Sunday, December 23, 2018

Anthony Horowitz's Forever and a Day

For me, winter break is about relaxing with fun fiction. Last year I read Anthony Horowitz's Magpie Murders, which was great, and then I saw he had another mystery this year but also a James Bond novel, Forever and a Day. I had not read a Bond novel since my teens when I had a read most of them, along with pulp Nick Carter spy novels from a local used bookstore (where they were literally 35 cents). I couldn't resist.

Horowitz does an excellent job. Bond has feelings, is assertive but without the annoying misogyny apparent in the novels of the era, and as a prequel you learn some of his background (e.g. why shaken but not stirred?). The CIA plays a bit of a role and the effects of world wars are important to the narrative, but there is no Russian involvement, which disappointed me. I wanted to see some more of that Cold War intrigue. The story is about heroin trafficking in the south of France and Corsican gangsters, plus an empty cruise ship. There are plenty of "oh, really?" moments but no spy novel would be complete without them.  It even has the outsized (literally, in girth) villain in Scipio that you usually get with Bond. .If you like Bond (without being some sort of purist, I suppose) and the genre, it's worth your time.


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