In May 1964, the third 'Nick Carter' book, “Checkmate in Rio”, was released through the Carter-heavy publisher Award Books. This time, Carter is assigned the case of the missing AXE agents. The opening sequence has Hawk (AXE's superior) providing the intel to Carter and the reader. In Rio de Janeiro, six agents have gone missing in an area that's low-hanging fruit for the notorious Red Countries. Carter and co-agent Rosalind Adler, whom Carter undressed with his eyes in the first paragraph, head to Rio disguised as wealthy enthusiasts soaking up the rays and local hospitality.
As opposed to the series opener, the enjoyable “Run Spy Run”, this book really pushes the envelope and moves Carter into a more violent version. In a remarkable scene where Carter is holding a dazed bad guy in a closet, he reminds himself that he is the KILLMASTER and must complete the assignment by doing just that. As he pushes Hugo, an Italian stiletto, into the enemy, we come to realize that Carter is becoming the slaughter-house spy. It's not always so dark and grim, in fact more changes occur undercover. 'Checkmate in Rio' includes four sex-scenes, with Carter doing the nasty with Adler twice as well as one of the missing agent's wives twice (once as a violent “take me now” screw).
Aside from the intrigue, espionage and sex comes loads of high-velocity action. Here, Carter and Adler get equal stage time in car chases, fisticuffs and gun battles. In one explosive scene we see Carter protecting a mother and child as waves of enemies assault the house. Or, in another, a tight-laced action scene is built around a gas bomb as Carter holds his breath in an attempt to escape the baddies. Whoever penned this...Michael Avallone or Valerie Moolman, it's a stellar entry in this well-respected series.