Wednesday, October 10, 2007
THE LONDON SWITCH is nowhere near as oddball or kinky as the other paperback thrillers I've been reading lately. It's the first novel in Robin Moore and Al Dempsey's Pulsar International series, and it was released by Pinnacle Books in 1974. It must not have been successful, because there was only one more Pulsar novel, which I also own.
THE LONDON SWITCH is a straightforward chase thriller starring Tim Kyle, the vice-president of Pulsar, an international security agency that develops and sells elaborate surveillance and security systems to governments and corporations all over the world. Kyle is in business with his old friend Glenn Luther, whom he met during the Korean War. Kyle's gimmick is his computer brain, which he uses to calculate probabilities and risk equations in the blink of an eye whenever he gets into physical trouble. It isn't much of a gimmick, really, though Moore (who penned THE FRENCH CONNECTION, which was later adapted for the Oscar-winning film) and Dempsey get right into it, starting Chapter 1 with an attempt on Tim's life and his lightning-fast analytical response to escaping.
On a visit to London for a top-secret meeting with Pulsar's competitor, whom Tim and Glenn believe is pirating clients from them, Kyle is accused of a murder he didn't commit and goes on the run. The chief cop on his tale is Lar O'Brien, another old friend of Tim's. The international adventure jumps borders to take us into Ireland and Luxembourg, where the climax plays in a beautiful old castle fortified with the latest security technology.
THE LONDON SWITCH moves briskly enough and is written competently, but without much excitement. You won't have any trouble anticipating the plot twists, and it feels like I've seen this movie several dozen times. If you're into sex and violence, you won't find them here either.
Pulsar International #2 was THE ITALIAN CONNECTION, published in 1975, but that was it for Tim Kyle's adventures. And I doubt anyone misses them very much.