THE MAN WITH THE RED TATTOO
Putnam, Jun 2002, 23, 95, 272 pp.
On a flight from Tokyo to England, passenger Kyoko McMahon becomes violently ill before dying. At about the same time near Tokyo, Kyoto's parents and her older sister also die. In England, the coroner believes that Kyoko died from a strand of West Nile disease, but only ten times deadlier than the normal strain.
James Bond attends the G8 summit in Japan to provide added protection to his country's leadership. He also investigates the deaths of the McMahon family, as the patriarch was a Scottish citizen and the CEO of a powerful pharmaceutical firm. Bond prefers not to return to Japan as he has bad memories though he appreciates the grace and beauty of the women. He soon works with his old friend Tiger Tanaka and agent Reiko Tamura in a race against a doomsday clock. Japanese Mafia Yami Shogun Goro Yoshida plots an end to western domination especially kicking America off his beloved nation's soil through a strand of virus that makes the deaths of the McMahon seem slow and gentle.
THE MAN WITH THE RED TATTOO is the best of the neo-Bond light tales. Raymond Benson returns Bond to what makes the character interesting to readers, yet humanizes 007 with his bad memories of Japan. The story line is quite exciting with global implications yet simplistic. The support cast is fun especially the return of Tiger and the villain who seems a lot like Bin Laden, as he wants the American presence off his beloved island nation. Mr. Benson makes a case that he is the heir to Mr. Fleming.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner