"Before Clifford Waxout died escaping my arms, he screeched, `...bastard...you lousy bastard...' It was a farewell fraught with genealogical inaccuracy, but one of enviable vigor, under the circumstances. (The brisk descent from the picturesque cliff; the sudden, definitive embrace of the rocks...)"That's the opening of Shoot the President, Are You Mad?, the very long-awaited fourth book about the amazing international hit man Augustus Mandrell. (How long awaited? The first three in the series, Of All The Bloody Cheek, Rather A Vicious Gentleman and For Murder I Charge More, appeared in 1965, 1968 and 1971. The usual explanation for the delay is sensitivity over President John F. Kennedy's assassination. McAuliffe himself died in 1986.)
I raved about the first three Mandrell books in the early days of this blog, and I'm pleased that the opening of Shoot the President ... lives up to one of my early remarks, namely that:
"I'd assumed from Mandrell the narrator's cheeky tone and Mandrell the character's cool demeanor that Frank McAuliffe was British. ... Then I looked at a biographical note and read that McAuliffe was born in New York — and worked as a technical writer for the Navy. The surprise was delightful, just another of the joys of reading these stories."Mandrell has the sang-froid and heated libido of a well-known British fictional spy, only no Bonds for him, just cash. He's an American creation, after all, and his main worry is money. He has to earn his living, and his worries about getting paid are yet another of the surprises that contribute to McAuliffe's absolutely unique voice.
Read all my raves about Mandrell and McAuliffe here (scroll down). Read a short biographical sketch about the author here. And give a hearty high five to JT Lindroos and The Outfit for getting McAuliffe back into circulation. This is an event, folks.
© Peter Rozovsky 2010