Copyright: 1944

First published in Sky Fighters, January 1944. Reprinted in the collections Night Over The Solomons and The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour - Volume 4: The Adventure Stories.
The year is likely 1943. Turk Madden is now flying largely reconnaissance mission out of the Russian city of Khabarovsk. When he learns a young Soviet pilot doing the same took photos of something he apparently should not have, they both learn the young man is now being hunted but is it by the Japanese or his fellow Soviets?

5 Flight to Enbetu Flight to Enbetu
Written by Louis L'Amour
Copyright: 1945

First published in Sky Fighters, Summer 1945. Reprinted in the collections With These Hands and The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour - Volume 4: The Adventure Stories.
The year is like 1944. Turk Madden has agreed to fly a small team of saboteurs onto Hokkaido where they will try to disrupt communications in preparation for a major air raid. Betrayal of the mission results in Madden parachuting into a city to free the now captured agents but getting out before the planned fire bombing seems impossible.

6 The Goose Flies South The Goose Flies South
Written by Louis L'Amour
Copyright: 1947

First published in Sky Fighters, Summer 1947. Reprinted in the collections Night Over The Solomons and The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour - Volume 4: The Adventure Stories.
The year is likely 1946. Turk Madden is flying out of South America when he is hired to transport a small team of scientists to a private atomic bomb test being planned by Argentine militarists and ex-Nazis now living in that region. Madden's is there for more than just piloting, however, as he has his own set of orders.

7 Tailwind to Tibet Tailwind to Tibet
Written by Louis L'Amour
Copyright: 1948

First published in Sky Fighters, Winter 1948. Reprinted in the collections Night Over The Solomons and The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour - Volume 4: The Adventure Stories.
The year is like 1947. Turk Madden is back in the Far East where he is agreed to fly a young woman and her fiancee to search for her lost brother. He had been slying an "important scientific package" from India over China to occupied Japan when he crashed in the remote regions of China's Kansu Province.

8 Pirates with Wings Pirates with Wings
Written by Louis L'Amour
Copyright: 1949

First published in Sky Fighters, Winter 1949. Reprinted in the collections Night Over The Solomons and The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour - Volume 4: The Adventure Stories.
The year is likely 1948. Turk Madden is back in South America flying a survey run for Tropco, an oil exploration company in the Matto Grosso area of Brazil. The crew he is piloting are using a new state-of-the-art device called a fluxgate magnetometer which will help find likely petroleum deposits. A rival company, Petex, is wanting the mission to fail.

MY COMMENTS

It seems to me that the author, Louis L'Amour, had fun with Madden and made him a pilot-du-jour for whatever region he was thinking of writing about. He put Madden behind the controls of a Grumman in the Coral Sea one day and then a few months later he has the man five thousand miles further north flying over the Sea of Japan. A few years and a huge world war later and he puts the man, still piloting a Grumman, in South America.

He also, to me, seemed to treat Madden a bit nicer than the other two characters he would pen who fit into this compendium, Ponga Jim Mayo and Steve Cowan. Madden gets whomped on a fair amount during his troubles but not quite as much as those guys. I could be wrong.


GRADE

My Grade: B

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