Saturday, June 6, 2009

#20: Assignment Madeleine by Edward S. Aarons

Spy Sam Durrell reluctantly goes to Algeria in the heat of the French conflict there to bring back a triple-crossing American agent who killed his mentor; soon he ends up fighting killers on all sides during a race across the desert in Edward S. Aarons' Assignment Madeleine.

I dipped into Aarons' "Assignment" series with Sam Durrell many, many years ago and remember the few books I read being competent but perhaps a notch below my favorite of that era, Donald Hamilton's Matt Helm novels. However, reading this one with fresh, or perhaps more seasoned, eyes I found this to be very tough, terse writing. Aaron presents the political nuance of John LeCarre as well, which surprised me for a series novel.

Fortunately I bought a big chunk of these (and some Philip Atlee Joe Gall novels in the same ebay lot, an admirable load of Gold Medal paperbacks) and will be able to try some more later and see how others stand the test of time.

Once I had some of these of my own, but I can't find them or have let them slip through my fingers, and in fact a lot of people have done the same as you can't find Gold Medal books in used bookstores like you used to, all crowded out by big thick Tom Clancys and John Grishams.

Edward S. Aarons seems to be having a bit of a revival in pulp fandom, so I thought I would find out for myself. And I was glad I did.

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