Thursday, December 15, 2011

#49: Carte Blanche by Jeffrey Deaver

James Bond is back in action against a recycling magnate with a death fetish in Jeffrey Deaver's low-stakes initial outing with 007, Carte Blanche.

Despite some globe-trotting through Eastern Europe, England, and South Africa, overall this is a bit of a banal spy story, whether the name of James Bond is attached or not.  And yet it is hard to identify this retooled Bond, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan who still likes fast cars but has more politely contemporary views on drinking and women.  The main character really could have been any protagonist of this type of story.

Although I have enjoyed Deaver's crime fiction from time to time, I was a bit put out by a mechanic in this story that kept cheating the reader by holding back key plot elements until later reveals, almost as one might see in a screenplay.  That being said, if Deaver does another Bond novel I will probably check it out to see where he goes with it next.

It might be unfair to critique Deaver's take on Bond so quickly on the heels of Sebastian Faulks' superior Bond novel Devil May Care, which fits directly into Fleming's original series where he left off in the 60s.  I would have loved to see Faulks do another one that fit directly into the canon.

I started reading this borrowed from the Morrison-Reeves Public Library, put it down, then picked it up on audio book and finished it on a long drive back and forth to Chicago.  Recommended for Bond completists.

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