As I am an avid James Bond fan ever since my Father took me to see Dr. No when I was eight years old, I always look forward to the latest book or film with undisguised enthusiasm. I was particularly looking forward to Trigger Mortis having seen the author, Anthony Horowitz, interviewed on breakfast TV, describing himself as an avid James Bond fan too - and it shows. He explained that he tried to stay true to Ian Fleming's iconic spy and set the story in 1957 in the dark days of the Cold War where surely Bond is most at home. Having just finished reading Trigger Mortis I was not disappointed.

Trigger Mortis

Trigger Mortis

The story cleverly begins only weeks after Bond's showdown with Auric Goldfinger at Fort Knox providing both continuity and context and of course a female companion from the start, none other than Pussy Galore. Familiarity is also established with the MI6 back office inhabited by M and Miss Moneypenny. It is also interesting to note that Trigger Mortis contains previously unseen material written by Ian Fleming himself. Horowitz is so good at his craft that if you did not know beforehand you would not be able to identify it within the book.

Conjuring up the image of Bond was made easier as Horowitz used Sean Connery as his reference point and who could argue that the first five film versions of Fleming's super spy adventures set the scene and formula for much that followed. In my humble opinion Connery looked somewhat awkward in the two films which he starred in afterwards; perhaps the 70's and 80's were not good decades for the Bond of the 60's.

The plot pits the USSR against the West for the supremacy of space. Like the return of Spectre in the film franchise, I was pleased to see the return of Smersh who at the start of the book plan to sabotage a Grand Prix race on the notorious Nurburgring circuit in Germany. Bond is tasked to save the day but in doing so stumbles across a much more dangerous plot with potentially catastrophic implications for the world.

Along the way we meet the sinister arch villain Jason Sin (you don't play cards with him!) and an alluring young female adventurer Jeopardy Lane. There is plenty of what you would expect to find in a Bond novel: car chases, beautiful women, a ruthless villain with a characteristic Fleming-esque warped and twisted past and a story line which picks up pace nicely culminating in a gripping climax. Couple all this with a good sense of believable and well researched period detail and you have a winner. And yes, I was shaken and stirred.

Charlie Walton