Website last updated: 7-5-2024

Book review: Raymond Benson's 007 novel DoubleShot

By: Mats Hilli
DoubleShot av Raymond Benson
It's a sore and tired James Bond who meets us in the beginning of Doubleshot (2000). He has just returned from a difficult mission on the Himalayan peaks that he barely survived. He is sick and forced to rest by M. Despite that, he is thinking about his next move against the Union. The organization that made him their death enemy in the previous book, High Time To Kill.

Bond, however, has no idea how much the Union is looking for him. He is not just a target among others, he is their number one priority. They are throwing an evil plan that would not only hit Bond but the entire British Empire.

At his home district in London, Bond feels he is being observed. He thinks he sees a doppelganger on the street. Bond no longer knows if he hallucinates or is getting mad. He also suffers from recurring migraines and blackouts. All this takes him to Dr Kimberley Feare's reception. The relationship between Bond and the doctor becomes so intimate that they eventually spend one night together. And then Bond wakes up to find her murdered. She has been cut from ear to ear, the unpleasant signature of the Union. Bond decides to go on his own to Morocco where it is rumoured that the Union and its leader Le Gérant have their headquarters.

The big villain this time is the former matador Domingo Espada (a man who reminds a lot about Largo from Thunderball). Espada dreams of reconnecting Gibraltar with Spain, which the Union benefits from. He receives an offer he can not resist: becoming the first Spanish governor in Gibraltar for over 300 years.

The Union plans to assassinate the British prime minister and his Spanish colleague during a visit to Gibraltar to then force the Spanish government to hand over the Cliff in Espaja's hands. And they are going to let James Bond take the blame for the murders by letting the doppelganger take care of the job. Bond finds out about this in Morocco and after being rescued from the Union's chlorine by the CIA and reinstated in M's service, he travels to Spain. The doppelganger theme is repeated again, when the CIA is represented by twins Heidi & Hedy Taunt in this case. Bond's big dilemma is to figure out who of those are more attractive and who of those are interested in Bond. The thing is not as clear as Bond believes in the beginning.

Obviously, Bond must prevent the planned deed and it will not be easy. Without revealing too much, Bond is forced to challenge Espada in the bullring. It is Espada's sadistic pleasure to humiliate their opponents in that way. In addition, he is opposed to Margareta Piel, the poisonous femme fatale of the story. She is Espaida's henchwoman and member of the Union.

Even though DoubleShot is the "middle book" in Benson's Union trilogy, it still holds high class. The Spanish and North African environment as well as Espada's background as matador are very interesting. The fact that the villain is a bullfighting Spanish ultranationalist and political wannabe adds the story that makes DS not just a distance to the big finale in Never Dream Of Dying. This is a Bond story that can stand on its own. The double-gait meal that is central to the story is also not as intense as you could imagine. It cannot go wrong when Bond is set against Bond. The reader is also offered additional puzzles to the mysterious leader of the mysterious leader of the Union, Le Gérant, which makes for an exciting resolution in the last part.

Review by Mats Hilli. Translation by Anders Frejdh. Copyright © 2018 From Sweden with Love. All rights reserved.



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