QUILLER BALALAIKA

Adam Hall, Author . Carroll & Graf/Penzler $24 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7867-1265-6

First published in the U.K. in 1995, shortly after the pseudonymous Hall's death from cancer, the 19th book about the British secret agent known only as Quiller, set in Boris Yeltsin's Russia, contains the same reliably exciting mixture of the exotic, the erotic and especially the dangerous as its best-selling predecessors. Hall was a smooth and accomplished craftsman who could set up an action scene with a few deft strokes and then pay it off without a wasted word. Authors of some of today's bloated thrillers could learn a lot from this book's opening pages, as an extremely reluctant Quiller finds himself being coerced into taking on a British-born criminal, Basil Seckes (aka Vasyl Sakkas), who has risen to head up the Russian mafia. Slipping into a notorious Siberian labor camp to rescue the one person with the key to a mission code-named Balalaika provides Quiller's ultimate challenge. Wonderful touches abound, from fighting techniques and the internal politics of Quiller's ultrasecret outfit to the way a small mistake (using a literal Russian translation of an American phrase, "Don't miss this great opportunity") puts Quiller in great peril. Eight years doesn't seem like such a long time, but this last Quiller outing sadly reminds us of how far we've come from a golden age of adventure fiction. (Dec. 4)

FYI: Edgar-winner Hall (whose real name was Elleston Trevor) turned out dozens of other genre titles under a range of pseudonyms, including Mansell Black, Trevor Burgress and Trevor Dudley-Smith. Why it took eight years for this book to be published in the U. S. is a real mystery.

Reviewed on: 11/10/2003
Release date: 11/01/2003
Show other formats
FORMATS
Hardcover - 978-1-85903-125-4
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.