Marshall_John3 Marshall_John1 Marshall_John2 Marshall_John4 Marshall_John5
Full Name: John Marshall
Nationality: American
Organization: CIA
Occupation Agent

Creator: Mark Denning
Time Span: 1976 - 1981


John Marshall is an assassin for the CIA.

The facts on Marshall, who also uses the alias of Paul Chandler, are scant in quantity. He stands about 5'8 tall. He does not consider himself attractive and has commented that women do not find him particularly sexy, although he had several encounters to the contrary.

The most unique aspect of Marshall is that he is the only one-armed agent in the CIA. He lost his left hand, separated just above the wrist, when he was 18 (reason unknown). He normally has a hook attached in its place.

Marshall is a highly deadly eliminator of the nation's troubles. He is a good shot, a heckuva fighter, and an expert with knives. He is quite competent with martial arts, even if his trainer considers him too flabby. The lack of a left hand has made him compensate with an extremely strong right hand, possessing a grip that can shatter a Coke bottle.

There is one very odd aspect to the series. In an almost haphazard manner, the character remarks that since as John Marshall he is supposed to have been killed several years before, he usually goes by the name Paul Chandler. Now, most agents have a history to them but this bit of background is written as though the fact that Marshall was been 'killed' was already well known to the reader as though there were previous books about him. Research has not revealed any additional books so the matter remains a mystery.

Marshall works for Cramer. As the head of Department LR of the CIA, he runs a practically autonomous group that gets the jobs that nobody else can handle. He is hardly the image of a spy, however, standing barely 5'5 and weighing over 300 pounds. Nevertheless, he is a dedicated man and one quite good at running the organization.


Number of Books:5
First Appearance:1976
Last Appearance:1981

1 Shades Of Gray Shades Of Gray
Written by Mark Denning
Copyright: 1976

Cramer has John Marshall tracking down an illegal shipment of tanks. He also asks Marshall to help out his niece who is in trouble. As he deals with a blackmail scheme, several vicious hoodlums, and a sex-crazed socialite, he also looks for the tanks.

2 Die Fast, Die Happy Die Fast, Die Happy
Written by Mark Denning
Copyright: 1976

The assignment for John Marshal is to take the place of a Swiss scientist invited to the States as a guest of a man whose initial plan is to blackmail the American government for $50,000,000. The threat against the country includes an atomic explosion and vials of bubonic plague.

3 Beyond The Prize Beyond The Prize
Written by Mark Denning
Copyright: 1978

An assassin for the CIA has disappeared. Was he kidnapped or did he go voluntarily? Was his newly named fiancée involved or just a deeply concerned victim? How was the IRA involved? Those questions are handed John Marshall as Cramer makes it clear: either bring him back safe or make sure he never talks again.

4 The Swiss Abduction The Swiss Abduction
Written by Mark Denning
Copyright: 1981

The kidnapping of the Presidents daughter by terrorists brings Paul Chandler/John Marshall to Switzerland to bring about the rescue.

5 The Golden Lure The Golden Lure
Written by Mark Denning
Copyright: 1981

Marshall is out for revenge against the one who murdered his new wife but he is sent to Mexico to find a smuggler and ends up in a PLO plot.


The John Marshall series is a fun pack of action, sassy dialogue, and some interesting romancing. The history of the character is somewhat sparse but he is quite enjoyable to follow. The writing is simple but effective and the plots are outlandish enough to be worthwhile.

The feel from reading the Marshall books is similar to that of a hard-nosed private investigator and it is highly enjoyable. I wish I could have solved the mystery of whether there was a prequel explaining how he is supposed to have already died.


My Grade: B-


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