It's almost five years since we've had a pursuit story from David Dodge, but he's lost none of his old skill in CARAMBOLA (Little, Brown, $3.95). When Andy Holland sees a girl with his ex-wife's face and figure and his own hair and complexion, he realizes that this must be the daughter he never knew he had; and a new-found sensation of paternity (plus more direct feelings revived by his former wife) leads him into a perilous journey to rescue the girl's stepfather from the Spanish police. Excitement runs high, especially in a fine tense crossing of the Pyrenees; but the analysis of middle-aging male emotions is as fascinating as the action. Dodge, himself a professional traveler, writes vividly and well about the Riviera, Barcelona and the hard-to-believe state of Andorra.
The New York Times Book Review, vol. 66 (May 21, 1961), p. 30
(reviewed by Anthony Boucher)
Chase Through Spain With David Dodge
Carambola. By David Dodge. Little, Brown; 275 pp.; $3.95
The conventional "novel of pursuit" centers around a man or woman or both (with romantic overtones) escaping from enemies. In the new hot weather novel by David Dodge, "Carambola," the escapers are two men with every reason to dislike each other; yet the younger and more robust is pledged to save, if possible, the man who is his bitterest rival.
Set in France, Spain and the Pyrenees, this sound and beautifully complicated plot begins with American Andy Holland's first sight of a daughter who has reached the age of 18 without his knowing of her existence.
Moving with tactful caution, he discovers her mother, who had left him a few months after their marriage for some valid reasons and had married again, but who is still highly desirable to him; he learns that the enchanting young Micaela does not know that the second husband, Harry Magill, is not her father--and that Magill is on the run from the Spanish police for a justified killing. In addition, daughter Mike is about to be engaged to a rich and powerful Spaniard, who is virtually buying her by helping her stepfather escape.
How can Holland save her, except by taking on the job himself?
The action develops into a wonderful chase from Barcelona to Cannes, with some fearsome mountaineering along the way, and two sets of pursuers--the police and a furious Carlos. Mr. Dodge, always a master hand at dangers and hair-raising near misses, has never put characters through a more nerve-racking ordeal.
Where his tale is richest, of course, is in the department of emotional conflict. Readers must decide for themselves whether to sympathize with the likable but overly single-minded Holland, and whether after all his genuine heroism he is entitled to his heart's desire. One may be uncertain as to what that is, or whether his feelings are justified. It is this complication that provides the real suspense in "Carambola," even above the physical details which in a lesser story would be exciting enough.
Dodge readers already know that this author's apparent ease of writing makes for unusually good narration and pace, and that his people take on reality almost from the first word. They may also expect a fine scenic background and a light touch on serious situations. All these qualities, plus the excellent story, are present in "Carambola," and fans new and old should love it.
San Francisco Chronicle (June 28, 1961), p. 39
(reviewed by Lenore Glen Offord)
Fugitive's Rescue: A Colorful Chase Story
CARAMBOLA. By David Dodge. 275 pp. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. $3.95.
David Dodge, the author of, among other books, "To Catch a Thief" and "The Poor Man's Guide to Europe," has developed a charming ability to write a chase story which excites the reader without leaving him too breathless to enjoy its colorful European background.
In "Carambola," the hero is Andy Holland, an American engineer, who is vacationing in Cannes when he encounters a young girl who reminds him strongly of his former wife, Marsha. It appears that the girl, Micaela, is not only his wife's daughter, but his own, born after he and his wife had separated. His pleasure in this discovery, however, is marred by the fact that Micaela does not know he is her father and adores Harry Magill, the man her mother married after she left Holland. To increase his bitterness, Holland learns that Harry Magill is a fugitive from justice in Spain and that he, Holland, is the only man who can help Magill escape across the border to France, and his waiting wife and daughter.
In the course of their flight, Magill and Holland reluctantly discover some reasons for mutual liking, and although they pass through great danger, they succeed finally in concluding matters in a happily ironic fashion. Once again, Mr. Dodge has written a swift and entertaining yarn, which explores many colorful byways.
New York Herald Tribune Books, vol. 38, no. 1 (Aug. 6, 1961), p. 11
(reviewed by Anne Ross)
CARAMBOLA. By David Dodge. Little, Brown. $3.95. Yank mining engineer touring French Riviera finds seventeen-year-old daughter he didn't know existed; he locates her remarried mom also, and ang! they're off on a chase across Spain to rescue lady's second hubby, sought for a killing. So away to the Pyrenees, grand scenery, and high adventure.
