Tuesday, October 02, 2018

23. Assignment-Mara Tirana by Edward S. Aarons

Serious 1960s babe right there,
also this happened in the book
I just realized upon starting to write this post that I have never actually read an Edward S. Aarons book.  They are staples of the manly fiction collecting world and I have come across them many times, including a massive collection at a used bookstore in Winnipeg.  I guess partly because of their ubiquity, I never felt the need to actually read one.  Probably part of me was being a bit dismissive, assuming that they couldn't be all that good given the quantity of output.

Well times are desperate for this paperback book hunter and I found this on a blanket in Mile End or the hospital used book store and picked it up.  It's actually very well written.  It suffers from some of the tropes of the time and genre, particularly the sexual and romantic relationships and the portrayal of women.  The story is grim and mostly in the realm of the realistic (though the commie bosses are portrayed as pretty brutally evil, without any real motivation beyond ideology and crushing the west) and the locations are captivating and evocatively written.  I stuck with it to the end and quite enjoyed it.

In this one, Sam Durell discovers that the woman he loves and had to abandon because of his job, has followed one of his brutal compatriots to Vienna to try and help rescue her new love, an American astronaut who has crash-landed in the mountains behind the iron curtain.  Durell goes to rescue her, against the wishes of his CIA superiors.  There is a lot of hand-wringing about him not following procedure because of love, but we never spend too much time on that.  Furthermore, we get storylines of the other spy as well as the crashed astronaut that are all pretty fun to follow.  There are several interesting side characters, including a Hungarian partisan, a village police chief, a spoiled actor brat younger brother.

I'm very glad to know that these are decent reads.  I won't be collecting them but will keep an eye out for them in my future hunts. 

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