Love That Spy

Author: T.A. Waters
Publisher: Lancer
Release year: 1968

Love That Spy, despite the cover, is actually one of the more sexually restrained Adult novels of the late sixties. If it wasn’t for a few small incursions in ‘smut’ territory, it could stand as a bona fide spy novel, and not a bad one at that. It bristles with cracking dialogue and descriptions. It also moves along at a fair clip – everything you’d want out of a pulp spy novel.

Although this one is a bit of an enigma. Let’s start with the cover. On it, it claims that this book is written by T.A. Waters – who is also the author of a book called the Psychedelic Spy. Let’s start with the Psychedelic Spy. There are a few books, and even a radio play called the Psychedelic Spy. but none of them appear to be written before 1968, and certainly not by T.A. Waters. I am guessing that the Psychedelic Spy is a dummy name, [EDIT: See below] simply to suggest to the reader that this book is a part of an ongoing series.

The author, T.A. Waters was a real writer – so the name is not a pseudonym (perhaps?). Here’s the brief snippet from Wikipedia

Thomas Alan Waters (also known as T.A. Waters) (1938 – 1998) was an American magician, writer about magic, and science fiction author.

Now, I have not read any of Mr. Waters other material, but from the brief overview that can currently be gleaned searching the net, Waters doesn’t really seem the type to write an adult orientated spy novel in a tough, wise cracking first person style. So I don’t really believe that T.A. Waters (at least the one listed above) wrote this book. Another clue to the authorship of this novel may come from John A. Keel website (maintained by Doug Skinner). About Love That Spy:

According to John’s sister Cheryl, John wrote this. T. A. Waters was a real person, and a known magician; could this have been a collaboration?

These seems more likely. While John Keel, like Waters also wrote Science Fiction, he also wrote more varied ‘pulp’ material, writing for Playboy Magazine, and also having another book published by Lancer (the publisher of this book – who specialised in Adult fiction).

Why is the authorship of this book so important? Quite simply because the book is not too bad at all in a world weary, Philip Marlowe kind of way. The main character, Sean Patrick, throughout the story, drops these little reflective comments on the life of a spy that almost ring true – I guess the modern equivalent would be in the television show Burn Notice, where Michael Weston delivers his ‘When you’re a spy…’ voice overs.

The story starts with a mission briefing. The hero of the book, Sean Patrick is called into headquarters to receive his instructions from his boss, Herrick. Patrick is to go to the United States and work with a special clandestine branch of the C.I.A., called SPEAR. His mission concerns a world renowned scientist, Robert Niflheim who is working on lubricants that work at sub-zero temperatures. His research is deemed important to the space program. The Russians want to convince Niflheim to defect. So far he has ignored all attempts. But Niflheim has an estranged son named Karl who is living in New York. It is feared that the KGB may kidnap Karl and use him as a bargaining chip to convince Niflheim to defect.

So Patrick heads to the States and begins tailing Karl, with the assistance of a hot-looking SPEAR operative named Cathy. As they follow Karl to an underground railway station, the KGB make their attempt to kidnap Karl. Patrick deals with one of the assailents. Meanwhile Cathy shoots at the other KGB operative. Unfortunately the bullet richochets off one of the concrete pilons and hits Karl in the neck. He is killed. Patrick is sent back to the UK in disgrace for bungling the mission.

Some time later, Patrick is given a chance to redeem himself. The chief of the Berlin office has specially requested him for a mission, where he he have a chance to make up for the cock-up in New York. Now this is where the main plot kicks in. You see, Professor Niflheim has now defected to East Germany with a hot looking female agent, named Anna Myshkin…essentially the ‘old honey pot trap’ was used to reel him in. Myshkin is the KGB’s number one leading mozhno girl. A mozhno girl is – how does one politely put it – a female agent who specialises in seduction.

Now British Intelligence want Niflheim back, and the scheme they come up with is to discredit Myshkin, or at least make her seem like an unfaithful tramp. To do this, they send in Sean Patrick. As a randy one man seduction unit (although he doesn’t describe himself that way), his job is to seduce Myshkin and allow Niflheim to witness it. Then he is to convince the Professor to come back to the West, and if possible, because he has gone to the trouble of seducing her, also convince Myshkin to come over to the West. Sort of a reverse ‘honey pot trap’ scenario.

Patrick’s pipeline to East Berlin is through another girl, Mary Gordon who Patrick allows himself to be seduced by. She too is a mozhno girl, but not as skilled as Myshkin. Gordon’s scheme is to seduce foreign agents and then secretly have them photographed having sex with her. She then attempts to blackmail the agents with the photos. Patrick is not the sort of character who would worry about the photos. In fact, he’d most likely order a set of 8 x 10’s to show his friends.

Onre of the better elements in this book, is that the author has made Patrick rather likable and down to earth. By writing in ‘first person’ we read Patrick’s thoughts, and even though the guy is obviously ‘a stud’, as you read the book, you don’t hate him or become envious of his sexual prowess. He isn’t a braggart, and in fact is rather humble about his ability to seduce women. In other books of the genre, often the hero comes off as an arrogant skite, that if you met in real life, your first action would be to punch the fellow in the nose. Not so Sean Patrick.