The Saturday Review of Literature, vol. 44, no. 25 (June 24 1961), p. 19
(reviewed by Sergeant Cuff)
DODGE, David. Carambola: A Novel of Pursuit. 275pp. 61-5744. Little. May 17. $3.95.
Andy Holland, an engineer in his forties, is struck almost dumb by a girl in a bikini who wins third place in a beauty contest at Cannes, France. It follows that the girl, Mike (short for Micaela), is Andy's daughter; her mother, Marsha, had deserted him before Mike was born and without a word about the child. Almost before he knows why, Andy is off to rescue Harry Magill, Marsha's current husband who is hiding in Spain to escape prosecution for defending Marsha's honor in a rape case. The end result is a bright, suspenseful game of cat and mouse across the terrain of Spain to safety back in Cannes. Through atmosphere, characterization, and ultrasophisticated touches in the writing, Dodge has again created a good, clean and amazingly readable novel of suspense and chase. In this field, he is hard to beat. It is indeed good to have him around again. Recommended for all libraries, regardless of size. -- Clayton E. Kilpatrick, Br. Ln., Brooklyn Br., Enoch Pratt F.L., Baltimore, Md.
Library Journal, vol. 86, no. 10 (May 15, 1961), p. 1902
Dodge, David. CARAMBOLA: A Novel of Pursuit. Little, Brown. $3.95.
Holland, an engineer with a migratory career -- after the few months of marriage to Marsha 18 years before in Peru, discovers the daughter of that marriage -- Micaela -- on a beach in Cannes, finds Marsha married again (or so she thinks) to Magill, an "importer," now in hiding in Spain after a justified murder. In the hopes of getting Marsha -- and Micaela, back, and to free Micaela from any obligation to Carlos, an arrogant hidalgo who has promised to get Magill out of Spain, Holland goes after Magill -- finds him in hiding in the Barcelona Barrio, buys his passage to freedom. But the initial plan for a getaway is fouled up; they reach Andorra and the protection of a Baron's house where Magill almost dies; Carlos too pursues them and proves that "a Spaniard ... is the worst enemy a man can have;" and finally there is the dangerous crossing of the High Corniche before Magill's safety is assured and Holland gets his answer.... A fresh use of that Household fixture--the manhunt--that traffics in human contraband, tangles its loyalties and provides a sleek entertainment. (LC: 61-5744)
Bulletin from Virginia Kirkus' Bookshop Service, vol. 29, no. 6 (Mar. 15, 1961), p. 276
DAVID DODGE: High Corniche. 230pp. Michael Joseph. 16s.
Set in the South of France, Spain and Andorra, this is a thriller of good quality about the perennially good subject of men on the run. Marital complications in the lives of three Americans set the action going but do not, happily, impede its swift and eventual progress through the picturesque and well-observed scenery. Whatever unlikeliness the story may have is made acceptable by the wholeheartedness with which the arduous enterprises of the characters are brought before the reader. Mr. Dodge has the ability to present fear and to communicate it. His story ends, however, light-heartedly and fittingly.
The Times Literary Supplement, no. 3,115 (Nov. 10, 1961), p. 809
HOOLIGAN (Macmillan, $5.95) by David Dodge is a gripping novel, in the end a savage and disturbing one, and certainly not for the diversion of gentler spirits. John Lincoln is an agent for the Treasury Department, and the possessor of highly developed lethal skills. Why, then, is he sent to Hong Kong to negotiate with a Chinese industrialist over a fortune in American dollars claimed as hurricane insurance? Deprived of his gun, saddled with a Eurasian girl whom he loves-hates, and manipulated freely by the industrialist, Lincoln makes the cold of spy-world a frigid horror.
The New York Times Book Review (NY Times Daily, Feb. 16, 1969), p. 42
(reviewed by Allen J. Hubin)
Dodge, David. HOOLIGAN. Macmillan, $5.95. (2/10. LC: 69-10464)
Subtitled "A Novel," this will be read primarily by that other market and although it's as well traveled as his earlier books, it's a far turbulent affair right from the start when a typhoon does a lot of damage in Hong Kong. John Lincoln of the U.S. Treasury, is as honest as the implications of his name but not up to the standards of his bureau (hooliganism has some loaded prerequisites). He's sent over there to see that a hundred million dollars worth of underwritten money does not drift toward Peking or into the hands of one Everett Fung. With and without the benefit of Freud, Lincoln loses his pistol on the way over, is presumably useless to Fung as a propaganda target, is waylaid by a poppy-Red prostitute, which leaves no further doubt as to his virility but contributes to his betrayal.... The offhand resilience of Dodge's earlier entertainments has stiffened up here--a sign of the times (Fleming, et al.) or perhaps just an accommodation to them. But active.
