Monday, August 25, 2014

Assignment to Disaster by Edward S. Aarons

Here’s one that goes way back to 1955 although I didn’t discover the “Assignment” books until much later. Assignment to Disaster was the first of a series featuring CIA operative Sam Durell. Appearing just two years after Ian Fleming’s James Bond made his debut, the Durell books might be the first competing American agent. Edward S. Aarons wrote all of the books in the series with the exception of a few by his son after his death. I have a fondness for Durell’s first adventure. This book is a non-stop roller-coaster ride of suspense and action. This is one of those paperbacks that I pick up now and again just because it’s so good. Durell is assigned to find scientist Calvin Padgett who is believed to have gone rogue on the eve of a missile system test called Cyclops. Durell hooks up with Padgett’s sister, Deirdre, who happens to be luscious, frightened and alone. He has four days to figure it all out, but meanwhile somebody is after Padgett and wants him dead, and they want Padgett’ sister, too, and Durell gets in the way. The chase leads them all over the country – from Washington DC down to the Louisiana bayou – and by the time you’re finished reading this one you should be as exhausted as Sam Durell. There are over forty books in this series, often featuring some good vixen artwork on the cover, 1960s style. I haven’t read them all, but when I see a missing title in good shape and at a low price I usually pick it up. I’ve never been disappointed.


  1. I truly enjoyed the Durell books when I first read them, in my teens and early 20's--and the Joe Gall series, as well!


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