Terminator1 Terminator3 Terminator4 Terminator2 Terminator5
Full Name: Rod Gavin
Series Name: The Terminator
Nationality: American
Organization: CIA
Occupation Agent

Creator: John Quinn
Time Span: 1982 - 1984


Rod Gavin is an agent for the CIA.

Growing up in New York City, Gavin's early years were normal and with little to note. When he was old enough, he joined the military and, as happened to most during the late 60's, he found himself transferred to Vietnam. It was while serving there that two things of import happened. The first was that he was noticed by the Agency as someone who could get the job done and someone who knew how to kill when needed. The other was an altercation, the nature of which was not mentioned but the severity of which was enough to get him a court martial and likely sent for a while to prison.

That was when the CIA made an offer that Gavin might have refused but decided not to. The CIA was putting together a team of operative known as the Terminators, one of several 'free-lance' contract killers. These agents, trained in the deadliest forms of combat, were kept off the books to prevent scrutiny. Each was given a legitimate job in Washington as a cover to pay the bills and keep them busy until an assignment came. Gavin was put under contract to handle eight missions. When Gavin. at one point in his work for the clandestine organization, indicated he wanted out, he was told that if he reneged on the contract, he would be returned to the military to serve time at Leavenworth.

At first, Gavin worked at the Department of Agriculture but that did not last long as he hated the idea of sitting at a desk doing a job just to occupy his time. That was when he told his Agency contact that he was heading west. The control had no problem with that as long as he could reach Gavin whenever a job came up and as long as Gavin answered.

Gavin headed to Colorado where he lives a solitary life reading, enjoying the mountain life, and pondering what would be next for this 33-year old man. While he was not certain, he entertained hopes that it might include Kendall, the lovely owner of a book store in High Card, Colorado.

The contract Gavin had with the CIA was for eight missions. When the series starts, oddly enough, Gavin is being given his eighth, and last, assignment. The remaining four adventures chronicled are missions beyond his requirement and agreed to only because the situation seemed to warrant it.


Number of Books:5
First Appearance:1982
Last Appearance:1984

A sixth book, Checkmate Kill, was supposed to be released in 1985 but I found no evidence of its existence. If you do, let me know!

1 Mercenary Kill Mercenary Kill
Written by John Quinn
Copyright: 1982

As his last official contract for the CIA, Rod Gavin must travel to the Central American nation of Costa Bella to eradicate a man arrested there for the slaughter of four missionaries. It soon becomes obvious that Gavin was not expected to survive the mission.

2 Silicon Valley Slaughter Silicon Valley Slaughter
Written by John Quinn
Copyright: 1983

When word comes that Duffy, the man who had helped save Gavin's life in the earlier affair, was accosted and near death, Gavin goes to San Francisco to help and learns that Duffy is still in danger and Duffy's niece is missing. Gavin soon finds himself fighting the Yakuza and evading NSA agents while trying to stop the theft of an ultra-sophisticated encryption device.

3 Kill Squad Kill Squad
Written by John Quinn
Copyright: 1983

The band of survivalists controlled totally the town of Ridge Crest, Arkansas. Nobody came in or left without their permission. When an investigative reporter broke that rule, he was eliminated, as was the man he was meeting with. Most of the band are really international assassins awaiting word to attack members of the U.S. government. Then Gavin gets involved.

4 Crystal Kill Crystal Kill
Written by John Quinn
Copyright: 1984

Gavin wanted only a short visit with an old friend when he took the ferry to Catalina. What he found was his friend dead and the friend's wife reluctant to answer questions. It would soon come out that cocaine was involved and a connection would be made between drug lords from Columbia and a hotshot Hollywood director.

5 Chameleon Kill Chameleon Kill
Written by John Quinn
Copyright: 1984

When the UN decided to host a conference on anti-terrorism, the White House asked Jack Duffy to attend as an observer. Duffy, not feeling himself competent, got them to agree to hire Gavin. What none knew was that the delegate from West Germany had been replaced with a terrorist leading a group out to destroy the Security Council itself.


I enjoyed the series, although I'll admit that it was with a wry smile that I read the books. The writing style is in total keeping with its publisher, Pinnacle, and its standard fair. Flush with the success of the Executioner and the Destroyer, they contracted for an assassin who would confront his enemies with the same ruthlessness as those two. The billing they give the Terminator on the back of each book is somewhat secondary to their own as 'America's #1 action and adventure series publisher'.

Still, the character is by no means simply a carbon copy. The action is similar but Gavin is far more a reluctant participant. When he is pushed into a fight, he responds with predictable speed and ability but it is obvious that he does not relish the fighting. In several cases, he seeks vengeance but doesn't glory in it.

Rod Gavin, the Terminator, only works officially for the CIA in the first novel so it is only in that adventure is he one of the terminator squad. Nevertheless, he is connected to various government agencies in most of the adventures. The Justice Department, NSA, FBI, and DEA all get involved in one capacity or another.

Light reading, fast action, modest character development, and interesting plot lines. That is what you'll find with the Terminator.


My Grade: C


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