Such Men Are Dangerous Mass Market Paperback – 1 Apr 2003
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is a work for fans who want to see the early Block in action. His later works are vastly better developed and more sophisticated. That said, it is interesting to see what he was like in his early days. If you like reading some of Ed McBain's early 87th Precinct novels and seeing how his work developed, you'll get the same sort of kick here.
If you're new to Block, go pick up 'Like a Lamb to the Slaughter', 'Eight Million Ways to Die', or 'When the Sacred Ginmill Closes'. These are all works of true refinement in the crime genre.
Until the Scudder books, Block was not really a big name, getting by more on volume of work rather than bestsellers. Such Men are Dangerous was written during this period in his career. This was orignally pseudonymously written by the main character, Paul Kavanagh, an ex-soldier who, as the book opens, is rejected for employment from the CIA.
The reason, Agency employee George Dattner explains, is that Kavanagh is too much of an independent thinker. With no other interesting opportunities, Kavanagh retires to a deserted island in the Florida Keys and enjoys the life of a hermit. All goes well until Dattner returns with a caper to steal some military weapons and sell them to a willing buyer for two million dollars. Eventually, Kavanagh agrees and the plot really kicks in.
I doubt even Block (who in an afterword, describes how he cranked out the book in just a few days) would consider this one of his best works, but it is still entertaining. Kavanagh, in some ways a completely apathetic character, is nonetheless interesting if somewhat nastier than many Block protagonists (even likeable assassin Keller). There's enough twists and cleverness to make this a fun if not classic read.