Diamonds, Cocaigne and Caravaggios
by James Jones

"hauptman neilson eased the safety catch of the silenced walther ppk, and aimed the gun at the major’s stomach, then said. mr churchill considers you a murdering bastard…"

In a classic example of free-form expression, the author has made the decision to totally eliminate paragraphs, almost completely remove capital letters, and only use punctuation idiosyncratically. Once you become accustomed to that, however, you can immerse yourself in a number of rip-roaring adventures. His stories span epochs and continents to deliver mayhem and murder across a range of criminality involving diamond smuggling, drug running, fine art theft, and more. The yarns are mostly set in present times. However, one pops up in World War II and another in 1796. They take place in multiple locales—England, France, Holland, Columbia, Africa, and America too. Their common denominator mostly involves bad guys who have done dastardly deeds and paramilitary units committed to stopping them and taking possession of their ill-gotten gains.

While all the narratives are exciting, the tale entitled “Operation W. M. Turner” is particularly intriguing. It involves a huge cache of fine art confiscated by the Nazis in the Second World War. Even while D-Day is underway, operations are afoot to recover the treasures from the Germans and give a little payback at the same time.

Jones writes in a vernacular more often spoken than written. Use of this British slang may sometimes slow comprehension for non-British readers. However, it also goes a long way in increasing the authenticity of the characters portrayed. The author is adept at depicting scenes of violence, which frequently hit with the force of a blow. His knowledge of weaponry and military tactics also provides additional credibility. While the writer’s story collection is relatively short at forty-seven pages, each page is packed with action and adventure. Lovers of this genre should prepare to lock and load and give it a go.

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