FOREVER AND A DEATH by Donald E. Westlake


Email this review


Fans of the beloved Westlake (1933-2008) will rejoice in this unexpected treat: a novel based on a treatment for a 1997 James Bond movie that the Chinese government’s displeasure prevented from going into production.

Approached by movie producer Jeff Kleeman, who provides an informative afterword here, about writing a sequel to Goldeneye, the first of the Pierce Brosnan Bonds, Westlake (The Getaway Car, 2014, etc.) spun out a doozy of a premise: a businessman who’s been tossed out of Hong Kong just as the Chinese take over the British colony plots revenge by using a soliton to create mega-waves that will flood tunnels bored into the landfill beneath parts of the island, bringing much of the place down in piles of rubble as the villain escapes with a fortune in looted gold. (You can see why the Chinese objected.) Unfortunately for scheming construction king Richard Curtis, his warm-up, in which he uses the soliton on his own private island off the Australian coast, is witnessed by Jerry Diedrich, the environmental activist of Planetwatch, who has a special reason for keeping a close eye on Curtis, and volunteer diver Kim Baldur, who leaps into the water in defiance of Curtis engineer George Manville’s no-trespassing warning moments before the soliton starts churning the waters. Against all odds, Kim survives the shock waves that follow. Curtis wants her dead anyway; Manville struggles to keep her alive. So begins a tale that caroms from Brisbane to Singapore to Hong Kong in the sturdiest Bond tradition, with all the obligatory double-crosses, counterespionage, and action set pieces you’d expect from a franchise entry that ticks off every Bond box except for Bond. What’s most fascinating here, in fact, is watching Westlake thriftily remix the ingredients he originally assembled for a franchise entry into a stand-alone that’s all his.

Not as tough as Westlake’s Richard Stark stories about Parker, not as humorous as his tales of the hapless thief Dortmunder, but a posthumous bonus fans will cherish anyway.

Pub Date: June 13th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-78565-423-7
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Hard Case Crime
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2017


FictionBROTHERS KEEPERS by Donald E. Westlake
by Donald E. Westlake
MysteryHELP I AM BEING HELD PRISONER by Donald E. Westlake
by Donald E. Westlake
NonfictionTHE GETAWAY CAR by Donald E. Westlake
by Donald E. Westlake


MysteryTHE LAST BEST FRIEND by George  Sims
by George Sims
FictionTHE FACTS OF DEATH by Raymond Benson
by Raymond Benson
FictionFOREVER AND A DAY by Anthony Horowitz
by Anthony Horowitz