Thursday, November 24, 2011

Death In Lisbon

I don't know why it took me three years to read another Cabot Cain novel when I liked the first one so much. I don't have the second book in the series, so I jumped ahead to the third, ASSAULT ON LOVELESS, published by Avon in 1969.

I wrote a little bit about author Alan Caillou when he died in 2006. He must have been an interesting guy. Born in England, Caillou was a spy during World War II. He was also a policeman and a great white hunter before becoming a novelist in 1955. Not long after that, he began writing for movies and television, particularly THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E., acting, and performing voiceovers (I believe he dubbed Fred MacMurray's voice as Steve Douglas' Scottish cousin on MY THREE SONS). He played Inspector Lestrade in THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES on television, wrote one of THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN's pilot films, penned the immortal KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS and THE LOSERS, and adapted one of his Cabot Cain novels, ATTACK ON AGATHON, for the big screen.

Caillou's real-life experiences in the military and law enforcement deeply color his Cabot Cain novels, including ASSAULT ON LOVELESS. Cain is a bit too good to be true, standing 6-foot-7 and possessing incredible knowledge of almost any subject. An independent agent, Cain is called in by Interpol's Colonel Fenrick, an old friend, to chase a madman named Loveless, who possesses a deadly toxin and threatens to destroy the world with it. Or at least as much of it he can reach with the four ounces of toxin he has (which would still be a lot).

Of course, a woman is involved--in this case, Fenrick's niece Astrid--which leads to some nice banter between Cain and the older man. LOVELESS and the other Cain novels don't really fall into the men's action genre, since they're colorful espionage adventures similar to the Sam Durell books written by Edward Aarons and Donald Hamilton's Matt Helm series. Caillou's series isn't as well known, but it delivers pretty close to the same excitement and is worth picking up online or in a used bookstore.

4 comments:

Bill Crider said...

I've written about Caillou, too, and I really enjoy this series.

Temple of Schlock said...

I interviewed Allan Caillou about THE LOSERS and EVEL KNIEVEL in the late '90s. Very knowledgeable, very opinionated, and very nice. I have a few of his Colonel Tobin books, but the Cabot Cains have managed to elude me.

Brian R. Sheridan said...

Great post! I immediately went and ordered the first book of the series. Those other series always had too much gratuitous violence for my taste, so this series sounds much more to my liking. Can't believe I had not heard about it before since I used to practically live in used books stores during the 1980s.

Benzadmiral said...

Caillou is credited among "Man from U.N.C.L.E." fans, and sources, as the writer who really developed the character of Illya Kuryakin, David McCallum's signature role.