Re: RARA-AVIS: Death of a Citizen

Robert E. Skinner (
Mon, 25 Jan 1999 13:24:12 -0600 wrote:
> It was pretty damn good and was wondering if the rest of the series (at least up until '77) holds up in comparison to the first. Any thoughts? >

Hamilton's career can be broken into three distinct stages--his early
noir novels up through Assassins Have Starry Eyes, the Helm novels
through The Terrorizers, and last, the period begun by The Mona
Intercept through today. Much of his early work is a build-up to what
he would accomplish in DEATH OF A CITIZEN, and he continues with
variations on that story through The Terrorizers, in which Helm goes on
a rampage against a group of domestic terrorists and is nearly killed in
a spectacular fight. There were no more Helms for several years, during
which he wrote a rather windy and over-populated thriller called The
Monda Intercept, then followed it up with Helm novels that had virtually
no resemblance to the early Helms. Hamilton told me in a letter that it
was his publisher that pushed him into the larger format, and although
he didn't say so, I think he shared my view that they'd lost some of the
tension and resonance of those earlier books. Although I've read all of
them many times and found some enjoyment even in those later books, I'd
have to say that those fifteen books or so between DEATH and TERRORIZERS
are the real Matt Helm saga and the others are more like "apocryphal
tales" in which a tough agent named Matt Helm is the hero--but he ain't
the original Helm by a mile.

Robert E. Skinner, Director
Xavier University of Louisiana Library
7325 Palmetto Street
New Orleans, LA 70125
(504) 483-7303 (voice)
(504) 485-7917 (FAX)
# To unsubscribe, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
# The web pages for the list are at