Clumsy prose and a thin plot make Fawcett's second ""Ian Fleming"" novel (after 2002's Death to Spies) an unsatisfying read, either as a complement to the James Bond canon or as a thriller in its own right. At a holiday party in London in 1950, Fleming bumps into a fellow journalist he admires, Nora Blair DeYoung, who writes under an assumed name. Unlike Agent 007, Fleming doesn't seduce the beautiful and successful DeYoung; he's catching a plane the next morning for Jamaica, where he has a vacation house. But before Fleming can make his flight, he's accosted by two British intelligence agents with an unusual assignment: to smear Oscar Winterberg, an enigmatic San Francisco labor leader who may be a Communist spy. The scrupulous Fleming, who served in British naval intelligence during WWII, refuses to do their ""dirty work."" As the creaky plot unfolds, DeYoung and Fleming (inevitably) become lovers and partners in an effort to unravel Winterberg's mystery. Amid a surfeit of exposition, Fawcett's Fleming is nowhere near as compelling as the fictional Bond. The real Ian Fleming is probably turning in his grave, but given Bond's iconic appeal, enough fans should get aboard to ensure a third installment in the series. (July 14)FYI: Fawcett is also the author of The Scottish Ploy (Forecasts, Nov. 27, 2000) and other titles in his Mycroft Holmes series.