Book Report: The Libyan Contract by Don Collins (1974)

Just when I get to breezing along these paperback pulp novels, thinking they’re all the same, I run into one that’s not.

Maybe I’ve been running in a particular series (The Executioner), so I get complacent and think that they all read like that, fast and engaging, and then I run into something like this.

Oh, not to sell it short: this book is ripped from contemporary headlines. A Texas oilman wants to kill an Arab leader for his own personal gain! If that doesn’t strike you as the summation of the left’s view of the 21st century, I don’t know what would, aside from that the post-2009 21st century includes RACISM! as the motivating factor for Texas oilmen and their sympathists opposing…. Well, anything.

Except this book takes place ca. 1974, when a CIA agent seeks out a South African son of an SS officer who’s out to kill Muammar al-Gaddafi. Wait a minute, a CIA agent protecting Gaddafi? This just in: I made a dartboard with Gaddafi’s face on it as an art project in middle school. I am now middle-aged. I would say, “WTF?” but that’s how the kids talk these days. Did I say “kids”? I meant “people who think they’re young, but are marketing to kids.”

Sorry, as a middle-aged man, I’m prone to the wandering thoughts that come with age. Where was I?

Oh, yes, this book I read in 2010.

Well, it’s a book that takes its inspiration from the international suspense pulps of the era. Ian Fleming inspired many, which is why the main character has relations with Israeli intelligence and Maltese natives in that way.

However, the book’s pacing really pulls it out of the ranks of pulp or paperback fiction; solid paragraphs and extraneousity slow the book down a great deal. The story is a bit meh. The set pieces are not so much predictable as slow to develop, and the main character’s main job seems to be running to authorities in various locations and asking for their help, which is not what one usually wants in a two-fisted pulp novel.

Apparently, this is part of a series and is the first in the series without the Secret Mission: prefix. So I’ll avoid those with it and try to avoid others in the series without it.

And I’m back to Don Pendleton by now, thank you very much.

Books mentioned in this review:

Secret Mission No. 17: The Libyan Contract

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