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High Time to Kill - good stuff


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#1 dinovelvet

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 09:10 PM

Just finished HTTK, it was a pretty good romp. Benson came up with some memorable characters, I enjoyed the boo-hiss villain Roland Marquis (I instantly pictured Toby Stephens playing him, with his wonderful sneer) and it was interesting to see Bond lose the traditional 'duel' with the villain, which in this case was golf. Obviously there is quite a bit of Fleming material being recycled here, the GF golf match and the obvious SPECTRE clone organization, plus the CR-like ending, but I did raise an eyebrow at the opening chapter, which features a foot chase through the Bahamas. Can't help thinking I've been reading about a similar scene somewhere else on these boards :tup:
The first half was a business-as-usual Bond plot, but the story really took off with the mountaineering section in the second half. I enjoyed the descriptions and atmosphere of the climb, although the Gardner-like twist with a surprise traitor at the end wasn't really necessary. I was also waiting for Bond to beat the pulp out of Marquis, but his death turned out to be fitting without that big final confrontation. Anyway I look forward to the rest of the 'trilogy'. Out of the 4 Bensons I've read so far, this is how I rate them :

1. The Man with the red tattoo
2. High Time to Kill
3. Zero Minus Ten
4. The Facts of Death

#2 zencat

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 09:46 PM

I love High Time To Kill. Not only is it neck and neck with Never Dream of Dying as my favorite Benson book, but it's one of my favorite Bond books period.

#3 Genrewriter

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 09:58 PM

Yep, it's a good one all right. As far as the Benson novels go it's second behind TMWTRT.

#4 ACE

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 11:03 PM

High Time To Kill is my favourite Raymond Benson.

Apart from the simple, effective plot, Raymond's writing, particularly in the mountain climbing sequences, is his best. As usual with Benson, it is well plotted and worked out. High time to read Benson.

#5 dinovelvet

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 11:08 PM

Yep, it's a good one all right. As far as the Benson novels go it's second behind TMWTRT.


Yes TMWTRT is my fave Benson too (so far). I don't know if thats just the effect of being the first Benson book I read, and it being an incredible contrast to the Gardners I had been reading, but it was a vivid and memorable book.

Anyway I'm reading Brokenclaw next...wish me luck :D :tup:

#6 Tanger

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 11:10 PM


Yep, it's a good one all right. As far as the Benson novels go it's second behind TMWTRT.


Anyway I'm reading Brokenclaw next...wish me luck :D :tup:



Yikes. You'll need it pal.

#7 zencat

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 12:54 AM



Yep, it's a good one all right. As far as the Benson novels go it's second behind TMWTRT.


Anyway I'm reading Brokenclaw next...wish me luck :D :tup:



Yikes. You'll need it pal.

Hey, I think Brokenclaw is one of the better Gardner books.

#8 Genrewriter

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 01:16 AM

It's pretty good, not nearly as bad as it's reputation.

#9 dinovelvet

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 01:49 AM

Yikes. You'll need it pal.

Hey, I think Brokenclaw is one of the better Gardner books.


Just read the first 4 chapters, it seems pretty good to me so far. Interesting villain introduced, colorful location of San Francisco...I'll post in the Gardner forum when I've finished it

#10 Loomis

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 03:24 AM



Yep, it's a good one all right. As far as the Benson novels go it's second behind TMWTRT.


Anyway I'm reading Brokenclaw next...wish me luck :D :tup:



Yikes. You'll need it pal.


Yeah. I tried to read "Brokenclaw" recently, but quickly gave up. I find it curious that Benson gets a lot of stick (not always without justification, it has to be said) for bad writing, yet Gardner doesn't ever seem to, even though the latter has penned more than his share of appalling prose (without even, as Benson sometimes does, "getting Bond right", as Alan Partridge might say).

As for "High Time to Kill", though, I find it one of the worst of the Bond novels. There are plenty that are much, much better, including a couple by Benson ("Zero Minus Ten" and "The Man With the Red Tattoo", for instance). I wouldn't advise anyone just starting out on the literary Bond to make a beeline for HTTK, but that's just me, and to each his own.

#11 Flash1087

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 03:49 AM

I don't have HTTK, but I found Doubleshot and NDOD for sale for a dollar at a supermarket a while ago...and really didn't get much out of either. I almost don't even wanna bother with HTTK and go right to Zero Minus Ten or something. I can't make myself care about the Union trilogy.

#12 Qwerty

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 04:11 AM

One of my favourites of the Benson era (probably tied with The Facts Of Death for #1).

#13 Double-Oh Agent

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 09:00 AM

High Time To Kill is my favorite of Raymond Benson's novels. I couldn't put it down. Everything clicked in it. He builds the suspense well. It's a great plot and a great read. Dare I say that HTTK is Benson's "all time high?" :tup:

#14 pgram

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 11:03 AM

I finished HTTK recently. In fact I read Doubleshot, HTTK and Scorpius consecutively, in a couple of weeks. My final assessment is (also having read Brokenclaw and Icebreaker) that Raymond Benson should be writing the plotlines and John Gardner the books. Benson's is nothing more than fanfiction, some good ideas stemming from deep knowledge and involvement in the Bond science, with no real inspirations, but good enough to read. Gardner is an author, his command of language is much better, but his storylines are too ambitious; they start promising, but always fail to deliver (that was exactly the case with Scorpius: the sect idea was fine, the descriptions in the beginnig were trully interesting... and that's it. A complete let down after half of the book).

