JAMES MITCHELL – Smear Job. David Callan #4.  (Character based on the TV series.) Hamish Hamilton, UK, hardcover, 1975. Putnam, US, hardcover, 1975. Berkley, US, paperback, 1978.

   The last of the four novels about reluctant intelligence agent David Callan — in this one dragged back out of what he had hoped was permanent retirement.

   As always the plot, concerning the location and kidnapping of an East German girl, rattles along at a gallop, the writing is taut yet imaginative, and Callan as convincing an anti-hero as you could hope to find.

   The action scenes are once again of the highest standard. and the only wonder is why Callan doesn’t command more attention than he does.

– Reprinted from The Poison Pen, Volume 6, Number 1 (Spring 1984).


      The David Callan series —

A Magnum for Schneider. Jenkins, 1969. Novelization of the TV movie.
Russian Roulette. H. Hamilton, 1973.
Death and the Bright Water. H. Hamilton 1974.
Smear Job.  H. Hamilton.
Bonfire Night, 2002.

      Short story collections:

Callan Uncovered (2014) Features 25 short stories (24 were written for the Sunday Express, and 1 for the TV Times), as well as a story treatment and the full script of an unfilmed episode, “Goodbye Mary Lee”.

Callan Uncovered 2 (2015) Features 15 short stories (all were written for the Sunday Express), as well as the full script of a ‘lost’ episode, “Goodness Burns Too Bright”.

EDITORIAL UPDATE: Quoting from Wikipedia: “Callan is a British action-drama television series created by James Mitchell, first airing between 1967 and 1972. It starred Edward Woodward as David Callan, an agent of a state secret service dealing with internal security threats to the United Kingdom. Though portrayed as having responsibilities similar to those of the real-life MI5, Callan’s fictional “Section” has carte blanche to use the most ruthless of methods.

   “Produced by ABC Weekend Television and Thames Television, the programme proved extremely popular; as well as four series between 1967 and 1972, followed by a feature-length film in 1974 and a TV movie in 1981.”