RARA-AVIS: The Last of My Charles Williams Summers

From: Jeff Vorzimmer ( jvorzimmer@austin.rr.com)
Date: 05 Sep 2007

Well, I just finished the last three books of Charles Williams--The Wrong Venus, And the Deep Blue Sea and Man on a Leash. I finally made it through all 22 of his books and I must say it was a pleasure. Not a bad book in the lot. With that said I must his last three novels have more in common with each other than the rest of his books.

All three books have to do with international espionage, they have extremely intricate plots and they are not as well written and edited as his previous 19 books, but nonetheless they are good reads. Man on Leash was particularly interesting in that it was way ahead of its time with its inclusion of sophisticated electronics and explosives. Williams anticipates movies such as the Die Hard series, Firewall, etc. by 30 years. All three books are pretty far out and really push the limits of plausibility, but, because Williams wrote so well and was so knowledgeable about what he wrote, you go along with it. But I also had the feeling while reading these books that he was probably drunk when he wrote some of the passages in these books.

All Williams' books are well worth reading with maybe the exception of The Wrong Venus, which I had trouble following at times. Although it's a crime novel, it is a comedy, but the humor is not as interesting or as funny as his Sagamore books (which I think are worthy of Mark Twain). It's not bad, but not up to the caliber of his other books.

I hope I can find another Gold Medal author who was as talented and as consistent as Williams. I think Harry Whittington comes close and some of Gil Brewer's best are every bit as good as the best of Williams and have a similar feel. Any suggestions?


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