Book Review: Live and Let Die

Building on his own personal experiences, Ian Flemming sends James Bond to the USA and Jamacia.  His mission:  track down the source of gold pieces being smuggled into the USA.

Arriving in NYC, Bond is teamed up once again with his best  pal Felix Leiter of the CIA.  Their target:  Mr. Big; a crime lord based in Harlem whose reach extends all the way to Jamaica   And that’s where Bond comes in.  Being a British territory, Jamaica can’t be touched by the CIA, hence Bond’s involvement.  The theory that MI6 and the CIA come up with is that Mr. Big has found the lost treasure of the pirate Henry Morgan.  And just what would Mr. Big be using this gold for?  Why, to fund Soviets of course!  Since this money could also go towards SMERSH, well this just gives Bond a chance to strike back a bit at those that caused the death of Vesper from the previous book.

The adventure starts in Harlem, where Mr. Big has the town sown up tight.  From the moment Bond and Leiter enter Halrem, there every move is tracked by Mr. Big.  Upon capture, Mr. Big have a heart to heart with the assistance of Solitaire, Mr. Big’s fortune telling lady friend.  Bond escapes un harmed and plans his next move to Florida.  Once there, Bond and Leiter track down a lackey of Mr. Big.  Turns out  Mr. Big is indeed smuggling in gold.  Rather ingeniously too.  Sink some boxes of gold into tanks of poisonous fish, and no customs agent is going to think twice about sticking their hand into the tank.

The final act takes us to Jamaica.  Once there, Bond meets up with some local back up and gets with the taking down of Mr. Big.  He does some sneaky SCUBA diving into the lair of Mr. Big, and promptly gets captured.  Never fear!  Even though it looks like Bond and Solitaire are going to be literal fish food, this is not to be the case.  Turns out while Bond was doing the sneaky SCUBA, he planted a mine on the hull of Mr. Big’s ship.  Just when you think there will be no more Bond adventures, the mine goes boom, Mr. Big becomes dinner for sharks, and Bond gets the girl.

A strong second outing for Mr. Flemming and his dashing hero.  Delving into a little mysticism and gangsters, this is a little different than the previous adventure.  I like this one just as much as Casino Royale.  A nice thing about Mr. Flemming’s writing is that you don’t need to start with the first book in a series.  One could easily read this one first and not feel like you’ve missed anything.

James Bond returns in Moonraker.

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