by Lawrence Block
Subterranean Press, September, 2001.
Hardcover, 220 pages.
Originally published in 1968, Tanner's Tiger is a funny and sexy romp featuring Evan Tanner, the spy who never sleeps (his sleep center was destroyed when he was hit by shrapnel in the Korean War). When Tanner's ward, Minna, wants to go see the International Expo in Montreal, he agrees. His vacation plans coincide nicely with his boss' wish that he investigate the strange goings-on at the Cuban Pavilion at the Expo. But Tanner can't even get into Canada -- it appears that he has been put on a list of undesirables who are barred from entering the country. Never one to let mere laws to restrain him, Tanner enters the country illegally and things get considerably more complicated after that. In short order, he must evade capture by the Mounties, find out what's going on at the Cuban Pavilion, rescue Minna (who has disappeared at said Pavilion) and avert an assassination attempt on the visiting Queen of England. Being Tanner, he also gets mixed up with a very beautiful revolutionary along the way.
The Evan Tanner spy novels are worlds removed from Block's contemporary detective series which features Matt Scudder. Only one thing ties Block's disparate books together: excellent writing. Tanner's Tiger is a product of the 60s, and it's immensely enjoyable to read a funny, sexy and adventuresome spy caper set in another time. Tanner never sleeps, so he's got a lot more time to get into trouble. He's a linguist, and has in incredible gift of inciting groups of people to action. Naturally, he always ends up in the middle of a revolution or dastardly plot wherever he goes. But it all usually works out for the best in the end. And isn't that a nice thing to read about in these unsettled times? This is great, escapist entertainment.
Tanner's Tiger is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the Oct. - Nov., 2001 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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