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The Loo Sanction: A Novel

The Loo Sanction - Trevanian Trevanian's 1974 thriller is not bad, written as the 42 year old author's second book and followup to the '73 Eiger Sanction. Dr. Jonathan Hemlock, art historian and CII assassin, must deal with pain and loss in addition to James Bond-esque escapades, sexually dominant women, and London car chases in his subsequent adventures involving corruption at the highest levels of the British government, a very skillfully evoked very evil villain, and gunplay amidst the art world. this is not a "will change your life forever" book; and admittedly, it's probably a notch less than Eiger Sanction, but Goodreads does not permit half-stars, so by a hair-flicker's worth will err on the side of 4/5. similar to Bourne Identity, Crichton in parts, maybe Day of the Jackal.

the Trevanian fan is a rare animal, they say; willing to endure Whitaker's acid prose and sometimes embittered asides amidst an overall sense of self-confidence bordering on self-superiority, but then, these works were bestsellers and Whitaker did retire on his millions so, throw the man a bone and recognize the skill involved for what was attempted. rather than huge philosophy and profound literary tricks, his work is to some degree a send-up of the genre it inhabits, and if some breathless reviewers sometimes overdo the adulation (the work can't be a meta-sendup, spoof of a spoof while simultaneously a straight action hero book); this isn't mind-scrambling and revelatory, it's just decent and taut writing.

to some degree reflecting 60s-esque bond films and youth culture, Loo Sanction is not a bad few hours if you need a book. glad to have it acquired it at 5 USD used book store, but I'm not totally surprised the book was in good condition (for a copy 15 years old no less)--one can almost imagine the original purchaser keeping it in good condition on a bookshelf, recognizing its worth, but also not rereading it endlessly).

Trevanian's working-class origins leading to breakthrough millionaire thriller writer gives him assurance; in the end, it's a flaw we are just willing to find acceptable.