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JOE RODRIGUEZ

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Full Name: Joe Rodriguez
Nationality: American
Organization: American Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Tom H. Moriarty
Time Span: 1964 - 1968

ABOUT THE SERIES

Joe Rodriguez is an agent with American Military Intelligence.

It is the mid-to-late 60's and the United States government is fighting hard to stem the feared 'domino principle' of communism where the loss of one country would lead to the downfall of a neighboring nation and then the next one and so on. Fighting desperately to prop up the South Vietnamese regime, Americans were finding it nearly impossible to tell the good guys from the bad guys and in the southern capital of Saigon, the infiltration of North Vietnamese spies was intense. Throw in a whole lot of drug smuggling and black marketing and rising gang activity and you had a true mess.

That made it important for the G-2 people to have people on staff who had more than an inkling into how spies and thugs, smugglers and pushers operated so they could have any hope of keeping a handle on things.

Enter one of those people well versed in both intelligence work and good old fashioned police detective work - Lieutenant Joe Rodriguez, a 27-year-old man in the Army Reserves who is pulled back into active duty to serve a tour or two in Southeast Asia. Instead of working with the Military Police, however, Rodriguez is a part of the Intelligence operation there, likely from having been in it during his normal time in the service (conjecture).

We actually meet Jose Juan ('Joe') Rodriguez a couple years before he finds himself relocated to the other side of the world. Our introduction to him was as a "rookie officer of the law" who was (and this is a tad confusing) pleased to be able to dress in plain clothes while responding to calls to investigate crimes. He was spending some quiet time in the squad room of Division 6, doing homework from the UCLA psychology class he was auditing in his spare time when he got the call to investigate the first crime we watch him handle, a naked male corpse in a swimming pool at an apartment complex.

Rodriguez would answer several more calls to investigate suspicious deaths before being pulled back into military service to work during the height of the Vietnam War and the cases/missions he would be given would morph into those more in the cloak-and-dagger mode.

He is described as "a slender young man with Spanish features" possessing a face with a "classical mold .. almost in the lady-killer tradition .. saved by a strong flatness in the set of the eyes".

NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:12
First Appearance:1964
Last Appearance:1968

1 The Nude In The Pool The Nude In The Pool
novelette
Written by Tom H. Moriarty
Copyright: 1964

Published in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, January 1964.
"The young detective had a studious side to his nature. But the two Hollywood murders made the world of books seem more than a little anemic."

2 The Big Key Suicides The Big Key Suicides
novelette
Written by Tom H. Moriarty
Copyright: 1965

Published in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, March 1965.
[plot unknown]

3 The Great Huntington Heist The Great Huntington Heist
novelette
Written by Tom H. Moriarty
Copyright: 1965

Published in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, October 1965.
[plot unknown]

4 The Million Dollar Road The Million Dollar Road
novelette
Written by Tom H. Moriarty
Copyright: 1966

Published in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, March 1966.
[plot unknown]

5 Moonlight Over Malibu Moonlight Over Malibu
novelette
Written by Tom H. Moriarty
Copyright: 1966

Published in Man From U.N.C.L.E. Magazine, May 1966.
[plot unknown]

6 Loot for Hawaii Loot for Hawaii
novelette
Written by Tom H. Moriarty
Copyright: 1966

Published in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, June 1966.
[plot unknown]

7 Murder in Saigon Murder in Saigon
novelette
Written by Tom H. Moriarty
Copyright: 1966

Published in Man From U.N.C.L.E. Magazine, September 1966.
"Somewhere in troubled Saigon lay the key to a deadly riddle. And somewhere a lone Yank had to follow a trail of blood and danger--even into Red China itself..." Joe Rodriguez goes in search of counterfeit greenbacks mysteriously popping up all over Saigon.

8 The Saigon Charade The Saigon Charade
novelette
Written by Tom H. Moriarty
Copyright: 1966

Published in Man From U.N.C.L.E. Magazine, December 1966.
"Deep in war-torn Viet Nam, the Red hordes had fashioned a monstrous weapon of death--and only a lone Yank detective had a chance to find and destroy it in time!"

9 The Way It Was The Way It Was
novelette
Written by Tom H. Moriarty
Copyright: 1967

Published in Man From U.N.C.L.E. Magazine, August 1967.
[plot unknown]

10 Who Shot the General in the Back? Who Shot the General in the Back?
novelette
Written by Tom H. Moriarty
Copyright: 1967

Published in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, August 1967.
[plot unknown]

11 Condition Red in Saigon Condition Red in Saigon
novelette
Written by Tom H. Moriarty
Copyright: 1967

Published in Man From U.N.C.L.E. Magazine, September 1967.
"Alone, deep in enemy territory, a hunted man and a girl sought the answer to the awesome secret that had cost a good man his life - and threatened to reduce Saigon to rubble!" The method the Viet Cong had to accomplish this is an atomic bomb.

12 Red Wires Over Thailand Red Wires Over Thailand
novelette
Written by Tom H. Moriarty
Copyright: 1968

Published in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, February 1968.
"War was a plaything and trackless murder its toy, as Joe Rodriguez followed a jungle death trail to seek the end of the Telegraph which had promised doom to all!"

MY COMMENTS

I was impressed with this series for a couple of reasons.

First, the writing is solid and the storytelling professional, giving the magazine readers what they expected. Don't get too excited, though; solid and professional is far preferable to lousy but not what would rush the reader to the newsstand the next month in the hopes of another tale.

Second, as the target audience's interests changed from police adventures to spy adventures, the author came up with a very plausible and logical way to transition his police detective character into the cloak and dagger world by moving him into the military which then made use of his law enforcement expertise.

I searched but never found anything about the author beyond these Rodriguez tales and a handful of other short stories.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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