Putnam, Jun 2001, 23.95, 272 pp.
In Nice, James Bond and his friend Rene Mathis fail to persuade Commandant Malherbe to call off the police raid. James and Rene feel the movie studio has too many civilians in the area while Malherbe feels they might not have a better opportunity to stop the Union from peddling their terrorist activities to the highest bidder. Nothing goes right as the raid turns into a trap leaving many dead, including several civilians. Movie producer/director Les Essinger uses the media to extract an apology from the French government.
Over the next few weeks, Bond fails to find any clues on the Union. Meanwhile Mathis vanishes, but is actually in Corsica tracking a blind man who he believes is Le Gerant, the head of the Union. Finally, Bond obtains a lead from a murdered prisoner known as a Union man. The deceased has a tattoo on his eye. That takes Bond to Paris where he meets Essinger's estranged wife actress Tylyn Mignonne. 007 expects that when he meets up with Mathis all hell will break loose, but he is unaware that his trysts with Tylyn spells dangerous from the Union because that is personal.
The latest Fleming-lite is an enjoyable James Bond tale that fans of the super spy will find entertaining. The story line is fast-paced although the Mathis sub-plot has almost as much ink as the 007 trail. Le Gerant is the usual Bond foe and Tylyn provides the typical female distraction. M, Moneypenny, and Boothroy add the SIS feel that accompanies Bond. All in all, Raymond Benson's latest 007 thriller provides the works, as Bond remains Bond.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner