Sunday, April 30, 2006

Hamilton, Donald. Death of a citizen. Greenwich, Conn.: Gold Medal, 1960. 142pp.

Wow. This is the first of Hamilton's tough-guy hardboiled spy series featuring Matt Helm. Don't get this confused with the Matt Helm movies from the 1960's starring Dean Martin. These are no cream puff comedies. No, these are violent and brutal, dated but with a genuinely cruel edge. Well worth reading, I like this book a lot and will definately read as many of the other Matt Helm books as I can get my hands on. At 142 pages, this is a short, sharp shock, not fat or excess baggage to distract from the story. Tired of bloated contemporary novels? This is definately old school.

The story? Matt Helm is a retired WWII behind-enemy-lines operative in late 1950s Santa Fe, living the quite life with his wife and kids. Suddenly, an old fellow operative (and lover, natch) turns up at a party and Helm is dragged back into the world of cross and double-cross where nothing and no-one is as they seem. Wild-goose chases, kidnappings, murder and mayhem ensue. Helm solves his problems old school, too.

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