For those of you who have seen all the old Matt Helm movies, starring Dean Martin, you will love this fascinating book that brings back memories of secret agents from WWII through the Cold War and on and on. The author is a master at writing the “hard-boiled” detective genre.
The Removers, a typical hard-boiled detective story, takes place after Matt Helm, code name Eric, has been divorced from his wife and been reinstated into a clandestine group of super agents who work for the United States Government. Matt’s ex-wife has written to him to ask for help and Matt, of course, goes to the ranch of the man that Matt’s wife had married after their divorce. When he meets the new husband, they hit it off OK but there is something odd about him. Matt is asked, nicely, to get lost and that the new husband can take care of his family without Matt’s help. This is when the plotlines start to jump around and we are introduced to some new characters: the mob boss; his beautiful, red-headed daughter; her very odd dog; a hit man and, a drug dealer. This book is starting to sound very much like Dashiell Hammet. Matt wanted to make sure that his sons were out of danger so, he stuck around and made sure in many ways.
The author is definitely a wonderful storyteller and does not take second place to any detective writer and is as good with his narrative as Matt was, and is, with spies
A year after having been reactivated, Matt Helm receives a message from his ex-wife, asking for his aid. The threat is an enemy agent named Martel, disguised as a mob hitman. To protect his family, Helm must "remove" the threat before his own children pay the ultimate price.