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Night Walker by Donald Hamilton
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Night Walker (1954)

by Donald Hamilton

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Hamilton takes this mysterious plot and plunges the reader headlong
through curve after curve till the readers head is spinning and
wondering who is on whose side and what could they have possibly
wanted with Young to begin with. Whose hands is he in and why?
The book is dark in mood. It never really feels as if the sun is shining.
The book does not seem dated even though there is some reference to
the communists. It is well-written and compelling reading. As is often
said in reviews, this was one I just couldn’t put down.
Although the idea of someone being wrapped in bandages and
mistaken for another is not new and has been used in various novels
and movies, it works here. It probably works because the
circumstances under which it happens are so mysterious and are
actually pre-planned by Wilson and not accidental. ( )
  DaveWilde | Sep 22, 2017 |
My first Donald Hamilton book.

I got bothered by some of the dated aspects. I pretty much don't take that sort of stuff in my stride when it comes to vintage literature. I figure it goes with the territory, but sometimes it doesn't work, as it's the case.

Regarding the effectiveness of the two twists that sum-up the book, I've mixed feelings. The most important of which I couldn't see it coming.

This book depicts a good reason you can’t trust women (tongue-in-cheek...): Elizabeth is one of those classic femme fatales", whose voluptuousness suggests duplicity, using her sex to her advantage, complicating our protagonist’s life as she weaves her “fabric of deceit.” Does she love her husband? Does she love her doctor? Does she love Young? Is she using none, one or all three of them to get what she wants? (I'd go for the latter...lol)" ( )
  antao | Dec 10, 2016 |
This early novel has all of Hamilton's trademarks, along with a plot that is far too complicated but is still enjoyable from start to finish. Amazingly in this one, there are women in pants but he doesn't make snide remarks about it. I guess that was just Matt Helm speaking....

In any case, the story concerns a Naval Lieutenant being called back to active duty and reluctantly making his way to Norfolk, hitchhiking because he spent all his money on a bender. He doesn't really want to go back because he still has nightmares about his last ship burning up and being rescued from the flaming water. When a stranger gives him a lift, the real fun begins. The stranger, like some of Hamilton's own protagonists in these early books, has lost his job due to suspicions of his being a Communist. Well, as a Hamilton reader, we know that's not good. And when we find out he lives on the Chesapeake Bay, we know there will be a strong nautical aspect to the book.

Telling you more would just spoil the series of twists and turns that follow. The first few chapters are almost perfect, then a little bit of disbelief begins to settle in, but Hamilton saves a few surprises for the finale, and it's a good one. This is not Hamilton's best work, but it is a lot better than the lesser parts of his Helm series. ( )
  datrappert | Jun 13, 2013 |
A pretty good murder mystery story published in 1954, so it used the Commie Spy & McCarthy era paranoia as the main plot of the story. Some coincidence is used, but more sparingly than I thought at first. The ending was good, too. It's a believable yarn with no super heroes, just ordinary people. I could really identify with the main character & understood the few others well, too. All motivations were quite believable. Well worth the read, although not as good as his Matt Helm books. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Sep 25, 2009 |
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Please do not list under the Hard Case Crime series. See the series description: Only those works written for Hard Case crime are included in the series. Works reprinted by Hard Case are not included. This work was published decades before HCC existed.
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Waking up in a hospital with a new name and a beautiful woman claiming to be his wife, Navy Lieutenant David Young, suspected of treason and murder, must enter into a shadowy world of corruption and crime to find his true identity and confront his enemies.… (more)

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