Trigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz

IMG_3190A terrible title – but admirable, too. If you hadn’t already guessed, Trigger Mortis is a 007 follow-on novel and – even though the efforts by Sebastian Faulks and William Boyd were highly enjoyable – Anthony Horowitz is the first of the three to totally catch the tone of Bond’s/Fleming’s staggering snobbery – about everything, particularly food and clothes. For example, in what must rank as one of 007’s toughest assignments, he is forced to eat at the Star and Garter in Wiltshire (‘Bond had a particular dislike of English country restaurants’). However, to his surprise he finds that the cuisine is actually quite good (although the smoked salmon was ‘cut a little too close to the skin’…you see, he just can’t resist turning into Jay Rayner). There is motor racing, too, on the notoriously death-inducing Nürburgring circuit in Germany. Here, Bond’s casual racism is perfectly captured, as in a UKIP candidate’s fever-dream. A less honest writer might have used 21st century covering to paper over these particular cracks, but Horowitz’s novel is set in 1957 (two weeks after Goldfinger ends, in fact) and there are attitudes to match. Bond has no doubt that SMERSH would try to murder a British F1 champion on the track to demonstrate the superiority of Russian engineering: ‘It was just one more example of the utter cold-bloodedness and contempt that seemed to be built into the Slavic race.’ So there. At least he said ‘seemed to be’. As it happens, Bond soon finds millions more people to insult, because there is a Korean megalomaniac, Sin Jai-Seong, to deal with. Here, Horowitz does allow himself a bit of time without the Fleming straitjacket (Fleming would not, I think, have approved). Scratch the surface of any modern literary monster and you’ll find some deep-seated psychological excuse: Sin spells his out for us, in a quite severe case of the monologues – and it is a good excuse too, stemming from personal experience in the Korean War. Being on the wrong end of the (very much non-fictional) US slaughter of civilians at No Gun Ri would have turned Donald Trump against America. On second thought, probably not. Trump might have seen it more as an extreme travel ban.

 

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2 thoughts on “Trigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz

    • Thanks old chap – I think this is the best of the 007 ‘follow-ons’ – well, apart from the terrific Colonel Sun. Worth a gander! Bond races at the Nurburgring…Bond saves New York….Bond has smoked salmon…

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