Monday, February 7, 2011

Sabre Tooth (1966)

 Book two of the Modesty Blaise series. Modesty and her sidekick Willie Garvin stop a plot to take over Kuwait in a one-day attack (strangely enough, scheduled for September 11). It's fast-paced brutal stuff, and incredibly well-written for pulp entertainment. Part of its pleasure comes from just how good Modesty and Willie are at what they do--fighting, killing bad guys, stealing things, foiling plots, seducing everyone. There is an art-heist scene in this book, kind of a throwaway in the middle of the novel, that is so ingenious it's better than just about any art-heist scene I've ever seen in a film.

All that said, there is something a little unreal, a little too perfect, about Modesty and Willie that keeps the stories from becoming anything more than entertaining reads. Even Ian Fleming's James Bond had all sorts of character flaws and insecurities. It would be nice if some of that were injected into this series. But I'll keep reading them for now and dreaming of a great new film series, set in the 1960s, and starring, I don't know, Monica Belluci and Jason Statham maybe.

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