These days, we can’t get enough of Jason Bourne, Mission Impossible, and James Bond-type films from Hollywood. The public is craving for good “Tom Clancy-esque” espionage thrillers in print or in films and, lucky for us, Titan Books will be re-issuing author Donald Hamilton’s Matt Helm novels. Matt Helm was a military assassin during World War II, where he worked for a covert group to eliminate Nazis. During the 1960’s, the Matt Helm character caught the public’s attention, and has since sold over 20 million books worldwide, while spawning 27 paperback adventure novels. The character inspired a network TV series and four films starring Dean Martin, which were loosely based on Donald Hamilton’s character, and were set-up to be more of the slapstick comedy/action film variety. So, I’m pretty much still waiting for Hollywood to get the correct version of Matt Helm on screen and rumors have been swirling that director Steven Spielberg will take a hack at it. In the meantime, Titan Books will release the first two books in the Helm series – Death of a Citizen and The Wrecking Crew.
Death of a Citizen
In the first book of the series, we meet Matt Helm who is a family man living the suburban life in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with a wife and young kids. Working as a popular photographer, his world takes a sudden detour when a former colleague and past lover turns rogue during an operation and kidnaps his daughter. Matt then returns to action as a deadly agent and assassin to track down and punish the person responsible for this.
The Wrecking Crew
After 15 years of raising a family in Sante Fe, Matt takes his first assignment in the field. He is sent to Sweden to eliminate the elusive veteran spy Caselius. Like the first book, a trail of dead bodies and no-holds-barred action unfolds.
If you like realistic action scenes and gutsy espionage stories, then this is definitely for you. The language is gritty and the action is daring – it’s killed or be killed, just ask questions later. Unlike Ian Fleming’s James Bond character, Matt Helm is the brash, non-martini drinking, cowboy agent. Hamilton sums it up best here when asked about his Helm character: “He’s a nice guy, he just happens to kill people for a living.”
Author: Donald Hamilton
Publisher: Titan Books
MSRP: 7.99USD each
Available: February 22, 2013