Of course a book in this ‘adult’ genre is never going to be a masterpiece, but this particular one shows a lot more style than you’d expect, and provides a great deal of enjoyment. In fact it could almost be recommended solely as a cheeky spy novel – but of course, explaining to those that you recommend it, that it is just a little bit naughty. Which sort of brings me back to the question of authorship. A book of this quality shouldn’t be (in this day an age) be considered a dirty little secret and the author hidden behind a pseudonym. I’d love to find out, who in fact wrote the book, and possibly read some of their other material.

As reader, Leigh Holleschau pointed out, The Psychedelic Spy was not a ‘dummy’ novel – it was published in 1967 by Lancer Books. However, copies of it are rather hard to come by – a copy was recently up for sale on Ebay – the seller would not ship to Australia (my loss). Here’s the cover art, and the spiel:

When enemy agents try to take over the mind-drug movement, Dr. L.S. Dee, today’s hippest hero, has to take two kinds of trip to save the U.S.A.

What’s Up Spy?

Technically Dr. Lowell Simon Dee was not a spy at all. But he was the only man for the job. He was an expert in drugs, aikido, Oriental languages and such odd accomplishments such as plucking arrows out of the air with his bare hands. So when a sinister enemy named Wu Ming (which means ‘no name’) infiltrated the psychedelic movement for obviously nefarious purposes, Dr. Dee alone knew how to fight back.

It meant leaving his fabulously furnished Manhattan loft headquarters to launch a one man invasion at the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco. It meant braving the perils of the mysterious Palace of Changes, a den of wildly eccentric characters who might or might not be deadly enemies. It meant danger, deep involvement in drugs, and novel mental experiences, furious fights and beautiful girls.

As for the reader, it’s a new kind of spy book – a mind expanding ‘trip’ through the world of what’s really happening today, loaded with laughs, surprises and excitement.

Only in the ’60s eh? Thanks for your input, Leigh.

Thanks to R.T.

6 Comments Posted in Books and Comics
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6 Comments

  1. Love That Cover! I Like It!!!

  2. Leigh Holleschau

    You wrote, “I am guessing that the Psychedelic Spy is a dummy name, simply to suggest to the reader that this book is a part of an ongoing series.” You are mistaken, in this case. The book “The Psychedelic Spy” by T.A. Waters does exist. I know, because I have a copy. There are a very few copies available online at the time of this writing, ranging in price from $40 to $100. The sexuality angle is played up in the book in pretty much the way you describe it in “Love That Spy,” so it seems likely to me that T.A. Waters did actually write it. The main character in “The Psychedelic Spy” is a doctor (perhaps of philosophy?) named Lowell Simon Dee, or Dr. L.S. Dee. Since the main character in “Love That Spy” is Sean Patrick, which most likely eliminates the possibility of the two books being in the same series.

    Also, Waters was one of three authors who wrote one book each in what is known as “The Greenwich Village Trilogy, which consists of “The Butterfly Kid,” by Chester Anderson, “The Unicorn Girl, ” by Michael Kurland, and “The Probability Pad,” by T.A. Waters. All three area are also the main characters in all three books. At one point or another, each of the authors refers to having a background in espionage. Whether this refers to a trait that they all share in real life, or is simply something invented for the character versions of themselves, I cannot say. But, it certainly makes it very reasonable for any or all of them to write, or have written, about spies.

  3. Thanks for your informative comment Leigh. I searched high and low for The Psychedelic Spy and could not find a reference to it. It’s good to know it is out there. I’ll have to resume my search.

    Dr. L.S. Dee – now there’s a character name!

    Cheers
    D.

  4. Leigh Holleschau

    Hi, David,
    If you search for the book at bookfinder.com you will find that there are currently four copies available. However, they are a bit expensive, priced at $40, $42.50, $50 and $99.99. (Don’t you love the bargain-style pricing on that last one? It’s “under $100.”) I was fortunate enough to find my copy recently for about $10, and that included shipping, which is why I snapped it up. If you check periodically at Bookfinder, you may also eventually find such a bargain. (If you find the search results there to be confusing, try checking the “Classic Search Display” box before running your search.) Since I read the Greenwich Village Trilogy, I’ve been tracking down other books by its two most elusive authors, Chester Anderson and T.A. Waters, which is what lead me to “The Psychedelic Spy.” I’m still considering whether to get a copy of “Love That Spy.” “The Psychedelic Spy” was a better read than I expected.

  5. I also see that there are some horror (?) books by Waters – The Blackwood Cult, The Bow Street Terror and In the Halls of Evil.

    [EDIT]: In fact in looks like In the Halls of Evil is a romantic spy thriller!

    From the cover:

    ‘Today’s cold blooded espionage will use any weapon available: modern science, ancient myths, or an innocent girl…’

    I’m intrigued.

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