NONE BETTER-THE MATT HELM NOVELS FROM TITAN
Matt Helm meets Tina, an old World War II associate, who coerces him into helping her with her plans. Thinking she is still one of the good guys, he goes along. After finding out she isn't, he tries to forgive and forget. She kidnaps his daughter to force him to help her. He sets out to find his missing daughter with disastrous results for the WWII associate.
After a brief refresher course, Helm is sent to Sweden with the task of killing "Caselius," a pesky foreign agent. Using his experience as a photographer as his cover story, Matt Helm manages to identify "Caselius," track him to his lair, and permanently remove him from among the living.
"Donald Hamilton is one of the three best American thriller writers, the other two being Dashiell Hammett and Ross Thomas." John Fraser
I have to admit that I was never a big fan of Ian Fleming's. The Bond stuff was moderately amusing but I just never took to it. The late great Anthony Boucher said it best for me: "Donald Hamilton has brought to the spy novel the authentic hard realism of Dashiell Hammett; and his stories are as compelling, and probably as close to the sordid truth of espionage, as any now being told."
Historians have borne out just how realistic the Helm novels were. The Cold War was just as seamy, psychopathic and deadly as Hamilton insisted it was. One more plus is the style. This man could write the English language the way God intended--wry, brutal, dazzling.
I promise you--buy these first two Helms and you'll buy all the rest. He was a true master.