Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Running Blind: Review

"It'll be simple," his contact had said. "You'll be a messenger, that's all."

Ex-British Intelligence agent Alan Stewart foolishly thought he had retired from the game and was safely hidden away among the plentiful Stewarts found in Scotland. But when his old boss needs a courier for a top-secret package, he blackmails Stewart into playing the game one more time. It's supposed to be an easy hand-off in Iceland, no problem at all for Stewart who speaks the language like a native and who has the cover of a girlfriend in the country and regular fishing trips to Iceland to mask his real purpose. 

Stewart isn't buying the purported cakewalk nature of the job, though, and his instincts prove correct when less than an hour after he lands in Iceland he finds himself on a lonely road standing over the body of a man who had ambushed him and planned to make off with the booty. Stewart is reassured to know that his instincts are still sound and his reflexes as sharp as ever. What bothers him is the fact that he thought nobody but his own team knew he had traveled to Keflavik International Airport. It soon becomes apparent that not only his position is compromised, but so is the safety of Elin, the girl he loves. The two of them become embroiled in a cross-country race for their lives with a fairly violent denouement in store, made all the more difficult because Stewart no longer knows whom he can trust. 

Running Blind (1970) by Desmond Bagley is far less a mystery than a spy action thriller with definite ties to the time period. Not that it's so dated that it loses much of its entertainment factor. Bagley writes a quality spy thriller with lots of action, lots of killing, but a solid story surrounding our hero and the reasons for his adventures. It's a good taste of the Cold War days with the MI6 good guys teaming up with those CIA yanks and taking on those Russian KGB thugs. There are spies and counterspies, and double-agents all mixed in with a good piece of misdirection and misinformation. The only drawback is the rather longish, extended chase through the mid-section of the book--that got to be just a bit too much. Otherwise, a good solid espionage story ringing in at ★★ and a half.

This counts for the "Body of Water" category on the Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt card.

1 comment:

fredamans said...

Sounds very Bond-ish to me, so I'd read it!