Saturday, November 22, 2014

Crossover of the Week

October 31, 2007-January 21, 2009
            Quincey Morris and Libby Chastain attempt to prevent presidential candidate Howard Stark, who has been possessed by the demon Sargatanas, from winning the election and destroying the Earth. The tabloid The National Tattler is mentioned several times, and FBI agents Colleen O’Donnell and Melanie Blaise discuss the female agent who shot Buffalo Billy. During the Maine primaries, Stark attends a meet-and-greet at the IHOP in Derry, and later hosts a town hall meeting in the auditorium of Bannerman High School in Castle Rock. Quincey says that many weird things have occurred in Castle Rock, and suggests that it may be a nexus of supernatural activity. Malachi Peters, a CIA assassin who was killed in 1983 and ended up in Hell because he enjoyed his work too much, has been sent back to Earth to assassinate Stark. He reminisces about his old boss, “an enigmatic man known only as Mac,” who always referred to a hit as a “touch.” Quincey and Libby discuss other supernatural investigators, including a woman named Anita and Jill Kismet. An assassin called the Grocer’s Boy, whose father was an assassin himself and had a cover identity as a grocer, is hired to murder one of Stark’s fellow candidates. Peters is told by a demon using the name Ashley that she can make his sniper rifle invisible using a variation of the Tarnhelm effect.
            Novel by Justin Gustainis, 2011. The National Tattler is from the Hannibal Lecter novels by Thomas Harris, as is Agent Clarice Starling, who shot serial killer Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs. The Maine towns of Derry and Castle Rock appear in many novels and short stories by Stephen King. Bannerman High School is named after the late Sheriff George Bannerman from King’s The Dead Zone and Cujo. Mac is Matt Helm’s boss in Donald Hamilton’s novels. Hamilton portrayed Helm as a member of a separate organization from the CIA, so perhaps the references in the series to Peters being a former CIA agent are an error or fictionalization on Gustainis’ part, and he was actually a member of the same agency as Helm. Anita is a reference to Laurell K. Hamilton’s vampire hunter Anita Blake, while Jill Kismet appears in novels by Lilith Saintcrow. The Anita Blake and Jill Kismet series both portray the general public as being aware of the existence of the supernatural, which is incompatible with CU continuity; the Blake and Kismet mentioned in this novel, therefore, must be versions unique to the CU, who have had very different adventures from their better-known counterparts. The Grocer’s Boy is meant to be a pastiche of the hitman known as the Butcher’s Boy, who appeared in three novels by Thomas Perry. Indeed, Gustainis refers to him (possibly accidentally) as the Butcher’s Boy at one point, and therefore it can be assumed for CU continuity that he is in fact a disguised version of Perry’s assassin. The Tarnhelm effect is a spell used to make specific objects or people invisible to others in the Lord Darcy stories by Randall Garrett. Since the Lord Darcy tales take place in an alternate reality where Richard the Lionheart did not die in 1199 and the world is governed by laws of magic rather than physics, the Tarnhelm effect must exist both in the CU and Lord Darcy’s universe.


  1. If I remember correctly, in one of the Helm novels he comments how annoying it is that some people assume he is an agent of the CIA. In one of the Richard Stark's Grofield novels, Grofield is recruited against there will by a pair of government agents. Grofield assumes they are CIA. One of the agents reply that he hates how the public doesn't realize there are other intelligence services. I always wondered if these agents were from Helm's agency (though they don't mention assassination which was what Helm's agency specialized in.) Same as the government agents Travis McGee meets in the Green Ripper.

    The Butcher's Boy seems to be like one of the Assassins Houses you find in The Destroyer. A family line of assassins were the occupation is passed from father to son. Sinanju being the most important one. (Remo, of course, being Chiun's adopted son.)

  2. The Lord Darcy stories have AU counterparts to Gandalf, James Bond, Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin.

  3. Very impressive, Sean. Some readers have identified a few of the "Easter eggs" contained in my novel SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL, but you're the only one (in public, at least) who's identified all of them. Nice work.

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Justin! I'm a big fan of the Morris/Chastain series. It's always gratifying to have an author comment on my posts.