Monday, July 20, 2009

#26: The Paper Pistol Contract by Philip Atlee

Nullifier Joe Gall is given the tricky assignment of spoiling a French nuclear test and pinning it on the Chinese in The Paper Pistol Contract by Philip Atlee.

Naturally, this being written in the swinging 60s, Joe leaves a little time for the ladies and to kill a Godless Communist or two. But in the end I was a bit surprised how philosophical Gall is and more surprised at a somewhat downbeat ending; in fact Gall's "contract" more or less ends in ruins, with the bodies of friends and foes alike around him.

Atlee also displays a fine, full sense of place and character that makes his writing a cut above the usual pulp fare of that era. I was genuinely pleased with the last Joe Gall adventure I read (scroll down) and will keep looking for more of Atlee's work (even as, it seems, more and more of the Gold Medal paperbacks of my youth are in landfills, or somewhere).

I bought this one in a big heaping helping of Atlee and Edward S. Aarons paperbacks from ebay and looking forward to more.

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