Sunday, July 31, 2022

Review: Subdued

Subdued Subdued by Bud Conway
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Cover art is by Bill Alexander, who, along with Gene Bilbrew, Bill Ward, and Eric Stanton did most of the highly collectible cover art for the Satellite Publication imprints After Hours, First Niter, Unique, and Wee Hours. In case the trench coats on the cover didn’t tip you off, this 1966 Wee Hours book is an espionage thriller. Bob Baker is a pinup photographer for Girl Parade magazine and after an interlude shooting at a nude beach on the French Rivera he’s off to Paris on assignment where, surprisingly, he’s recruited into the CIA. After some period of training in German (and Judo) he’s sent behind the lines into communist East Germany and Poland. His mission to photograph plans for a nerve gas factory. The task is intricately plotted with plenty of secret meetings and double agents and all the usual spy genre shenanigans. The writing style, however, is too breezy to take this seriously as a spy novel. It’s a spy plot with opportunities, in between taking pictures with his spy camera, of course, for Bob Baker to have sex. Baker gets plenty of action, but nothing is described too explicitly. So a sleazy spy novel. The smooth prose made this a quick and easy read. Unfortunately the proofreader took the day off and the text is marred by an enormous amount of typographical mistakes.

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