I chose this week's story with the roll of the dice. Literally.
I was excited when I first heard about the formation of the International Thriller Writers, Inc. Suspense/thrillers have always been among my favorite types of books. I subscribe to the ITW newsletter and, when I heard about their first anthology, Thriller, I was practically biting at the bit to get my hands on a copy. I finally did, and, like with many of the books that land in my TBR room, I shelved it and let it marinate awhile. This seemed like as good a time as any to dive into at least one of the short stories in the anthology. My husband's colorful dice rolled an eleven, and so Dennis Lynds' "Success of a Mission" it was.
Dennis Lynds was a prolific and award winning author in his time, writing under several pseudonyms, including that of Michael Collins. Under the name Michael Collins, Lynds wrote the Dan Fortune series, heralded by many to be the series that brought the private detective into the modern age. Other names the author used included Mark Sadler, John Crowe, William Arden, and Carl Dekker. "Success of a Mission" was initially written under the name of William Arden.
Captain Paul Hareet and Lieutenant Greta Frank are given the task of going into an enemy country and breaching army headquarters in order to retrieve vital information regarding the enemy's resources for a pending attack. Posing as a married American tourists, the two real-life lovers have their work cut out for them. They have three days to complete their mission. Getting in will be the easy part. Getting out will be impossible.
The suspense builds quickly, the plot propelling the story forward. This is clearly a plot driven story. However, Lynds manages to make it much more than that by the end. He captures the excitement of a spy thriller and the intrigue and moral ambiguity of a political thriller. Of all the characters, Paul stands out the most. He is a master of disguise and good at what he does. He has a confidence about him, but lacks any sense of arrogance that sometimes goes along with that. A definitely plus in my book. The writing itself seemed a tad bit dry in spots, but I enjoyed the story. "Success of a Mission" was originally published in 1968, but it could very well have been written--and even taken place--today.
Have you read a short story lately? I'd love to hear about it! Be sure and drop by Ready When You Are, C.B. for Short Story Sunday & The Book Mine Set for Short Story Monday, the hosts for this event.
© 2009, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.
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