Carte Blanche by Jeffery Deaver
*** ½ 517 pages Paperback Bantam
I have to admit my only prior Deaver experience was seeing the movie based on his novel the Bone Collector. I have always heard good things and it was on my list, but for one reason or another I just failed to get to it.
So when I saw this on the shelf at the library I was interested, mostly because Ian Fleming’s estate had asked Deaver to keep Bond alive in prose, just as they had in film with Casino Royale. This novel recasts Bond as a vet of Nato mission in Afghanistan.
Deaver has done a wonderful job updating the world with everything from tricked out Q-branch phones (IQphone) and agency turf wars. What makes this feel like a Fleming bond novel is the villain, more on that later.
The novel throws us into a Bond mission as he stops an attack on a train carrying dangerous chemicals. A young Serbian agent gets himself killed, but it is clear that Bond will be blamed. He is ordered back to England. When he returns he chases down evidence of a proposed terrorist attack leads to the founder of a South African based recycling company and its founder who has a fetish for looking at dead bodies.
I know nothing of Deaver’s political leanings, but making the villains liberal do-gooders like a recycler would have made my eyes roll in a Michael Crighton novel. Here he makes a perfect Bond villain, the almost tongue in cheek madmen world dominating maniac that Fleming did so well. To me this is the strongest aspect of the novel.
If there was any short coming for this novel is that I found it a little complicated, and sometimes found myself having to slow down and re-read pages. That is probably a ME problem and not the fault of the author.
I enjoyed it as a Bond novel and hope Deaver writes more. I might have to get around to his originals.