Monday, July 6, 2009

Review: THE GREEK SUMMIT

The Greek Summit, a 1983 Nick Carter novel by Robert J. Randisi, relates an unusually low-key assignment for the superspy known as Killmaster.

Dr. Lucas Johns is an American weapons scientist who is supposed to attend a secret summit in Athens with British, Russian, German and French experts. Unfortunately, Johns is a completely unlikable, arrogant ass, who doesn't want to attend at all, and is being forced to do so by the United States government. When he finds he can't get out of it, he makes more trouble by refusing to be accompanied by a government bodyguard. Eventually, a compromise is reached: he will hire his own bodyguard – a private detective – to protect him at the summit.

Of course, it's been sneakily arranged that the P.I. he hires is none other than Nick Carter himself, who joins the scientist and his beautiful (and neglected) young wife on their trip to Greece.

There's very little violence in this book and no globe trotting at all, aside for the one-way flight to Greece (virtually the entire story takes place within a hotel)! In fact, Summit contains the least amount of action of any Carter book I've read. There's one brief fight scene between Carter and some street thugs, a couple of gunshots, and that's all I recall. Instead, this one plays out more as a private eye mystery story, with N3 relying on deductive brainwork instead of fists or firearms to bring his assignment to a satisfactory conclusion.

There's plenty of the other kind of action, however, as Carter carries on a torrid affair with the scientist's wife, and even manages to squeeze in a tryst with the British representative to the scientific conference.

Randisi is an old hand at P.I. fiction, so it probably shouldn't be a surprise that The Greek Summit reads the way it does. Heck, Carter is even posing as a P.I. (named "Nick Diamond!") for most of the novel. Even without a lot of physical action, though, the story moves at a brisk pace thanks to Randisi's clean, spare first-person prose and deft characterizations. And it's well-plotted; I figured out one mystery/twist fairly early on, but the big one at the end caught me by surprise.

It's very much a change of pace from the more familiar, explosive novels in the series, however, and I'm curious about Randisi's other contributions to the Carter canon. I'm going to have to try and hunt them down....

1 comment:

RJR said...

Chris, I think I wrote this Carter after having done 3 or 4 already, and I wanted to do something different. I wanted to make Carter a P.I. and the publisher did not object, so "Nick Diamond" was born. It was fun. Glad you enjoyed it.

RJR

P.S. Why Carter editor at the time was a young lady who was as beautiful and sexy as any of the women in the Carter series. Her name was Nikki.(I'm holding back the last name.)