ADAM HALL – The Scorpion Signal. Quiller #9. Doubleday, US, hardcover, 1980. Playboy, paperback; 1st printing, June 1981. First edition: Collins, UK, hardcover, 1979.

   Quiller is asked to cut short his latest recovery leave six weeks early. He might have refused, but the man missing was a friend of his; they’d been on assignment together more than once. Shapiro had been caught by the Russians and was being processed in the brainwashing facility at Lubyanka when somehow he managed to escape. But now he’s disappeared, and if the Russians have him and break him, all kinds of secrets will suddenly not be so secret any more.

   And so Quiller agrees to take the job. Not all goes as planned, though, not hardly. There are lots of twists and turns and narrow escapes on the part of Quiller, who is both very good at what he does and very lucky. It is the people that he meets that makes the story go on high cylinders most of the way, however. Some are on “our” side, some on “their” side, and some have their own agendas, which is all to the good, as far as the reader is concerned, especially this one.

   The ending, though, is all action — which I daren’t tell you about, because getting there is where all the fun is — and while Adam Hall (aka Elleston Trevor) does action well, the closing climactic scenes mean almost as little to me as the CGI effects and fast camera work in whatever the latest suspense thriller is that’s being shown right now in a theater near you.

   All in all, then, not a boring (or bad) book by any means, but I enjoyed a earlier read, Quiller, which came later in the series (and was reviewed here ), quite a bit more. Cerebral action means more to me, you see, than several chapters’ worth of automobiles chasing each other, even around the Kremlin, right in the heart of Moscow.