Books by John E. Gardner

NO HUMAN ENEMY by John E. Gardner
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 2008

"The plotting is deft, the prose sprightly, but the exercise is unintentionally valedictory for randy Suzie (Troubled Midnight, 2006, etc.), whose remarkable creator died in 2007 after 80 years and 52 books."
In wartime England, WDI Suzie Mountford confronts the strange case of the nun who wasn't. Read full book review >
TROUBLED MIDNIGHT by John E. Gardner
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Feb. 28, 2006

"Suzie's probably right. Forget the cheesecloth plotting; it's saucy, sexy, ever-susceptible Suzie who carries the day."
The further amatory and ratiocinative adventures of DS Suzie Mountford. Read full book review >
UNKNOWN FEARS by John E. Gardner
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Feb. 1, 2005

"The leaky plot and sketchy characters put this one far below veteran Gardner's best. Originally published in the UK in 1992, it fails to win one for the Ripper."
Jack the Ripper is exhumed yet again. Read full book review >
ANGELS DINING AT THE RITZ by John E. Gardner
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: July 1, 2004

"Bear with the plotting flaws, and you'll see that Gardner, in his 49th novel, can still make you turn those pages."
Gardner, sometime Boswell to Ian Fleming's 007, benches moribund Bond and sends in a much livelier alternate: DS Suzie Mountford. Read full book review >
BOTTLED SPIDER by John E. Gardner
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

"The overlong saga inevitably sags here and there, but Suzie's all-out pursuit of a sociopathic villain, a meaningful career, and someone to take her virginity is a delight."
Move over, 007. Read full book review >
DAY OF ABSOLUTION by John E. Gardner
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Sept. 19, 2000

"Along the way, Gardner, ever the professional, drops knowing hints about MI5, the New Russia, his favorite hero, Herbie Kruger—pretty much everybody in the author's stable except 007."
A freelance assassin, an improbable money-laundering plot, a new eyewitness account of the ministry of Jesus Christ—they're all here in this inventive but lumpy ragbag from the sometime chronicler of James Bond (Cold Fall, 1996, etc.). Read full book review >
COLD FALL by John E. Gardner
Released: June 4, 1996

"A junk Bond: clumsy, predictable, and utterly lacking in the elegant insouciance that made the original palatable (if not precisely a treat)."
Case history 14 (Seafire, 1995, etc.) in the post-Ian Fleming series pits Gardner's kinder, gentler version of James Bond against ruthless neofascists, puts Sir Miles Messervey (a.k.a. Read full book review >
CONFESSOR by John E. Gardner
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: April 1, 1995

"Next time, expect Herbie to foil terrorists again, find more moles and true love, and die."
Big Herbie Kruger, the lovable, legendary SIS interrogator who's Gardner's favorite character, just can't stay retired. Read full book review >
SEAFIRE by John E. Gardner
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Sept. 6, 1994

"If you can swallow Pierce Brosnan as 007, you won't have any trouble getting this down."
James Bond saves the world from criminal genius, Take 13 (Take 27, if you count Ian Fleming's original series): an unapologetic nostalgia piece by Fleming's sturdy successor. Read full book review >
MAESTRO by John E. Gardner
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 7, 1993

Peerless conductor Louis Passau, accused on the eve of his 90th birthday of having been a Nazi spy, is to be debriefed by a covey of British and American agents—until two breathless attempts on his life leave him in the maverick hands of Big Herbie Kruger (the paperback The Quiet Dogs, etc.), pulled out from retirement to serve as his father confessor. Read full book review >
NEVER SEND FLOWERS by John E. Gardner
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: May 31, 1993

"As Gardner struggles to update the perils his superstar hero faces, Bond himself remains the biggest anachronism of all."
Like Pentagon dinosaurs laboring to adapt to a new world order by finding telltale traces of the old in every dark shadow, Gardner's reincarnation of James Bond examines a string of serial killings and finds a freelance terrorist just as dangerous as his old adversaries from SMERSH and SPECTRE. Read full book review >
DEATH IS FOREVER by John E. Gardner
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: June 8, 1992

"Ian Fleming's fans need not apply."
Of course, it isn't really forever; it's just business as usual for James bond, still gamely tackling would-be world dominators—this time, Wolfgang Weisen, the Poison Dwarf of East German intelligence—in his 11th outing under Gardner's flag. Read full book review >
THE MAN FROM BARBAROSSA by John E. Gardner
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: May 31, 1991

