Goldfinger by Ian Fleming

GoldfingerSummary: An over the top villain tarnishes an otherwise decent Bond novel.

James Bond is one of those cultural items that everyone ‘needs’ to know.  We know that Bond gets the girl(s), that he likes his vodka martini’s shaken not stirred (usually with a lemon twist).  He always wins, he has cool gagets, cool cars, looks good in a tuxedo, always seems to be undercover, but still uses his regular name, etc.

Last year I read my first James Bond book, Dr No.  It was more like the movie than I expected but I still basically liked the book.  I am a fan of spy book, but more the John le Carré, Jason Borne, and Milo Weaver variety.

In the books, James Bond is racist, sexist and usually is against comic book style villains instead of other spies.  In the movie, Goldfinger gathers together all of the mob bosses in the US so that he can get the man power to knockover Fort Knox.  In the book it is similar but even more similar to a group of super villains from a kids cartoon.

Maybe the problem is that it really is based on the kind of villains from the original Batman TV show that was around about the same time.

The first part of the book I liked more than I expected.  Bond was figuring out financial crime.  He was playing golf with the villain and he was frustrated with the casual violence and danger of his job.  But the end of the book turned into a comic book.  It is not like Bond has ever been a realistic character.  But it feels like there should be some attempt at reality.

I have only read two of the Bond books, but I always assumed that the evil organization that Max Smart was making fun of with CHAOS, was more about the superheros.  But there is an evil organization, SMASH, in this book.  SO over the top.

I am still really looking forward to Skyfall.

Goldfinger Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition, Audiobook (Note: the kindle version is part of the Amazon Prime Lending Library.  If you have Amazon Prime you can borrow any of the James Bond Books for free.)

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