The Kirkus Service, vol. 36, no. 23 (Dec. 1, 1968), p. 1355
David DODGE introduces John Lincoln, an expendable hatchetman for the Treasury Department in Hooligan (Macmillan. $5.95. 68-53197) sent to Hong Kong to learn why so many claims for damage caused by Typhoon Xanthippe are to be paid in United States dollars. The first difficulty is on the plane when an obstreperous passenger discovers his gun, and he is forced to discard it. The next comes when he lets the Red Chinese travel agent, Ngan Hong, know that he wants to meet Everett Fong [i.e., Fung], the Chinese banker who is apparently the financial power behind Mao. The plot is a little shaky, but the picture of the Crown Colony is clear and ruthless.
Library Journal, vol. 94, no. 3 (Feb. 1, 1969), p. 568
(reprinted in: The Library Journal Book Review, 1969. New York: R.R. Bowker, 1970, p. 781)
Hatchetman, David Dodge (Michael Joseph, 30s)
Further financial fiddles in the East are provided by David Dodge's Hatchetman. Hero is John Lincoln, a trained gunman for the US special services who, after years with his finger on the trigger and never having been called upon to pull it in the line of duty, is rapidly coming apart under the strain. Sent to Hong Kong to foil an ingenious plot concerning US currency diversions to Peking via a Chinese financier with a foot in both camps, Lincoln finds himself out of his depth and finally uses his gun with fatal consequences all round. The best that can be said is that this tedious tale might make a good vehicle for James Coburn in one of his fantasy spy movies.
The Spectator, no. 7,392 (Feb. 28, 1970), p. 276
(reviewed by Peter Parley)
DAVID DODGE. Hatchetman. Michael Joseph, 30s.
David Dodge's Hatchetman is a CIA security guard who earns his bread by being prepared to lay down his life for his political betters and the Great American Dollar. It is the latter that is at stake on this occasion. A hurricane in Hong Kong has caused a rash of insurance claims, all in dollars, which Washington has reason to believe are to line Communist coffers in Peking. Lincoln (incidentally he comes of a very good family) finds out about co-existence between East and West the hard way, and is not helped by a sloe-eyed Jezebel. Thrills and passion and professional plotting are marred by too much belly-aching about the hero's emotional problems.
Books and Bookmen, vol. 15, no. 7 (Apr. 1970), p. 28
(reviewed by Diana Leclercq)
DAVID DODGE: Hatchetman. 254pp. Michael Joseph. 30s.
"Hooligans" are now Special Service vice men who guard American V.I.P.s after grueling training. This one has lost his nerve and is sent to Hong Kong for what seem to be peaceful but hopeless financial didoes. His discovery of his real job involves a mainland journey and painful involvement with a Red-committed Chinese girl. The story, though well enough told, is finally unsatisfactory in that the end is merely brutal without emotional attachment. The initial description of a typhoon is fine.
The Times Literary Supplement, no. 3,551 (Mar. 19, 1970), p. 312
Hatchetman by David Dodge (Michael Joseph 30s)
Melancholy but readable adventure of American special agent in Hong Kong assigned to prevent fellow-traveling Chinese businessman from collecting vast insurance on typhoon damage. Scores with minutely detailed account of life in Hong Kong with elaborate meals and some rather gloomy love-making with a Chinese girl provided by the other side.
The Observer (London), no. 9,317 (Feb. 8, 1970), p. 34
(reviewed by Maurice Richardson)
Troubleshooter. By David Dodge. Macmillan. $5.95. Mr. Dodge offers two stories, loosely connected, involving John Abe Lincoln of the U.S. Treasury's "Hooligan Squad." The connection is Lincoln's impotence, brought on by overwork as a stud while a prisoner of the Chinese communists. The first story is a courtroom drama, an informal inquiry into Lincoln's time in the Chinese prison, focusing on the crucial question of why he was released; the second takes place in South Africa, where Lincoln is sent to investigate the source of diamonds coming illegally into the United States. The robust action, plus the secondary sexual theme, will please Mr. Dodge's masculine readership.
