That's right, everybody, I just finished reading Toma #2: The Aiport Affair by the fictional character of David Toma and the second-billed writer Jack Pearl. Little did I know when I purchased this book that it is actually part of a series of books inspired by the ABC television show "Toma" (1973-1974) staring Tony Musante as Toma, the loner New Jersey detective who played by his own rules and was also a master of disguise. His superior officers didn't always respect his methods, but you know they always respected the results. I think now would be a good time to take a look
at Toma himself. Don't forget to listen to his theme song.
Now that we are all in the mood, lets take a look at the back cover (the aspect of the book that originally attracted me) [oh and a more readable version can be found here]. The book is basically your standard undercover cop story -- in this case Toma is infiltrating a mob fencing ring at the airport that keeps stealing diamonds and fake plane tickets. Does Toma get his man in the end? You'd better believe he does, but not everyone likes the way he does it. No sir. This was actually very readable and pretty fun, with a few neat twists. The only really silly bits are when Toma puts on his costumes (which actually isn't as much as the back cover might lead you to believe). He dressed up as a hippy a couple of times and later dressed up as an Indian woman for a long chase scene at the airport that ends with this lady getting her head knocked off by an airplane.
Here's a trivia tidbit for you all -- when Tony Musante wanted to quit the show, the producers decided to cast a certain Robert Blake as Toma. Blake didn't want to be a Musante replacement, however, and insisted that they retool the show and give it a new name. That was the birth of the "Baretta" that we all know and love.
Shine on you crazy diamond... Shine on.