There’s two thing that I like about these new James Bond books over the movies.
- They’re set in the past, which gives them a nice nostalgic feel: the heroes smoked pipes and cigarettes, the villains were stereotypically Russians, and the women were … not always the helpless creatures that writers of the time made them out to be.
- Getting inside Bond’s head you get to see that he’s actually a bit of a dick.
Trigger Mortis takes us back to the late 1950s. Naval war hero and British Secret Service agent, James Bond has returned from the successful completion of the Goldfinger assignment with the svelte innuendo that is Pussy Galore in tow. He hardly has time to start sniffing around for a new bedmate when his country has need of him yet again, this time to foil a sinister plot involving race cars, Russians and rockets.
Okay, there’s not going to be any surprises plot-wise: the villains are stereotypical for the age it’s set (Horowitz picks the Russians and a Korean) and Bond is … well, he’s Bond. The story is extremely well placed: Horowitz captures the feel and the attitudes of the time so well that the misogyny and occasional Gay-bashing just slots straight in. This is a good thing. Things were a lot different in those days, and Bond’s letching over women and mistrust of homosexuals was pretty much the norm.
The story clips along at a decent pace, though I felt the writing could be s little tighter in places. The prose is simple and straightforward, not literary fiction by any means, but again, I think it’s been written to represent pulp fiction of the time. All just adds to the atmosphere.
The action is very much schoolboy-comic, but still managed to produce a few sequences that got the pulse racing.
It’s a good holiday read, near perfect beach fodder actually, but it is typical 007 stuff, so if that’s your bag then you won’t be disappointed.
A respectable seven out of ten.