The Saturday Review of Literature, vol. 54, no. 13 (Mar. 27 1971), p. 51
(reviewed by Haskel Frankel)
Troubleshooter, by DAVID DODGE. Joseph.
David Dodge's Troubleshooter is a thriller with more than mere thrills to recommend it. The American hero has been held in Red China for three years, then suddenly released. Has he purchased his release and if so, how? The thrills only begin in earnest in the second part, when our hero is sent to South Africa to pit himself against the brutish Boers. Here are two enclosed worlds (presented with great care for detail) whose savagery towards their enemies makes them kin, whatever their nominal positions in the political spectrum. An author who can persuade you into a narrow life to experience it, and out again to pass judgment on the experience, is worth any reader's time.
New Statesman, vol. 84, no. 2138 (Mar. 10, 1972), p. 319
(reviewed by John Spurling)
TROUBLESHOOTER. David Dodge. Macmillan, $5.95.
Fans of David Dodge's brand of masculine adventure will not be disappointed in "Troubleshooter." Actually, it is two separate self-contained stories linked together by a mutual hero with a psychological hang-up (impotence) which is revealed in the first of the tales and then somewhat loosely resolved in the second. The introductory story is a taut courtroom drama. John Abe Lincoln of the U.S. Treasury Department's "Hooligan Squad" is the subject of an informal hearing inquiring into the facts of his imprisonment in Red China on a murder charge and his release under mysterious circumstances impugning his loyalty to the U.S. Through testimony and narration, a tale emerges of incredible cruelty and horror. In the second story, Abe, sent to South Africa on Treasury business, becomes enmeshed in a web of intrigue, adventure and violence. It's a titanic struggle that builds to an exciting climax.
Publishers' Weekly, vol. 198, no. 23 (Dec. 7, 1970), p. 49
DODGE, David. Troubleshooter. 320p. Macmillan. Feb. 1971. $5.95. LC 79-122295.
Dodge usually includes some of his travel experiences in his novels. He does so in the present work, which is really two longish short stories linked together rather tenuously. In the first part a special agent of the U.S. Treasury Department is undergoing a semi-judicial inquiry in Washington after his release by the Chinese Communists. The questions being investigated relate to the circumstances surrounding his capture in Hong Kong and the reasons for his release after three years' solitary confinement. The second part concerns the agent's reassignment to duty in South Africa. There he becomes involved with a black insurrection against the white rulers of the country. Sex and violence permeate both stories but always within the context of the narrative. Not an essential purchase by any means, but worth considering for larger fiction collections; the author has a good eye for local color. -- Norman Horrocks, Graduate School of Library & Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh.
Library Journal, vol. 96, no. 2 (Jan. 15, 1971), p. 205
(reprinted in: The Library Journal Book Review, 1971. New York: R.R. Bowker, 1972, p. 636)
Dodge, David. TROUBLESHOOTER. Macmillan $5.95. (2/? LC: 79-122295)
Take a deep breath and you'll go right on holding it -- throughout this long, forcibly effective story impacted with brutality of all kinds beginning with the trial of one John Abraham Lincoln by an ad hoc inner sanctum U.S. government committee. Lincoln had been released after more than three years in solitary confinement by the Chinese Communists following his murder of a Chinese financier. Not quite so solitary since under drugs, shock, etc. he had been daily used as a seed-male servicing one Chinese girl after another. His release and trial now leaves many points unanswered (why was he freed, what is he not disclosing) and finds him altogether impotent. The second part of this novel shows Lincoln therapeutically pursuing the recovery of his powers and failing on the way to Africa. In spite of Gloria, willing and loving and en route to a loveless marriage. South Africa however is equally barbarous, particularly since he is up against one Paul Herzog who packs a larger "clout than the Prime Minister" and who takes them all (Gloria, her intended, and others) on a shoot for wild game which deteriorates into a planned pogrom, rapine and arson. A freeswinging if not altogether punchy story which has something of the manic energy of Ian Fleming and Richard Condon combined and it certainly will detain the reader in its not so gentlemanly grip.
Kirkus Reviews, vol. 38, no. 23 (Dec. 1, 1970), p. 1309