Monday, February 11, 2013

Assignment...To Disaster

Edward S. Aarons penned more than eighty novels during his lifetime, which ended prematurely of a heart attack in 1975 at the age of 58. Of his novels, 42 of them featured the adventures of a tough-guy Cajun spy named Sam Durell.

ASSIGNMENT TO DISASTER, first published by Fawcett in 1955, was the first.
Durell's first case is an interesting mix of Cold War intrigue and over-the-top end-of-the-world shenanigans that we would come to see regularly in the James Bond movies. Durell is assigned to track down an eccentric scientist named Calvin Padgett, who has been out west working on a top-secret nuke. It's suspected Calvin may be a traitor, and Sam's best bet to find him is Calvin's sister, Deirdre.

Of course, nothing is as it seems, and the stress level is high for all the characters, including Durell's D.C. bosses. Sam, who comes to realize the missile's launch could mean the end of life on Earth, becomes a treason suspect himself, and he and Deirdre find themselves on the run from government spies.

ASSIGNMENT TO DISASTER is a pretty great adventure, told in third person, even though everything we see is Durell's point of view. I've been reading Aarons' Durell novels for years, and give them a high recommendation. If you're into Donald Hamilton's Matt Helm series, I think you'll like the Durells too.


Anonymous said...

I'd love to see ebooks of these or new editions like the new Matt Helm books Titan is publishing.

joe allegretti

Samuel Wilson said...

I've read a couple in this series (Assignment Budapest and Assignment Mara Tirana) and have a few more to read. Cold War cliches abound of course but the books entertain and the subplot of Durell's marital difficulties added some interest. I'd probably buy more if I find them.