Saturday, 6 February 2016

Wot I'm reading: will Robert Redford make the sequel?

James Grady: LAST DAYS OF THE CONDOR


It's been a long time coming, but James Grady has produced a sequel to his 1974 CIA thriller Six Days of the Condor (condensed to Three Days of the Condor in the movie version, starring Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway). In 1974 Condor's real name was Malcolm; now it's Vin, but he's still working for a mysterious branch of US Intelligence, having survived some nasty assignments and a spell in a mental hospital. Not unlike the events of forty years ago, a violent murder (this one in his home rather than his office) puts him on the run again. An agent he mentored (her name is Faye: a tribute to Ms Dunaway?) leads the team hunting him.

Fast and furious ("Fast and Furious"!) car chases and brutal killings bring echoes of the Jason Bourne movies which have created new parameters for spy stories. This has clearly been written with an eye on the movie rights. There's a high-octane shoot-out on a DC metro station which would have major box-office appeal.

Robert Redford in the 1975 movie Three Days of the Condor
Condor is meant to be around pensionable age, so perhaps Robert Redford would like to stage a comeback - with a new young female co-star, of course. Only a guest cameo for Faye Dunaway as an M-style spy-master (or is that spy-mistress?).

I found the style of this somewhat trying: it's written in a disorienting, almost psychedelic prose that occasionally reminded me of William Burroughs at his weirdest. Not only Condor but also those pursuing him suffer from galloping paranoia, which I guess is a sine-qua-non of Intelligence stories - more than ever in our post 9/11 world.

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