Back to HTTK. Bond's relationship to Marquis was trully interesting, but it needed more development. The point it fails is the rivalry between the two men about the doctor. She just leaves Marquis and ends up with Bond. Surely, he could have found a better way to demonstrate and unfold the rivalry.

The idea to have Bond against the elements of nature is good (although an obvious one; probably a lot of fan fiction is about Bond battling Nature, I know I have written a couple of stories...). The way it is presented in the book is not bad, but not very interesting. As I 've said, Benson is no literature.

The relationship between Bond and his Nepalese friend (don't remember the name, sorry) is fine. Still it is another example of fan fiction: the fans always long to see another Ali Kerim Bei.

The main problem is that you can tell that the plot is just the vehicle to create a mountain adventure. I can imagine the process Benson followed in order to write the book:

Hmm, wouldn't it be nice to have a Bond adventure in the Himalayas? Something like Tintin in Tibet? But what would he do there? Let's take the obvious case, to find a plane wreck (just like Tintin). But why? Maybe he wants to collect something from it. Something stollen. Some scientific formula or something. With military significance. OK, it doesn't matter, let's make it simple: a British scientist develops something. Some insider kills him and takes it (hey, wouldn't it be nice if this insider is an old rival of Bond's?).OK. We need another location before going to the Himalayas. No problem, I can include some early stages of research for Bond to do some detecting. Oh, and a car chase: readers expect a car chase, it is a common device in the films. Surely, I could think of some clever gadget. So, let's find a place for girls. One could be a connection of Bond in the first place where he looks for evidence. And we need another for the mountains. How about the expedition doctor? That's it then. Now, who would want to steal the formula and why? I don't know. I wish SPECTRE was still around...

Edited by pgram, 29 March 2006 - 11:06 AM.


#15 manfromjapan

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 01:35 PM

Started reading it yesterday. I liked DIE ANOTHER DAY. I really liked ZERO MINUS TEN and THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH. I loved THE MAN WITH THE RED TATTOO and TOMORROW NEVER DIES. The only one i disliked was THE FACTS OF DEATH, which strangely failed to interest me at all. Maybe it was because it was written like a film treatment. i don't know, but I was really disappointed. Only 2 chapters in and it already has me hooked, although the golf game is just begging for comparisons with GOLDFINGER, and of course anything would be below par. (Couldn't resist that one.) I like the dialogue, the rivalry with Marquis and the sex is written a lot better than the other novels I have read. I am a big fan of strong openings, and I suspect I am going to enjoy this one more than all the others, except perhaps RED TATTOO, which would be difficult to top.

#16 dinovelvet

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Posted 24 October 2006 - 04:48 AM

Started reading it yesterday. I liked DIE ANOTHER DAY. I really liked ZERO MINUS TEN and THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH. I loved THE MAN WITH THE RED TATTOO and TOMORROW NEVER DIES. The only one i disliked was THE FACTS OF DEATH, which strangely failed to interest me at all. Maybe it was because it was written like a film treatment. i don't know, but I was really disappointed. Only 2 chapters in and it already has me hooked, although the golf game is just begging for comparisons with GOLDFINGER, and of course anything would be below par. (Couldn't resist that one.) I like the dialogue, the rivalry with Marquis and the sex is written a lot better than the other novels I have read. I am a big fan of strong openings, and I suspect I am going to enjoy this one more than all the others, except perhaps RED TATTOO, which would be difficult to top.


We have similar tastes! TATTOO is my favorite, and Facts of Death is my least favorite Benson. HTTK is a good one, Marquis is a great character you love to hate.

#17 manfromjapan

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 03:29 AM

Have you read Doubleshot and Never Dream of Dying? I am going to read them next.

#18 dinovelvet

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 03:44 AM

Have you read Doubleshot and Never Dream of Dying? I am going to read them next.


Yes I did. Doubleshot I ranked 5th of the 6 Benson novels, its still a decent read though, NDOD is my 2nd favorite of his, and dare I say his most Flemingesque...

#19 manfromjapan

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 09:55 AM

I finished High Time this morning after a marathon read - I couldn't put the book down! An absolutely great book. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Vividly written in a Flemingesque style. Good characters. Plenty of stuff going on. It started strongly but when the climb started it shifted into an even higher gear! Liked the humour too. Great ending a la CASINO ROYALE. I would agree with zencat - it is not just a great Benson Bond but a great Bond novel period. I mean it is better than the likes of THE SPY WHO LOVED ME or GOLDEN GUN novels IMO. Benson really knows the character inside out too. What a great film it would make. It is definitely on par with if not better than RED TATTOO.

Doubleshot next!

Edited by manfromjapan, 26 October 2006 - 09:56 AM.


#20 DLibrasnow

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 05:14 PM

My chief issue with "High Time to Kill" is the issue of mounting an mountaineering expedition when time is of critical importance.

In 2005 a French pilot landed a helicopter on the peak of Everest, however that 29,035 feet accomplishment was dwarfed by the highest altitude ever reached by a helicopter which was over 40,000 feet in 1972. The fact that a helicopter can easily reach the location of the plane in "High Time to Kill" was something that immediately dawned on me when I read the book.

When I mentioned this to some CBNers in the past I accepted their assertion that it was not possible. That was until I read the National Geographic interview with the French pilot who landed on Everest's peak (which is higher than the plane location in HTTK).
 



#21 AMC Hornet

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 10:22 PM

HTTK is second only to ZMT in my estimation of Benson's works. Don't care much about the rest, especially TMWTRT.






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