The first installment in the legendary Matt Helm thrillers
Matt Helm, one-time special agent for the American government during the Second World War, has left behind his violent past to raise a family in Santa Fe, New Mexico. When a former colleague turns rogue and kidnaps his daughter, Helm is forced to return to his former life as a deadly and relentless assassin.
Originally released in the era of the James Bond novels, the Matt Helm novels were considered grittier and more realistic than Bond, garnering them critical praise and an ardent audience.
Point of view:
1st person. Entirely from Matt’s perspective
I’m kind of mixed on this. Published in 1960, there’s sort of a fun historical, almost campy, look at spy craft – but then it’s also heavily laden with misogyny that became overwhelming.
I did enjoy the bones of the story which consisted of reactivating Helm as an agent and his first case. There was some predictability as well as twists and turns I didn’t expect.
I’m just not sure whether I’ll continue the series even thought it’s free to borrow via Plus.
Biggest complaint: (spoiler)
Matt has an affair with an old flame like 12 hours into the story and just kind of blows it off as a normal thing due to adrenaline. Then he’s just back with his wife as if it’s nothing.
Stefan Rudniki has kind of a gruff “announcer” voice that worked well for the characters and time. I enjoyed his performance.