Just read the news over at Mystery*File that Donald Hamilton is gone. So damn sad. I went through a serious Hamilton phase in Fall 2001, where I tracked down and devoured the first dozen Matt Helm adventures, back to back. I'm pretty sure it was Ed Gorman who said that JFK was a weenie because he preferred James Bond to Matt Helm; I'm inclined to agree. Forget the Dean Martin movies; look at the original novels. Death of a Citizen, the first in the series, is balls-out fantastic. We read "vintage" novels and assume they'll be slightly quaint, that the action couldn't possibly match the fever pitch of modern novels. I don't think anybody's ever topped what Hamilton did with Helm's gritty, hardcore debut. Mystery*File also reports that there's a last Matt Helm adventure which may see the light of day at some point. That would be sweet. But there's also a treasure trove of Helm waiting to be discovered, and I'd love to see them reprinted.

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