The Devastators

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The Devastators audiobook

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Review #1

The Devastators audiobook free

I see some other better ratings here, so maybe I was just having a bad week or something, but this really seemed like the weakest entry in the series so far. The bad guys barely registered as characters in this one. There were a couple of women for him to “get involved with”, and one of them was pretty fun, and the other was good too, but hardly mattered. The big problem he has to deal with is sort of goofy and unrealistic, and that’s OK, but then the setting of the final showdown is also not so realistic, and that would still be OK too, but what one expects when a spy story goes “fantastic” is for some awesome sci-fi or high-tech pay-off or something, and what we get instead is some unsurprising vaguely-sketched-out geological set-up with a couple of old-timey levers built into it, set to trigger a tidy conclusion to the story, and not much else.

To be fair, the biological warfare angle would have obviously been a lot more novel and compelling in the mid-60’s. The expectations and level of understanding would’ve been a lot different than those of a modern reader. But I feel like an opportunity was wasted here. I’m used to reading from the perspective of the time these things were written in, that’s part of the charm; but it seemed like Hamilton just tried to stretch himself another half-step into a James Bond sort of tale, but couldn’t commit, and we end up with a sort of interesting countryside scenario (which Hamilton is regularly and rightly praised for in his books) housing just about the most boring James Bond bad-guy location imaginable, which itself houses a villain and henchmen we barely get to know at all.

Review #2

The Devastators audiobook in series Matt Helm

I will take this space to write a review of the Matt Helm series, in general. Helm is so very, very different from the normal spy fare out there. Other spies are certainly more suave; Matt is about as diplomatic as a landslide, but he is a straight-shooter. Others are more handsome and debonair; he describes himself as tall and skinny. Other spies will kill when necessary; the body counts in some Helm adventures can be startling, and when he kills, he does it suddenly and with no soul-searching or drama. Other spies use gadgets; Helm is likely to find himself with nothing more than a knife, or his trusty .22 Colt.

Helm books can best be characterized as blunt trauma literature; there is no glamour with what Matt does. He is paid to do a job, and he does it in the most straightforward and, in the end, logical way possible. He isn’t a violent robot by any means. He just does what he does in a no-nonsense way. For example, in the series, Matt often scoffs at people that won’t shoot another in the back. “It doesn’t matter which way they are facing!” he will say with total disdain. He is apparently left to face assignments based on his judgment and his handling usually reflects his personal opinions, which can be numerous.

He works for a US government agency that has no name, one that is called in when dirty work needs to be done. It is run by an individual named “Mac” who is supposed to be the spider in the center of the web. Mac’s character is never well-developed in the series, but he provides the necessary bureaucratic cover for Matt’s murderous activities. Few other characters are very well-developed in the series, and that includes the females. There are capable females in the series, but their characters do reflect the times and upbringing of the author.

Review #3

Audiobook The Devastators by Donald Hamilton

I’ve been trying to read the entire Matt Helm series and was happy to find a copy of this book. I don’t have access to the technology for downloading books and rely mostly on my local library for my reading material. The book fell to pieces while I was reading it but I expected that of a paperback that is almost fifty years old. If my library strikes out on the next book in the series I’ll be ordering it soon.

Review #4

Audio The Devastators narrated by Stefan Rudnicki

This spy series is hard to beat for sheer entertainment. Here, the threat is a major one – of biological warfare from a villainous organisation based in a remote part of Scotland. As usual, Helm has to work out who he can trust – and who he can’t.

The story is much more Bond-like than most of the others in the series, and suffers a bit as a result: the best books in the series are those that establish their own unique identity. So, maybe not the best introduction for new readers, but one that Helm fans won’t want to miss.

Review #5

Free audio The Devastators – in the audio player below

I have read all of the Matt Helm series. But with moving often I lost all my copies. I am starting to collect them agin

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