Tuesday 16 August 2022




When his source is murdered, Harker knows he's on the right track

Finally, Harker has a break in the nuclear story. There is a vast conspiracy inside the government to keep the dangers of nuclear energy from the public, and now he has a source on the inside. Anna Alexander, an employee at a nuclear firm, has documents that will blow the industry wide open - if she can make it to her rendezvous with Harker alive. Her employers are poisoning her with plutonium, and when she calls Harker, she is nearly dead from radiation sickness. By the time he makes it to Nevada, she's gone.

The car wreck looks like an accident, but the papers she was bringing him are nowhere to be found. They killed Anna to keep her from talking to the press - so just imagine what they'll do to the reporter.

Another enjoyable Harker novel from Marc Olden, the third from a series of four. Again, we have Harker risking life and limb to hold truth to power. This time his target is the nuclear power industry. It’s another exciting late 70s novel with a sympathetic and now familiar investigative journalist as the main focus of the book.

Harker has a contact who is prepared to expose shortcomings in the operation of the nuclear facility where she works. Safety failings, near misses, cover-ups, training deficiencies, general slackness and corner cutting. All of which are potentially catastrophic for the general public in the locality of the plant as well as detrimental, if not lethal to the well-being of the employees. Anna Alexander is scared. Not only can she reveal details, but she also thinks her employer has been poisoning her with plutonium. They’re determined to have her silenced one way or another. 

A fatal RTA results in the death of Anna before she got the chance to dish the dirt. The story that follows has Harker and his adversaries in a race to find Anna’s missing notebook, as well as Harker trying to connect with disgruntled former and present employees while fully aware that the powerful people, he is up against have him under surveillance and are prepared to stop at nothing to shut the story down. Nuclear power = electricity = big bucks. And woe betide anything that stands in the way of corporate greed or profits. 

Harker connects with witnesses who know right from wrong and have a conscience. There’s also a few with less scruples that took on the Judas role before a confessional with Harker. Self interest can often be a powerful motivator. 

I like the premise of the little man, uncovering wrong-doing and exposing it. There’s a real one man against the machine vibe here which makes for a compelling story. During his enquiries, Harker enjoys some fine hospitality with the ex-mercenary who is responsible for plant security and it’s kind of ironic that they can actually enjoy each other’s company while at the same time seek to thwart the other’s ambitions. 

I’ve enjoyed The Harker File and Dead and Paid For. They’ve Killed Anna was another 4 star read. Roll on the series finale Kill the Reporter.  Narc from another Olden series has also been enjoyed. 

Read - June, 2022

Published - 1977 

Page count - 152

Source - Kindle Unlimited

Format - Kindle


  1. There were a lot of books, films, etc. protesting nuclear power at that time, Col, so it doesn't surprise me that that would be a theme here. And I'm like you: I enjoy plots where the 'regular person' is in a deep situation trying to speak truth to power. It can make for a suspenseful story! Glad you enjoyed this one.

    1. I like the trope of the investigative journalist Margot and it doesn't seem dated either. Particularly in the light of other exposes of recent times...... cover ups by industry poisoning water supplies, church and clergy abuses, etc etc