Gavin Lyall has written a number of thrillers since the early 1960's.
He seems more or less forgotten today, despite a number of very good novels
that still deserve to be read. My favorites are his earlier books:
Wrong Side of the Sky (1961)
Jack Clay is a pilot with a license problem, an unscrupolous employer
and an even more criminal local agent in Athens. The agent wants Clay
to smuggle arms into Libya, but Clay gets a whiff of more precious stuff.
In the chaos of the dividing of British India into India and Pakistan,
large fortunes were flown out and not all reached their proper destination.
There is a lot of flying (which Lyall does very well), fighting, crooks,
friends and betrayals in this book. It is not his best book, but as
a first novel it does fairly well, though it feels a bit "dated", after
all it was first published in 1961.
Most Dangerous Game (1964)
Bill Cary is a down-at-heel bush pilot scrounging a living in Northern
Finland by taking on various jobs in his Beaver amphibian plane. Prospecting
for nickel without much luck, he suddenly finds himself the target of
interest from various instances - amongst others the Finnish secret
police, local crooks and possibly British Intelligence - in addition
to a rich hunter and his lovely sister. A low-key thriller with intelligent
action and dialogue, and without any super-heroes. Recommended reading.
Plus One (1965)
With Pistol (1969)
the Dead (1972)
James Card works as a bodyguard, and this job starts bad - Fenwick,
the man he is bodyguarding, is shot down and Card has no clue as to why
and whom. He starts investigating, and this takes him to Lloyd's, where Fenwick worked, and further on to Norway and a small shipping company that had one of its boats sunk.
Someone doesn't want Card to look to closely, and Card and his unknown enemy start hunting each other through Bergen, further down south and into the remoter parts of Norway to find or quench the truth. It all ends in a shootout.
Lyall gives a good description of Bergen, Norway and Norwegians and manages to make the peaceful western countryside become sinister and threatening. The story is well plotted and quite believable, there is both action and intelligent dialogue, even time for Lyall to give some wry comments on phenomena of Norwegan daily life that seem mysterious to foreigners, like licensing laws. A competent thriller that I can recommend.
More recent novels include
from The Guardian
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