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The Man with the Red Tattoo [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Raymond Benson

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10. Juni 2002
On a quiet late-night flight from Tokyo to London, a beautiful young woman, Kioko McMahon, falls ill. Before the plane can reach emergency medical facilities across the Pacific, she succumbs to her inexplicable symptoms. The mystery deepens when police in Japan discover that her family shared her fate. The only survivor is her rebellious sister, Mayumi, who had run off with her gang-member boyfriend several years before.

Because the late patriarch of the family, Peter McMahon, was the head of one of the world's most important genetic research companies, and a personal friend of the Prime Minister, James Bond is sent to investigate the deaths. 007's quest for answers leads to the surviving sister and to a nest of Yakuza gangsters. Along the way, he uncovers a plot of such monstrous proportions that it could only have been hatched in the mind of a madman.

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The Man With The Red Tatoo is the latest of Raymond Benson's continuation of Fleming's James Bond series. Bond is back in Japan investigating mysterious deaths and elbowing his way into trouble. Like all of Benson's series, and indeed the recent Bond films, it tones down the high-octane sexism and snobbery of the original a little, in the name of making Bond contemporary; it is not just in terms of the actors playing him that Bond is no longer quite the man he once was.

Benson is a more thoughtful writer than Fleming, which leads, on the one hand, to some over-extended clumps of exposition in which he explains the right-wing politics of Japanese organized crime or the life-cycle of genetically-engineered mosquitos, but on the other hand to real conviction in his villains' motivations. Fleming created florid villains who were memorable because mythic; Benson's are credible because he makes us understand them--it's doubtful a Fleming villain would ever have quoted Mishima. Similarly, where the deaths of Fleming's heroines were a routine gesture, the fate of one of the "Bond Girls" here is genuinely upsetting. Where Benson most effectively follows Fleming's lead is in action sequences--Bond tied in the path of a bullet train and Bond dancing his way to safety in a burning lava-field. --Roz Kaveney -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.


