“The Bourne Imperative,” by Eric Van Lustbader, “Chasing Midnight,” by Randy Wayne White, and “Spycatcher” by Matthew Dunn

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June is spy month at Grit-Lit with the latest Jason Bourne, a new Doc Ford and the paperback release of “Spycatcher.”

The Bourne Imperative

“The Bourne Imperative,” by Eric Van Lustbader. (Grand Central Publishing, $27.99, 435 pages, hard back.) www.ericvanlustbader.com

In my experience, books are almost always better than the movie versions with the Bourne and Bond films the only possible exceptions. No matter how good the acting and special effects, nothing is more powerful than an engaged reader’s imagination. Certainly the Ian Fleming Bond books were better than any of the movies not done by one of the real Bonds (Sean Connery, Daniel Craig) and the Bourne books are every bit the equal of the Matt Damon films.

Taking up where Bourne’s creator, the immortal Robert Ludlum left off, Lustbader has authored six Bourne novels that grip you in ways that no mere movie can compete with.

“…He had met her in a packed, smoke-blurred bar in Dahr El Ahmar—or maybe now he would admit to himself that she had met him, that every gesture, ever word out of her mouth, had been by design. Events seemed so clear now that he was on the precipice of either escape or death. She had played him instead of the other way around—he, the consummate professional. How had she so easily slipped inside his defenses? But he knew, he knew: the exterminating angel was irresistible.”

Classic Bourne, every bit as good as if Ludlum had written it himself.

Chasing Midnight

“Chasing Midnight,” by Randy Wayne White. (G. P. Putnam’s Sons $25.95, 315 pages, hard back.) http://www.docford.com or www.rwwhite.com.

First, a quote from Randy Wayne White, “I learned long ago, whether writing fiction or nonfiction, an author loses credibility if he’s caught in a factual error. Because of this, I do extensive research before starting a new Doc For novel, and Chasing Midnight required more research than most.”

One of the great things about the Doc Ford series is that you can learn a lot of great things without the pain of having to read dusty, boring text books or wondering if what you just read in Wikipedia is true or some author’s paranoid, post traumatic LSD flashback.

“I was beneath fifteen feet of water, at night, observing a dinosaurian fish, when something exploded and knocked out the islands underwater lights.”

“The fish, a Gulf sturgeon, was armor plated, three feet long, hunkered close to the bottom as it fed. Its close relative, the beluga sturgeon, is the gold standard of the caviar lovers, and a sacred cow to the global, billion-dollar caviar trade.”

In “Chasing” caviar and environment extremists are scrambled up with billionaire international criminals, a notorious Russian black marketer and whacko-violent-greenies in a story that requires Doc Ford coming to the rescue.

Set in the exotic Florida Keys, along the way you’ll learn about the caviar industry, boating, diving, weapons and women.


“Spycatcher” by Matthew Dunn. (Harper $9.99, 521 pages, paperback.) www.harpercollins.com.

“Spycatcher” was recently released as a paperback and the second excellent book in the series, “Sentinel,” will hit your favorite book seller’s shelves in August.

Both easily qualify to be included in the most valuable spot in your carryon luggage. You know the one. That last remaining empty space. Where you could stuff enough underwear and sox to wear clean every day or you could rough it a few days and cram in another couple of books. “Spycatcher” belongs in that space. My condolences to the person next to you on the plane.

Author Dunn was a British MI6 spy. Worked all over the world. So he knows his stuff. His hero, Will Cochrane doesn’t playing by the rules. He just gets jobs that must be done, done. A unique insight into a world most of us will never see outside the covers of a book.

Or perhaps someday in a movie that will be as good as the best of Bond and Bourne.

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