Casino Royale – Ian Fleming

Casino Royale

Title: Casino Royale

Author: Ian Fleming

Publication Date: 1953

Review Score: 7/10

Introducing the charming, sophisticated and deadly 007. Casino Royale is the first of Ian Fleming’s classic series of James Bond novels and is widely regarded as the greatest of them all.

In this original James Bond story we are introduced to the British spy and follow him on a journey to Royale where he must neutralize a vicious and vindictive Russian operative called le Chiffre.

The mission is simple, find Le Chiffre at the Casino Royale, get into his high-rolling Baccarat game and take him for all he’s worth, leaving him ruined and shamed in the face of his native Russia. Sounds simple, but Le Chiffre is not one to yield easily and refuses to let Bond simply walk away with his money.

Reading this after only ever watching a couple of the films I was surprised to find that James Bond was not who I thought he was. I grew up in the Pierce Brosnan generation and at the time thought he was very cool, charming and charismatic, but having read this I find that the real James Bond is much more harsh, bitter and cold in both character and style.

This was of course a pleasant surprise as the actual Ian Fleming James Bond is much more enjoyable than the Hollywood version. He has a gritty realism to him that is much more befitting to his background and profession.

The character of James Bond is by far the best thing about this novel and if it wasn’t for the unique brilliance of him I feel it might be a very average crime thriller.

The plot is enjoyable but quite basic and apart from the crescendo of the horrific capture and torture scene it is quite slow paced. However, 007 makes this story what it is and for his creation alone Ian Fleming easily deserves his place among writing royalty.

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Raymond Chandler – The Big Sleep

Title: The Big Sleep

Author: Raymond Chandler

Publication Date: 1939

Review Score: 7/10

So, here we are, the first book review for our new site “The Book Reviewer” and we’re starting with a classic; The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. This is a fast paced, sharp and gritty tale that is completely absorbing from start to finish!

Set in 1930s LA, the story centres around the clever, cocky and charismatic Philip Marlowe, a Private Eye from California who has a way of talking himself in to trouble and fortunately enough street smarts to get himself back out of it.

Hired by the ageing, crippled, wheelchair bound but exceedingly rich General Sternwood, Marlowe is asked to make a case of blackmail disappear. However, what first appears to be a simple squeeze turns into a fully fledged case of deceit, crime, gambling and murder.

Already having his work cut out for him, with new suspects and corpses turning up around every corner, Marlowe also has to deal with the General’s 2 wild, care free and erratic daughters, who seem to get in more pinches than Marlowe himself.

Fast talking, quick witted and charming as you like, Marlowe is one of the finest characters I have ever come across in a novel and Chandler’s depiction of him and the 1930s underbelly of LA is absolutely stunning.

It is no wonder that The Big Sleep is still entertaining new readers today, the novel was written over 70 years ago but still packs as much punch and excitement as any modern day thriller. I would say this is a must read for any crime fan, thriller nut or just any lover of good literature.

Whether you share my love of The Big Sleep or think it is completely rubbish, why not leave a comment below with your thoughts?

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