31 May 2022 478 Views

With a Mind to Kill. Horowitz does a nice line in Fan Fiction for 007. That’s about it. Sorry!

by James Murphy

Let’s start with the positives:

 

1: Horowitz is a NICE GUY. I met him once. Polished, kind, gentlemanly. Loves his wife /kids etc. He researches all his work immaculately and one can tell he adores James Bond and invested much work into crafting his 007 continuation novels.

2: The latest effort moves at great pace, is certainly fun and entertaining in parts, and sets up a solid thriller premise, no question. The girl is lovely and the travelogue and lifestyle details are all present and correct.

But:

1: Adds NOTHING to CANON. Seriously. Why even have this exist at all, as a book? It neither subverts nor advances Bond lore.

2: Good premises are well and good. But without much innovation or actual ticking clock thrills to match and no massive twist? Yawn. Missed opp.

3: Do you remember ANY of the characters in this? Names? Descriptions? Motivations? Answer: NO.

4: Owes a LOT to Fleming but lacks Ian’s turn of phrase or ability to balance show v tell and naughty v nice. Today’s man cannot write in the idiom of yesterday. It just does not work, especially when talking about sex, smoking, killing, etc. Except, maybe, as satire? Which is why, I WISH they would hire a new writer with an original and bold take (Will Self? Martin Amis? JK Rowling? Tom Cain? ME?!).

5: Horowitz. STOP with the Ireland bashing, yeah? This is the second time in your 00-trilogy you have had a go at my beloved emerald isle. Same way you had a ‘Duggan’ be gay/bi in Trigger Mortis?  THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A GAY/BI Irish Duggan. Especially if they work in the military world. Trust me. So: Stop it. Stop. it. NOW. Just a friendly word of advice. Especially as you, Anthony, used FOYLE’S WAR, repeatedly, to lecture on ‘issues’ like..racism /nationalism. Cannot have it both ways, sir. 😉

In short? Competently crafted fan-fic is what you get with A MIND TO KILL. Nothing more. Nothing less. Fine if that’s your need for a 00-fix. But William Boyd’s SOLO was better, as was Deaver’s CARTE BLANCHE.

C+ Undistinguished and derivative; but passable and pleasant in places.



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