I don’t know where to start but all I can say is that after reading thirteen of John Gardner’s Bond novels, I decided it was the right time for a bit of a change. And as usual I was googling looking for Bond’s news on the web when I came across one of the uncanonical Bond’s novels entitled ‘The Killing Zone’. The novel was published without a legal permission of Ian Fleming’s publication in the year of 1985 when John Gardner was the official Bond writer. This novel came into existence after John Pearson’s biography of James Bond, two novelisations by Christopher Wood and four novels by Gardner.
The first thing that attracts your attention when you start reading this novel is how weak the structure is. You have this feeling that there is a lack of coherence. You also get shocked by the number of phrases and short dialogues cut directly from ‘The Authorised Biography of James Bond’ and pasted into this fragile novel.
The plot is nearly copied from the life story of the Colombian drug lord, Pablo Escobar. The writer did not even try to twist the facts a bit so the plot becomes his. Even the incident of assassinating the Colombian Justice minister by Escobar was mentioned in the novel as one of the evil doings of Bond’s villain. The whole thing was just so copied in a pathetic way.
Not only that, even characters in the novel were taken from the previous Bond’s novels: Felix Leiter from Ian’s Bond novels, Anya Amasova and General Gogol: from Wood’s novel, The Spy Who Loved Me. Someone might say, but yes, isn’t that how writers continue a series of books? Yes, but the way even characters were handled was naive and ridiculous. Jim Harrfield deformed the characters of Felix, Anya and Gogol. So Felix Leiter acts like a coward and Anya like a stupid person.
But things did not stop there, Jim decided to kill some main characters in fulfilment of his own Book title, The Killing Zone. So he started by the death of Bill Tanner, chief of staff, as a beginning. However, this was not satisfying for Jimmy, it seems that he wanted more blood to make people buy the book so he decided to arrange for the assassination of General Gogol, head of department Victor in the Soviet Union. Still, that was not enough and he decided finally to kill James Bond himself. Yes don’t be surprised, the man did it and in a bad narrative not even in a good way.
This was really a bad novel by all means wise characters, plot, style and coherence. I did my best to finish it as soon as possible to end the pain of reading it quickly.