At this point, I can’t remember which was the first Matt Helm novel I read. Likely it was the third or fourth. I knew I’d found something very good and, being the completist I was even then, I had to find the earlier volumes. When I had all at that point, i never missed one as soon as it was published.
MATT HELM: THE WAR YEARS was authorized by Donald Hamilton’s son and covers Helm’s activities during those years of WWII.
As the novel opens, he’s in the hospital recovering from wounds received on the last mission, as well as some judicious plastic surgery to cover bullet wounds. As he’d supposedly spent the war in public relations, bullet wounds would be out of place. The other wounds were covered by a “jeep wreck.”
He’s also pondering a request from Mac.
The bulk of the novel is spent on his recruitment as a candidate in officer training by Mac, his training in various aspects for his new profession in an organization that didn’t exist, not mention various missions during the war that aided the allies, and finally the decision that sets the scene for Hamilton’s first Helm novel.
Author Wease captures both Hamilton’s voice and Matt Helm very well in this novel. Now we need to see that unpublished Helm novel that Hamilton left.
Highly recommended if one liked the Helm novels and available HERE.