Monday, May 2, 2016

New Malko Novel--Lord of the Swallows

There's a new Gerard de Villiers novel on the shelves, Lord of the Swallows, yet another in the long-running Malko Linge series.

Of course I bought it. I've written of de Villiers before and I think I'm developing a real love-hate relationship with the late author.

Here's what you can expect in a Malko novel: thin writing, thin plot, thin characterization, lots of sex, a little action, and endings that fizzle like a sparkler running out of gas.

But, dammit, I read every single word.

Those of us in the States who don't read French are only getting translations, but they're very consistent, so I have to assume his natural style is somehow coming through. I may have to learn French so I can read the other books, actually.

I've just started Lord of the Swallows, which deals with Russian sleeper agents in the U.S., and find myself scratching my head. Why am I reading this? What happens next???? Somehow, it works. Somehow, de Villiers keeps you turning the pages. I'm going to stop wondering why and just enjoy the ride.

By the way, if you're a real glutton for punishment, go over to YouTube and find the trailers and clips for the Malko movies, which look even trashier than the books!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Ian Fleming: The Man with the Golden Typewriter

I just picked up a must-have book not only for fans of James Bond, but anybody interested in a good biography as well.

The Man with the Golden Typewriter reprints Fleming's correspondence to editors, friends and fans, and his letters pertaining to Bond are terrific. It's a much livelier bio than previous editions, as good as those are (I re-read the 1996 Lycett bio often).

But it's a sad book, too. You're basically reading somebody else's mail, getting caught up in their life and gossip, only to find the very last letter in which his secretary must inform a friend that Fleming is in the hospital and not doing well. You can tell by the date of the letter that he died shortly after, and you can't help but feeling bad. In these letters Fleming is alive again as sure as he was when he walked the earth, and I must admit it was a bit of a shock to get to the end. Sure, you know how and when he died, but here is news coming in "real time" so to speak, and, anyway, it ads weight to the proceedings that doesn't exist in similar letters of Chandler and Hammett

I can't recommend it enough.