"Let's not talk about how far below Fleming's average."
Gardner rouses himself for more elaborate plotting than usual in his tenth stint as Ian Fleming's stand-in, but Gardner's James Bond, on loan to the KGB for some antiterrorist housecleaning, has aged a lot less gracefully than Sean Connery. Read full book review >
BROKENCLAW by John E. Gardner
Released: July 17, 1990

"Not this time."
Not even Ian Fleming hit the mark every time, and Gardner's latest James Bond pastiche, his ninth (soon he will have written more about Bond than Fleming did), reads as if it were written by a committee from a computer-generated summary of all the others. Read full book review >
WIN, LOSE OR DIE by John E. Gardner
Released: July 24, 1989

"Despite too many acronyms, too much artillery, and too many layers of deceptive identity, this is still one of Gardner's better Bonds, guaranteed to make you feel excited as well as a little foolish."
The indefatigable Gardner is at it again: fresh from his triumphant conclusion of the intricate, masterful Secret Generations trilogy with The Secret Families, he's boiling the pot once more with his eighth James Bond outing, just as predictable and expertly concocted as the others. Read full book review >
THE SECRET FAMILIES by John E. Gardner
Released: April 19, 1989

"Given the evidence here, can't someone get an injunction against the return of James Bond?"
Gardner, best known for his airheaded and highly successful pastiches of Superman James Bond, here completes the marvelous generational trilogy begun with The Secret Generations and The Secret Houses: the elegant, sedate, intricate, richly layered story of those inveterate British agents, the Railtons. Read full book review >
SCORPIUS by John E. Gardner
Released: May 23, 1988

"As in Gardner's others, there's little here of the gadgetry, sex, and humor that made Fleming's tales such fun; but this unusually grim Bond morality play offers plenty of fast comic-book action, some vivid characters, and enough references to the 007 canon to please most Bondphiles."
Like a ragged old ghost, 007 returns for his annual haunt in this seventh Gardner/ Bond incarnation; but this time—unlike in last year's tepid No Deals, Mr. Bond—the spook shows some spunk as he tackles Gardner's niftiest villain to date. Read full book review >
THE SECRET HOUSES by John E. Gardner
Released: Nov. 18, 1987

"Farthing saga seems assured, and is welcome."
A complex but sophisticated and rewarding sequel to The Secret Generations (1985). Read full book review >
Released: April 27, 1987

"Roger Moore has retired from his Bond involvement; it's time for Gardner, who's now just going through the motions, to do the same."
Gardner's sixth James Bond novel forgoes the series' customary doomsday scenario and comic-strip villain, reviving 007's old nemesis SMERSH for unadorned spy vs. spy chills. Read full book review >
Released: May 16, 1986

"All in all, Gardner avoids some of the giganticism of the Bond flicks but certain climactic clichÉs—granted Bond's megalomaniacal villains—by now seem unavoidable, Even so, one dismisses the cliches for the amusement."
Fifth and most deft of Gardner's continuations of the James Bond series, though not to be compared with Gardner's far richer The Secret Generations, published last year between Bonds. Read full book review >
THE SECRET GENERATIONS by John E. Gardner
Released: Nov. 21, 1985

"A dynasty this strongly established is sure to return."
Gardner surrenders his license for James Bond-ing to package a multi-generational saga about the Railtons, a spy family synonymous with British Intelligence and Security, whose undercover exploits herein stretch from 1909 to 1935 and who dash wonderfully about most of the civilized world. Read full book review >
ROLE OF HONOR by John E. Gardner
Released: Sept. 24, 1984

"Virtually no humor, virtually no suspense, and virtually no charm or sexiness in old 007—making this by far the weakest of Gardner's somewhat pre-sold fabrications, with some extra appeal only for computer fans."
James Bond again—in a ragged quickie that's cartoon caper/sleuth action most of the way through (like an old episode of TV's The Avengers), with some cosmic war-games stuck on at the end. Read full book review >
ICEBREAKER by John E. Gardner
Released: April 20, 1983

"And though the formula is tired beyond belief, the scenery's nice, the pacing is competent—and the readership has proven to be uncommonly loyal."
James Bond in Finland and Russia—for more of the same, just colder. Read full book review >
FOR SPECIAL SERVICES by John E. Gardner
Released: May 3, 1982

"Bond Comic-strippy as ever, but without the freshness and Bond-persona detail of the first resurrection."
Gardner's second shot at continuing Ian Fleming's James Bond series is smooth enough—but a good deal less fun than License Renewed. Read full book review >
LICENSE RENEWED by John E. Gardner
Released: April 20, 1981

