- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (20 April 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0008211191
- ISBN-13: 978-0008211196
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 141 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
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The Spoilers Paperback – 24 Apr 2017
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‘Bagley in top form.’ Evening Standard
From the Back Cover
When film tycoon Robert Hellier loses his daughter to heroin, he declares war on the drug pedlars, the faceless overlords whose greed supplies the world with its deadly pleasures. London drug specialist Nicholas Warren is called upon to organise an expedition to the Middle East to track down and destroy them – but with a hundred million dollars’ worth of heroin at stake, Warren knows he will have to use methods as deadly as his prey…
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I am a huge fan of Desmond Bagley's work (see my other mostly positive reviews of his books on Amazon), but 'The Spoilers' is easily his worst book, by a considerable margin. The fundamental problem with this book is that the plot just requires too much suspension of disbelief. The idea that an ordinary doctor, no matter how sympathetic to addicts, would have knowledge that the most well-resourced international police forces wouldn't is hard to accept for a start. But even allowing this, we then have Warren turning into a quasi James Bond character, travelling to some of the most dangerous corners of the Middle East, blowing up drug factories, fighting pitched battles in caves, and so on. This is an ordinary doctor, remember, not some ex-Special Forces mercenary who dabbles in medicine in his spare time. It's just not believable, even accepting that your standards for realism aren't high in an adventure thriller. When Warren himself notes over and over how "ridiculous" it all seems, you know there's a problem. And the motivation for many of the other protagonists is pretty weak; they tag along basically because Warren asks them to.
The parts of the book that focus on Abbot and Parker's attempts to infiltrate the organisation are better, however. This sort of clever scheming and manipulation is much more like what we'd expect from Warren, using brains and guile instead of brawn. Some of the baddies such as femme fatale Jeanette Delorme are interesting, and these parts of the book allow the antagonists to be fleshed out and developed a bit. If 'The Spoilers' had been based around this sort of strategy, and not on Warren pulling a Rambo, it would have been a much stronger and more interesting book.
Unfortunately, for the most part, you just can't really believe Warren doing all the things he does, and so you can't really get into the book. You just read with increasing frustration and lack of interest as the book becomes more and more over-the-top and silly. 'The Spoilers' is definitely not the place for newcomers to start; if I'd read this one first, I probably would never have given Bagley a second chance. If you're a fan, you'll eventually get around to reading this, but be aware that this is quite clearly his weakest and least interesting book.
To be honest, the story is that implausible as has been pointed out by the earlier reviewers. Does this mean the book is rubbish? No, it is solidly written, fast-paced and fairly enjoyable to read. It is an old school adventure book written by one of the best exponents of that art, Desmond Bagley.
Put aside your sense of disbelief and enjoy the book for what it is worth, simple fare but enjoyable.
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