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No one writes more explosive action episodes than Robin Hunter, a retired British publishing executive. His series of topical adventure/intrigue thrillers featuring international vigilante Simon Quarry teems with such scenes.

Hunter invented Quarry in 1984's "The Fourth Angel," in which the terrorist wipeout in Athens of Quarry's family metamorphosed that quiet London businessman into a one-man vengeance machine visiting rough justice on criminals the law couldn't reach. He attacked Italy's kidnapping industry in 1989's "Quarry's Contract" and, in "The London Connection," takes on the Medellin cartel as the Colombia drug lords seek a beachhead for their cocaine invasion of the United Kingdom.

The whirlwind narrative sweeps from Europe to Miami and a Caribbean island where an in-residence Cartel bigwig controls a corrupt government that Britian wants toppled. At storm's center is the lethal Quarry, whose survival owes as much to his implacable strength of purpose as to his personal artillery.

It's riveting, blood-and-thunder stuff, but leanly written, and marvelously understated in the British manner.

The London Connection, By Robin Hunter. Morrow, 239 pages, $18.95.

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