Oliver_Ted1 Oliver_Ted2 Oliver_Ted3
Full Name: Ted Oliver
Nationality: American
Organization: CIA
Occupation Agent

Creator: John Horton
Time Span: 1987 - 1991


Ted Oliver is an agent with the CIA.

He represents an interesting style of operative from the kind usually seen in this compendium. There are numerous operatives who are rebels, who angered their superiors but, because they get the job done, are tolerated and even begrudgingly respected. Oliver is not one of those. He usually gets the job done but when he messes up, as he has before the start of the series, he is demoted and almost sacked.

When we first meet Oliver, he is teaching a course at the Academy, put there because the senior officials do not know what to do with him after a messy ending to a previous assignment. He had not done anything wrong or illegal; the mission just did not end nicely. Reluctant to put him back in the field, they decide to make him an instructor. While his actual transgressions are kept quiet, the fact that they exist is not a secret and all his students know he was being "punished" and they want to know why.

Redemption, of a sort, comes soon when a case with his name on it, literally, comes along and Oliver is 'allowed' back in action, this time in Mexico where he will shortly become the ranking case officer. No one really expects Oliver to not mess it up. But it is Mexico so 'what is the worst that can happen?'

The Agency seems to have forgotten that Mexico is our neighbor. And Oliver is not a screw-up, the previous mission notwithstanding. He is a darn good operative when the chips are down and, unfortunately for Oliver, they seem to be down a great deal.

And when by a miracle (in the eyes of his bosses) he is successful, keeping him in Mexico seems a win on several levels.


Number of Books:3
First Appearance:1987
Last Appearance:1991

1 The Hotel At Tarasco The Hotel At Tarasco
Written by John Horton
Copyright: 1987

Ted Oliver was teaching at the Agency's training school, paying for a mistake made in the field, when a former agent in Mexico reports activity that could be important. Then the ex-agent disappears and Oliver is sent there to find out why.

2 A Black Legend A Black Legend
Written by John Horton
Copyright: 1989

Mexican General Robles was a paid CIA informant who knew the truth about the revolutionary group Mexica Irredenta. It got him killed. The Agency first wants Ted Oliver to find out what Robles knew and then they call him off. Oliver wants to know why.

3 The Return Of Inocencio Brown The Return Of Inocencio Brown
Written by John Horton
Copyright: 1991

A former girlfriend of Ted Oliver shows up in Mexico City telling him that he was the main suspect in the murder of her brother, a popular revolutionary. Even as he tries to find the real killer and learn what the brother was up to, he is the target of revenge killers.


I meant it when I said the series was refreshing. It is also filled with considerable bitterness as Oliver knows he is being punished for things not his fault and he knows he can only take it or leave. And he likes what he does. There is sadness to the cynicism that he is left with.

That Oliver is really a good agent and a good team leader is shown early on in the books and his adventures are good reads. I would have liked Oliver to get back at his bosses more but then that would not have been the kind of life you come to expect Oliver to have to deal with.


My Grade: B


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