Saturday, July 25, 2009

Short Story Saturday: Success of a Mission by Dennis Lynds

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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  1. I think it is ambitious to write a short story spy thriller, but it sounds like it was pulled off well!

  2. Sounds like a great way of picking a story to read. I believe I have one of those 32 sided die somewhere in my teaching stuff... maybe I should look for that and use it. Great idea Wendy!

  3. Hi Wendy! I love the way you chose the story. It sounded like a very interesting story so it's too bad it was a bit dry in spots. I've been reading short stories by Amy Bloom. I really like her writing and will periodically read one of her stories from a collection called "Come to Me". The stories are about relationships, family, love, friendship etc. and they're very real and honest.

    Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you're doing okay! Good luck with everything.

  4. Sandy - The author really did pull it off. You know, mystery short stories are the ones I have the most trouble with--they often seem too short and underdeveloped.

    Kristie - LOL I was having such a difficult time choosing one on my own. He loves turning it into a game of chance. :-)

    Amy - I haven't read anything by Amy Bloom before, but I have heard good things about her writing. I am glad you are enjoying her short story collection. I'll have to look for that one. It sounds like something I'd like.

    And thank you for your well wishes!


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