New Bond Caper – Forever and a Day

Forever and a Day

By Anthony Horowitz

Harper, 276 pp.

★★★½ out of four

Does anyone truly love James Bond? The books and movies about him – sure. But what about Bond himself, killer and womanizer? “Forever and a Day,” by the versatile and charming British writer Anthony Horowitz – who already has channeled Ian Fleming once – worries at the edges of that coldness, seeking ingress. It’s set along the Riviera, at the very outset of Bond’s career. The heroin supply has dried up, and two suspects come into play, a grotesquely obese local gangster and a beautiful woman named Sixtine. Horowitz’s trademark is a kind of gorgeous competence; a reader always feels utterly secure in the credibility of his narratives, however outlandish they get. Here, again, he handles a complicated plot with aplomb (and blessedly few explosions). Does he find a human being inside James Bond? He tries, and Sixtine is one of the best Bond girls ever written. The fact that such a well-populated class exists, though, cuts against the very idea of the redemption Horowitz proposes.

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