I can’t imagine anyone who reads this review not knowing who James Bond is. He is the epitome of the British spy – he gets the job done, he looks great doing it, and he plays, sexually, as hard as he works. But while Bond may be the most famous name in the literary spy business (thanks, I’m sure, in great part due to the movie franchise) he is far from the only spy.
Author Mike Ripley explores the rise of spy thrillers, specifically British thrillers, from the late 1950’s through the revolutionary 1960’s, to the early 1970’s. Ripley examines the biggest names in action/thriller fiction, but gives adequate attention to some of the lesser-known authors.
Ripley has done some remarkable research and his analysis of the authors, characters, and books herein is quite strong. Based on my reading of this book I have added a few authors in my ‘to be read’ list and I’ve read a couple of books that I found through mention by Ripley.
The book is definitely interesting, but it seems to me that the audience for this non-fiction read is somewhat limited. I was hoping, perhaps for a little comparative association for the times in which these books were written. How did the ‘free love’ movement impact Bond? Did news reports of Nazis discovered living quietly in rural neighborhoods have an impact on the cold war spy stories? How could they not?
But really this is an examination of the books and the authors among all the other books and authors in the field. It was an educational read and I’d recommend it to anyone interested in the genre, but it’s not a ‘must-read’ for the general reading public.
Looking for a good book? Kiss Kiss Bang Bang by Mike Ripley is an examination of British spy thriller fiction, primarily in the 1960’s, and anyone interested in this specific genre will find some valuable insights here.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
* * * * * *
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang: The Boom in British Thrillers from Casino Royale to The Eagle Has Landed
author: Mike Ripley
hardcover, 448 pages