By the early 1970s, the team-based commando theme had become a popular market for men's action-adventure paperbacks to explore. The idea probably stemmed from military fiction, but became increasingly more prevalent after Don Pendleton's second 'Executioner' installment, “Death Squad”. By the 1980s, the sub-genre hit its pinnacle with titles like 'S.O.B.', 'M.I.A Hunter' and 'Phoenix Force” among others. To capitalize, Warner Books launched their “Men of Action” line of paperbacks and one of their creations was an obligatory team-based series called 'S-Com' (short for Strategic Commandos). The publisher hired freelance writer Robert McGarvey to author all six volumes under the house name Steve White. The series debut, “Terror in Turin”, was published in 1981.
The five-member team is led by Stone Williams, a Yale graduate who excelled as a soldier in Vietnam and later inherited his father's lucrative business. After contemplating a mercenary life, Williams forms S-Com to fight the good fight internationally. The team is rather diverse:
Myles – African-American who served with Williams in 'Nam. Martial arts.
Leah – Israeli, the only female member.
Acrobatic and uses throwing stars.
Lucky – Cuban defector. Explosives.
Rod – Australian mercenary. Comedic big man.
The “Terror in Turin” stems from a terrorist group called “Seventh Mao Force”. It's leader, Vincent Teresio, introduces readers to his communist ideology by blowing up an Italian post-office. Partnered with his girlfriend Gina, Teresio then murders Turin's police chief before shoplifting celebratory bread and wine from a nearby grocery store. However, readers quickly learn that the terrorist group is actually just one guy – Teresio. The explosives used to demolish the post-office were just some sticks of dynamite stolen from a construction site. In fact, other than an AK-47, Teresio has no fighting ability or any other weaponry. How could the author possibly validate such a weak foe for a team of five hardened heroes?
Teresio targets the owner of an Italian auto company, Salvatore DiGrazia. In a botched kidnapping, Teresio grabs Salvatore's daughter Maria and scampers off to his crumbling residence to make the ransom call - $50 million in cash for Maria's safe return. With the police written as just foolish fodder, Leah becomes involved and the entire team quickly hits Turrin to stop the terrorist. Due to the author's weak villain, the majority of the book focuses on S-Com picking a fight with the local mob. While the team searches for a formidable foe, Teresio spends his days playing grab-ass with Maria while threatening rape. Thankfully, on page 154 the team actually confronts Teresio and the whole book mercifully concludes on page 159.
Needless to say, “Terror in Turin” is the first Hall of Shame entry of 2020. Don't waste your life reading a page of this nonsense. I've already sacrificed enough time for the both of us. This series is abysmal.
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