'Welcome back, Mr Bond. We've been waiting for you... Benson has gone back to Bondian basics in a fast-moving world of bedrooms, firm breasts, betting and bruises.' Independent on Sunday 'Spectacular chases, gory killings and a spot of sadomasochism.. addicts of the genre will love it.' The Times "Will have Bond fans cheering." Publishers Weekly (Doubleshot) "Spectacular chases, gory killings and a spot of sadomasochism... addicts of the genre will love it." The Times -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 3.2 von 5 Sternen  39 Rezensionen
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2.0 von 5 Sternen A promising start, but dissappointing result.... 15. Januar 2003
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I have read every one of the Bond novels from Fleming to Benson from cover to cover. As much as I want to like Benson's, it's just an impossible task. While he has brought back the superficial connections to the Fleming character, each of his novels just reads like a mini-script, waiting for a movie to be filmed. They are the novels of Pierce Brosnan's movie-Bond, not Fleming's. I appreciate his wanting to re-inject the Fleming character's history to his novels, but it's just not enough. When will someone bring the character back to it's chronological roots in the 1950's? Really--back to where it belongs, with plots that are subtle and interesting and tie together well. With a book by book building of substance--well, as much as a fantasy spy figure can provide.
Firstly, the plots. I agree with an earlier review about Ray's inability to blend fact with the story line. It does read like a "wait, let me unfold the tourist brochure and tell you this...", then a refolding of the brochure to commence with the tale. The plot in general, as with the previous novels, are written as if they're movie scenes lashed together. Each one has a slap-stick chase scene which I find abhorent to the Bond character. In another novel, Bond's inexplicably shooting a villain in the face in an elevator and then running from the police through TV sets is painful. This one has a chase through a Kubuki playhouse simply to add some description of Kubuki. Bond finally finds a key character (the prosititute) in the latter third of the story, in Sapporo, and takes her with him on a dangerous investigation of the villain's HQ. Why didn't Tanaka pick her up and allow Bond to operate on his own? If she was so important to the case, she should have been in Tanaka's custody within an hour. When Bond's female partner and love interest doesn't make it past the latter third of the story, Bond forgets his anguish later on and beds the prostitute (as the earlier reviewer mentioned, he had already seen her as a chld-figure--so how did this change take place?) The dwarf is captured so easily after previous vicious battles, it seemed as if Benson just wanted to get rid of him quickly. Most obviously, is that with all this knowledge uncovered about mosquito-carrying virus being targeted for the G8 you really think the security services of those countries would have permitted the President, the Prime Minister, and other leaders to even step foot in Japan? The plot's major weakness was in having the conference continue to take place in a location identified as having an obvious breech in security. He should have figured out how to be more realistic, yet still involving the story line.
The characterization of Bond is again dissapointing. Bond is consistantly portrayed as a bit of a shallow, comic character--he seems to have learned nothing from his past exploits, he's easily deceived, his physical prowess is usually less than it should be. Benson had a terrific idea with this novel--bring him back to a significant time in his past and retrace some steps. This would have been great had he also extended the revisit from "You Only Live Twice" to "Moonraker" as well. What I mean by that is I found Fleming's Bond in Moonraker to be an extremely lonely, melancholic figure. The solitary "knight" who has no friends and sacrifices all for the good of his country. The last scene in Fleming's Moonraker was perhaps the most powerful in all the Bond novels. Benson had a wonderful opportunity to end this novel in the same way. He lost his love interest to violence, it dredged up all the old ghosts (I must point out here, though, that Bond reacts to the death of his love interest by selfishly lamenting about how it could be happening to HIM again, when the woman was the one who died--no thought to the poor victim, just to himself, not a very noble reaction for Benson's Bond). Ray had the great opportunity to end the story not with another cinematic bedding of a prostitute (that he had earlier seen as a child figure), but as the figure of solitude stepping out on the teeming streets of Tokyo, sad, alone, walking back into the faceless crowds of people, continuing his lonely, faceless existance. While not the bang-up action ending that accompanies the Brosnan movies, it would have been a true nod toward the Fleming Bond.
You see, bringing back characters and names is not the way to honor Fleming's Bond. That is much too superficial. Bringing back the characterization of the true James Bond would have been the ultimate salute. It's time for someone to put Bond back where he belongs in a novelization (I've given up hope for it in the movies)--in his correct time period, with the REAL Bond character, not Pierce Brosnan. As a hint, I'd advise Ray to view the old "Danger Man" episodes with Patrick McGoohan. That was the closest to the Fleming atmosphere and characterization. Just place Sean Connery or McGoohan's face where Ray has Brosnan's. I continue to lament for Fleming's lost James Bond. I hope some day he will return.
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2.0 von 5 Sternen Mission Failed 3. April 2003
Von Author Ty - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
It's obvious that Mr. Benson is a huge fan of James Bond, but somewhere along the lines someone should have realized that simply being a fan doesn't qualify him to continue the James Bond legacy in print. While his non-fiction works on James Bond are fairly good, his novels, unfortunately, are not. They are simply dozens of cliches combined with references to older Bond books, all tied together with what I must simply label very poor writing. Mr. Benson's dialogue is flat, unrealistic, and occasionally ridiuclous. His characters are one-dimensional and unsympathetic. His prose is stilted and uninteresting. I really wanted to like his Bond books, but after several attempts, I realized that I had assigned myself an impossible mission.
I have read all of Fleming and Gardener's books multiple times, but nearly put Benson's books down in the middle simply from lack of interest. His stab at revitalizing the James Bond series was a worthy attempt, but unfortunately a failed one. I would recommend simply re-reading Fleming or Gardener if you have a taste for more Bond in print.
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2.0 von 5 Sternen The Man With The Red Eyes 23. Juli 2002
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
As I close the back cover of yet another Raymond Benson book, I weep knowing that the quality of descriptive prose embodied in the books of Fleming, Amis, and (to some extent) Gardner, is now lost. I admire Mr. Benson because his great love of Bond keeps the literary franchise going but perhaps, as a director of the Ian Fleming Foundation, he should ask other writers to submit a few chapters of their own Bond novel ideas, and see if there is a writer out there that can bring back the literary Bond I love.
The Man With The Red Tattoo's climax features the Mosquitoe Magnet, a simple device that is now sold in Home Depot stores, and should have been turned on during the conference, not AFTER people were bitten. Anyone with any knowledge of that device would have had it running before, during, and after the conference; though designed for outdoor use, a way could've been found to integrate that into the story.
Mr. Benson is a screenwriter at heart. Unfortunately, screenplays are written in third-person limited and novels are entirely different. Read any Fleming novel, study his descriptive narrative, the thoughts that run through Bond's head, the dialogue, the building of the plot; that is how a good novel is written. I've read all of Mr. Benson books. In interviews he sounds like a very nice, decent person. But picking up where Fleming, Amis, and Gardner left off is not Mr. Benson's strong suit. One man's humble opinion.
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2.0 von 5 Sternen A disppointment... 24. Juni 2002
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
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This is not one of Benson's best, neither is it among his worst. I find all of his Bond's far superior to John Gardner's and so inferior to Ian Fleming's that no comparison is just. Mistakes like having someone major in business at Oxford bother me alot. I do not enjoy reading tour guide excerpts much either. It moved quickly enough not to be boring, but the ending was truncated and very disappointing. Some of the scenes were interesting. I do not blame Benson per se, Bond is not a plausible figure out of his necessary historical period.
I confess to being a purist. I suggest reading, or rereading, the Fleming books if one wants the authentic Bond. The first four films are good too.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Bond takes a slow train to the Orient 26. Juni 2002
Von Brandon T. - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Raymond Benson usually writes fast-paced novels that are easy to read. This novel is good, but is slow moving and tedious at points. If the reader can get past that, they ensure themselves a good read. If you are Bond fan, you enjoy rich detail, or if you enjoy a good read THE MAN WITH THE RED TATTOO is a must have.
James Bond has been given an assignment to babysit the prime minister at a G8 conference in Japan. Meanwhile, he is to investigate the death of an English businessman. This investigation will take Bond on a slow journey all over Japan, and ultimately a good one. Bond fans know that 007 has deep emotional roots in Japan, and can appreciate Benson's choice of Japan as a locale for the novel. The addition of Bond's old friend Tiger Tanaka is also quite welcomed.
Benson's writing has a few flaws this go around. It is slow moving and tedious at times. This is a direct contradiction from Benson's usual style. Also, it is obvious that Benson tries to write as an English author would. Sometimes, he fails in that quest with words like "stuff" and "whatever". However, it must be said that you are immersed in Japanese culture as you read and the vilain's motivations are chillingly genuine. That being said, if you enjoy good reads, buy Benson's THE MAN WITH THE RED TATTOO today.
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