Assignment to Disaster
Author: Edward S. Aarons
Cover Art: ?
Originally Published: 1955
Reviewed Edition: Fawcett Gold Medal
The Saturday Spotlight this week is the first novel featuring Sam Durell. Durell was the creation of author Edward S. Aarons who featured him in forty-two adventures (Will B. Aarons would pen six additional adventures). Sam Durell was a member of the CIA — Section K to be precise. The brooding Cajun was as tough as they come, with a strict moral code. Essentially, an American take on James Bond with less convoluted villains and less witty dialogue. Aarons was no Ian Fleming, but he didn’t need to be. Cold war villains provided enough action and intrigue without the need for some crazily creative evil-doers and gadgets.
The novel hits the ground running. Calvin Padgett is missing — the man who knows everything about the U.S. missile and satellite program. Durell’s mission is to find Padgett and stop him at all costs. He has four days to accomplish the task. The book covers a lot of ground in ninety-six hours. A quick read with little window-dressing. It makes no apologies for it’s lack of characterization or plotting. It is all about the action and it provides this at a rapid pace. There is nothing new here and the series is not on the same level as Fleming’s Bond books (comparisons are unavoidable), but that doesn’t matter.