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22gigantes.com - From the acclaimed master of action and suspense. The all time classic.Paul Sherman of Interpol's Narcotics Bureau flies to Amsterdam on the trail of a dope king.With enormous skill the atmosphere is built up: Amsterdam with its canals and high houses; stolid police; psychopaths; women in distress and above all – murder.
Most helpful customer reviews 6 of 6 people found the following review helpful. WHEN IS A PUPPET NOT A PUPPET? By Loren D. Morrison Question: When is a puppet not a puppet?Answer: When it's a corpse, of course!Yes, In MacLean's _PUPPET ON A STRING_ this was one method that a psychopathic killer used to make his point -- his point being don't try to catch me or "this" could happen to you. "This" being your body hanging from a hook through your neck from a third story flagpole projected out over the street. Gruesome, huh?The plot revolved around the efforts of Col. Sherman, an Interpol agent, to find and eliminate a major drug supplier in Amsterdam. Our psychopathic killer was a prominent player in, but not the "mastermind" of the drug distributors.At times during this book, I wondered how Col. Sherman had survived as long as he had. On at least three occasions he was careless enough to get captured, severely beaten, and almost killed. Only a combination of a lot of luck and last second help from unexpected places kept him alive. He also made enough serious mistakes and overlooked the obvious with such frequency that his friends and aides often found themselves in serious trouble or, worse, turned up dead.Those are the weak points. On the other hand, Sherman was remarkably resilient, and came out of each failure a little closer to finding out who was running the show and what ingenious methods were being used to smuggle the world's largest supply of heroin into those countries where it brought the highest prices.The action was non-stop, and, at least to this reader, the ending did come as a surprise. I could easily picture it as a spy thriller movie starring whoever is the "star of the moment."If you can suspend disbelief for a bit and just read _PUPPET ON A STRING_ as a fast paced thriller, I think you'll enjoy it in spite of a few "aw come on, he must be smarter than that" reactions. I know that I did. 3 of 3 people found the following review helpful. The Drug Underworld of Amsterdam By HMS Warspite Alistair Maclean's "Puppet on a Chain" is a thrill ride straight into the late 1960's drug underworld of Amsterdam. The story opens with the murder, in the middle of Schiphol Airport, of the contact for Maclean's protagonist, Paul Sherman. Sherman is a veteran Interpol Narcotics Bureau agent, used to independent action and blunt force tactics. He is assisted by two attractive female agents, one an experienced operative, the other a rookie. Sherman is in the Netherlands to break up a vicious drug smuggling ring that will kill ruthlessly to protect its operation."Puppet on a Chain" has the standard twisting plot, local atmospherics, and sardonic dialogue that were Maclean's trademarks as a story-teller. Maclean allows his protagonist to have a bantering relationship with his assistants that provides a streak of humor as the plot unfolds. Unfortunately, Sherman's relationship with his assistants will be used against him. As his investigation is undermined by betrayal, leaving him constantly a half-step behind his adversaries, Sherman will resort to increasingly violent action to turn the tables. The story culminates in a violent struggle above the streets of Amsterdam to save the life of his surviving female operative.This book is highly recommended to fans of Alistair Maclean, and to other readers looking for an entertaining story. 5 of 6 people found the following review helpful. Fun And Games On The Zuider Zee By Bill Slocum Interpol agent Paul Sherman has just arrived in Amsterdam and before he can even leave Schiphol Airport he has already witnessed the gunning down of his key contact, been knocked half-unconscious by an assassin, and tangled with local authorities."Check whatever you like with whoever you like," he tells a dubious police officer about his credentials. "I suggest you start with Colonel van de Graaf at the Central HQ.""You know the Colonel?""It's just some name I picked out of my head. You'll find me at the bar."Alistair MacLean has fun with his sarcastic protagonist, and his levity is much needed with a storyline that gets gothic and overwrought. The drug trade is the nemesis in this taut action yarn, equal parts mystery and "Dirty Harry"-style rogue cop story.Actually, I was reminded a lot of Nelson DeMille reading this, something I wasn't expecting. MacLean is known for his fast-paced action yarns, but not for the humor he shows off here, often and well. Like DeMille, MacLean here presents a wonderful narrative voice that deepens our sense of engagement with the tale's teller by using humor and a feeling for the moment that is at times quite fine.Occasionally the plot seems to almost veer into parody, as when Sherman checks into a hotel and almost immediately is set upon by a hopped-up bellboy. There's also an attack by wimple-wearing haymakers and the use of a safe as torture device. I wish he had let himself go more in a comical direction with these ideas, but he had an army of readers who expected otherwise.It's not an easy book to follow, maybe because I was reading it too fast. One bit on the last page between Sherman and a woman is especially odd; I'm still not sure if he was proposing to her or exposing her as a double agent. The villains, when revealed, as not exactly who you expect in part because their motives and modus operandi make no sense. Of course, MacLean is writing for effect here, nowhere more so than in the title image of a Dutch doll hanging from a hook, which the bad guys use to demonstrate their menace. Why? Don't ask, just keep reading.But that's the easy part. It's a fast, fun read. The best bit is when Sherman does some investigating of a barge operating around the Zuider Zee; MacLean's ability to convey the sense of the natural world and its elements is on full display in a night scene with "the faint threnody of the wind and the soft creaking and rubbing as the wind made the barges work gently at their moorings." After eluding some assassins, Sherman gets on the wheelhouse roof and quickly realizes he's likely to freeze to death in the hard winter cold coming off the water.Since he's telling you all this, you sense Sherman will pull through, but MacLean keeps many balls in the air and the reader isn't let off so easy. You might feel a little like that puppet on a chain as MacLean dangles your expectations and pulls your strings; but his intentions are honorable and it's all in good fun. See all 42 customer reviews...
With this book Alistair MacLean will make another killing --Sunday Mirror About the Author Alistair MacLean, the son of a Scots minister, was brought up in the Scottish Highlands. In 1941 he joined the Royal Navy. After the war he read English at Glasgow University and became a schoolmaster. The two and a half years he spent aboard a wartime cruiser were to give him the background for HMS Ulysses, his remarkably successful first novel, published in 1955. He is now recognized as one of the outstanding popular writers of the 20th century, the author of 29 worldwide bestsellers, many of which have been filmed.
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