Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


CARTE BLANCHE THE NEW JAMES BOND NOVEL. Jeffery Deaver. Simon and Schuster; 20ll.

In the first new James Bond novel since Sebastian Faulke's disappointing Devil May Care  in 2008, top American thriller writer Jeffery Deaver [The Bone Collector] takes over the franchise and doesn't do a half-bad job. Bond has learned from intel that thousands of people are going to be killed in an attack, but the trick is in tracking down the details and saving all of those lives. The chief suspects are waste management man Severan Hydt and his right-hand man Niall Dunne, and Bond's allies include two beautiful ladies, an African police chief and a woman who raises money to feed the hungry. Deaver keeps the pages moving adeptly and suspensefully and has a couple of clever twists. However, while Carte Blanche is a good read and a good book, it doesn't have the sheer richness of the best of Ian Fleming [Man with the Golden Gun, among others] and also lacks that nail-biting tension, explosive violence, memorable antagonists, and wild paranoia of the best of John Gardner's 007 novels [Scorpius; Win, Lose or Die; Nobody Lives Forever.]  Still Bond fans should rejoice that 007 remains a very interesting and viable character. Bond and his writers have had to make some adjustments to the character as he goes from decade to decade and have generally done a good job in updating some of his attitudes. Meanwhile, work on the latest Bond movie seems to have come to a halt. We'll see.

Verdict: Not a bad bet for 007 fans if not without flaws. ***.

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