Friday 16 September 2022




Harker uncovers a cult whose members believe in peace, love, understanding, and torture.
Rudolph Franklin thinks his biggest problem is re-election. A battle with a fellow senator about military spending is getting ugly, and if he can't scrap out a victory, his career will be dead in the water. He calls Harker, a crack investigative reporter, to leak a story for him. Franklin thinks his problems are political -- until his daughter disappears.

In Barbarann's bedroom, Harker finds pamphlets for the Children's Crusade, a hippy-dippy cult best known for selling buttons and hard candy on street corners. But Harker learns about the crusade's darker side -- the enforcers charged with keeping members in line, and keeping the press from asking questions. His first warning is a dead cat, hung from the ceiling of his hotel room, paw sliced off. If he crosses the Crusade again, the next paw they take will be his own.

Another outing with investigative journalist Harker tackling a cult with overlaps into a big money defence contract coming up for renewal and the rumours that the $100m defence spend is going to be wasted on a turkey.

70s, politics, a missing report, an imminent contract, big bucks, pressure, influence, control, a cult, brainwashing, kidnapping, secrecy, a gang of violent enforcers, a missing person, torture, coercion, blackmail, and more.

This one is the fourth and last in the Harker series and it's a book and series that I've really enjoyed. I liked Harker as a man, with his belligerent refusal to bow to intimidation or pressure, though when his ex-wife is threatened here he's just about to throw the towel in. Something breaks, which conveniently offers another way out. 

There's a decent blend of action and intellect as the story runs its course. Harker at various points is intimidated over the phone, burgled, has a dead cat with a missing paw to contend with, is drugged while confronted on an exposed high rise hotel under renovation and forced out the building over the edge and is also kidnapped and held under gunpoint. In the course of his investigation we have the usual verbal sparring and confrontations with his powerful targets.

There a real one man against the machine vibe that I like. Though again, Harker has his allies and can't do it all single-handedly.

A great book and series.

4 from 5

The first three are - The Harker File, Dead and Paid For and They've Killed Anna. I'll be continuing to work through another of Olden's series - Narc - about the drugs trade and a lead detective. The first in the series, the cunningly titled Narc has been enjoyed as well. 

Read – July, 2022
Published – 1978
Page count – 160
Source – Kindle Unlimited
Format – Kindle


  1. Harker does sound like an interesting character, Col, and one you want on your side. That's an interesting place and time, too; lots going on, and a lot of political and social change. I can see how Olden would set a story here.

    1. Margot, I liked this one and the series overall. All the books have a definite 70s vibe, but the themes covered are still current - powerful people, corruption, money, politics, influence and control. There's more than whiff of that around these days.

  2. From an era when reporters used typewriters – I am on it, Col

    1. Elgin, it's a short series of four books. I liked them all.