Assignment To Disaster (LIN) (Linford Mystery) Paperback – Large Print, December 1, 1993
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The book itself is an interesting read especially to veterans of the series for Sam meets Diedre Padgett in this one.
It has the usual cross and double-cross which is featured throughout the Durrell series.
However, it does not make up for the disappointment of getting one story instead of several.
Again, the book is worth the price. But you only get one novel.
Aaron's main character, Sam Durell, works for K-Section, CIA, at 20 Annapolis Street, Washington, D.C. He has previously worked with G2 intelligence, and the OSS during WWII. He is one of our first cold war soldiers and tough customer in and of himself. Hailing from Louisiana's Peche Bayou off a gambler grandfather's river boat, he is a person with few illusions but much tenacity of spirit.
This novel has a space scientist gone missing, and Sam (or Cajun as he will later be called), has only 96 hours in which to find Calvin Padgett. He has orders to find him, stop him, kill him if necessary. And for 160 pages Sam is totally committed to this mission, while all people around him turn completely against him. He becomes a man alone in this mission, "in a deadly race against time" from page 1 through page 160.
This book introduces the character Sam Durell as well as many supporting characters around him, such as General Dickinson McFee his boss, who will become returning characters in many of the Assignment books. The action of this novel moves from Washington to Maryland to New Mexico to Louisiana and back to D.C. before eventually working itself out. The writing is very clean with Aarons' plotting excellent. With benefit of many other Sam Durell books read by this reviewer, this book seems a little stiff, not cardboard stiff, but somewhat lacking in characterization. Understandably so the author was no doubt as much a stranger to Sam Durell as we are, obviously shaping the Sam Durell's character as he wrote. With each subsequent novel Sam becomes a much more believable, and much less angry hero.
If you enjoy espionage as portrayed by Ian Fleming's James Bond, you will no doubt find Sam Durell worth your reading time. Though I very much enjoy the James Bond character, I always find Sam Durell much more believable and realistic. Though Mr. Aarons has been dead for some time, he left us a remarkable series of "Assignment" books for our reading pleasure.
This also introduces Deidre Padgett, the most insipid "girlfriend" in men's adventure series.