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Casino Royale? Why bother with recycled 007 when Devoe (Into the Volcano, not reviewed) serves up the ’60s sexy super-spy stuff with even more nifty retro brio?

Mallory and Morse, the grooviest guy-’n’-gal cloak-’n’-dagger couple since John Steed and Emma Peel, are hot on the trail of a contraband spy satellite. Mainly, though, they’re just hot. Devoe serves up a page-turning plot featuring Grand Prix peel-outs, munitions-crazed scientists and box-jawed Navy SEALs like Billy Harmon, “extensively trained in demolitions, covert comm, penetration, evasion, and martial arts.” But the real kick is the swingin’ 1963 atmospherics—hi-fi’s blaring Montovani, Ferarris flashing class, wines like the “most excellent Cote de Beaune Montrachet.” Into this Ian Fleming–Hugh Hefner candyland plunge M&M and sidekick Billy on a mission to snatch the Archangel, an ultra-WMD first envisioned in one of Hitler’s dreams. The Nazis never perfected the weapon; the Soviets later tried; finally, mad genius Walther Kost delivers the goods. But his masterpiece is stolen by a dastardly arms-trader dubbed “the Dane,” who’s trying to sell the thing for half-a-billion bucks. Working for the Consultancy, a freelance spy shop that farms out agents to the highest bidder, ideology be damned, Mallory and Morse go undercover: he as head of an “international consulting firm specializing in industrial and corporate security and counterespionage,” she as someone who looks good in a bikini. The action moves from Finland to South Africa to Monte Carlo—and we’re treated to the hijinks of a fab cast of characters: the gorgeous seven-foot Milena, a Polish marijuana smoker; twin masseuses Kirsten and Kristen, a sort of R-rated Mary Kate and Ashley; dashing race car drivers; and a Laotian villain called Xiong.

Pure pop art.

Pub Date: March 1st, 2007
ISBN: 0-06-072380-7
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2006