"More tongue-in-cheek than Fleming, but mindless fun as usual: savory fluff for the curious and the old fans too."
The prince of British secret agents, gadgetry, and exalted consumerism, 007, James Bond himself, returns after a 16-year absence. Read full book review >
THE GARDEN OF WEAPONS by John E. Gardner
Released: March 15, 1981

"Mahler (Herbie's addiction) will find this a special sort of espionage treat."
Another enjoyably complicated, modestly engaging spy-arama for British agent Herbie Kruger (The Nostradamus Traitor, 1979), that Mahler-loving, hard-drinking, Nazi-bred teddy bear of a spy. Read full book review >
THE LAST TRUMP by John E. Gardner
Released: Nov. 9, 1980

"But Gardner (author of The Werewolf Trace etc., and not to be confused with the US novelist of the same name) is always an agreeably straightforward storyteller, confident and professional enough to squeak by with even so foolish a concoction as this one."
It's the mid-1990s, and Russia has conquered Europe, with Britain (rotted with leftists from within) surrendering to a Soviet "peace-keeping force" and the US "neutralized" by having its intelligence apparatus totally sabotaged. Read full book review >
THE NOSTRADAMUS TRAITOR by John E. Gardner
Released: May 25, 1979

"Still: yards above the run of the espionage mill."
A jumpy and complex spy puzzle—scooting back and forth between 1941 and 1978—that's pretty darn good but should perhaps have been a great deal better; one often has the feeling with the prolific John Gardner (The Werewolf Trance) that a really first-rate spy novel would emerge if he'd only give it enough time to grow. Read full book review >
THE WEREWOLF TRACE by John E. Gardner
Released: April 15, 1977

"Like everything that leads up to it, the denouement will have your feelings tightly twined even while your brain demands some answers that just aren't there."
Combine Nazi-hunting and ghost-hunting and what do you get? Read full book review >
THE CORNERMEN by John E. Gardner
Released: July 2, 1976

"Intense hokum."
A Scotland Yard procedural with the New York Mafia moving in on a pair of psychotic London supercriminals, the Magnus cousins, modeled on the infamous real-life Kray twins, Ronnie and Reggie. Read full book review >
THE REVENGE OF MORIARTY by John E. Gardner
Released: Dec. 12, 1975

"To Holmes' fiddle, add the faddle."
There's no particular reason to assume that Holmes' followers or even faddists will be drawn to this second in the series (Moriarty's Return, 1974). Read full book review >
THE RETURN OF MORIARTY by John E. Gardner
Released: Oct. 28, 1974

"Gardner is just not in a class with Watson and the plot bears only a tangential relationship to the original canon."
We don't know how to square this tale of evil, based on the journals of the notorious Moriarity himself, with the intelligence lately provided by the good Watson (The Seven Per-Cent Solution, p. 650). Read full book review >
EVERY NIGHT'S A FESTIVAL by John E. Gardner
Released: Nov. 6, 1972

"On this goes through the whole business of staging a production and delivering a success but it's not really entertaining unless you justify it in terms of that equal pound of flesh."
You might well decline the invitational title and remember Mr. Gardner's jovial Boysie Oakes continuity with nostalgia — this is an insistently obvious backstage novel of a smaller than Stratford repertory theatre which Douglas Silver is asked to resuscitate. Read full book review >
AIR APPARENT by John E. Gardner
Released: Feb. 15, 1970

"Tiresome."
Boysie Oakes again, that shaky hand on the trigger, driven to fright and folderol by slimy Mostyn, his ex-boss. Read full book review >
A COMPLETE STATE OF DEATH by John E. Gardner
Released: Sept. 9, 1969

"Firm."
A (to some) welcome change from that benign bumbler Boysie Oakes in Detective Inspector Torry, a "professional idealist" with a hairshirt conscience now assigned to a whole network of criminal activities generated by an unknown Wexton. Read full book review >
MADRIGAL by John E. Gardner
Released: April 10, 1968

"The awful threat at the end of the book is that Boysie Oakes (ex-British intelligence agent, all gonads, no brains nor guts) his slimy ex-boss and Griffin (their Cockney liquidator) will return in yet another about the firm they founded after the government pruned away their Special Branch."
A madrigal is a structured dramatic song that can go on far too long. Read full book review >
UNDERSTRIKE by John E. Gardner
Released: July 1, 1965

"But, where Bond is all Tiger, Boysie is pure Chicken and therein lies the laugh appeal for an audience in Bond-age."
The current hoo-ha between the N.Y. Herald Trib and the New Yorker brought forth this interesting definition of proper parody from the magazine — a writing form used only on those writers who are worth it. Read full book review >