Throwback Thursday: Night Probe!

This Thursday, I'm taking you back to pre-Pamelibrarian days of reviewing with a review of Night Probe! by Clive Cussler.  It's a particularly unfortunate title that makes me think of proctology.

My mind is still a little boggled from this. I finished a few minutes ago and all I wanted to do was giggle uncontrollably. I felt like maybe I had been drugged while reading, as things ending up getting stranger, and stranger, and stranger.

Night Probe! (what is up with the gratuitous usage of exclamation points! in his titles? ) starts off interestingly enough, with two diplomats with a very big secret dying in separate disasters. Flash forward to Cussler's view of the future (1989) and Québec is moving to secede from Canada, while America is ... failing ... at stuff (really, the book keeps muttering ominously about "the end" of the U.S. etc. etc. but I never quite understood why things were going so badly). Dirk Pitt is being Dirk Pitt, finding amazing wreckages, doing ridiculous diving stunts, and having sexytimes with hot women (groan). Pitt being Pitt, he ends up entangled in (yet another) adventure to find something Very Important and then have more sexytimes with more hot women.

I'm trying to think up a way to summarize the utter weirdness of the plot, but I really can't. It involves: Canada, Québécois freedom fighters, a super-hot lady Naval officer, a new-top-secret-and-totally-awesome NUMA vessel called the Doodlebug (I kid thee not), a Canadian Mountie with superhuman strength AND the ability to completely and totally impersonate another politician with a few judicious swipes of theater makeup, and murder by being buried with dirt. Yeah. Oh, wait, did I mention that Britain (for reasons I totally did not comprehend) sold Canada to the U.S. at the beginning of WWI? No? I didn't mention that? Oops. O, Canada.

I'm the first to admit that I know a lot less about Canada than I should, but I feel bad that the whole country was basically reduced to a hunk of land to be taken over by the U.S. for (insert pinky finger in mouth here) ONE BILLION DOLLARS. Also, as a nitpicky point, when discussing the Québec breakaway that occurs in the book, the Anglo-Canadian politicians refer to Québec politicians as "French." I do not think that the Québécois would appreciate that. 

Also, Cussler seems to take a perverse delight in using hideously lurid and overblown descriptions in doing the ...ahem... love scenes. I was going back through for examples but they were just too immaturely squicky to repeat. 

Yes, I did take into account when this was written and how people probably viewed the world situation in light of the USSR, etc. However, some of this stuff was just too crazy, even for the 1980s! I suppose I'll pick up some more of these books for a laugh and to see if anything improved over the years.

Note from 2015: This book involves sexytimes in a plane on autopilot.  In case that tickles your fancy.


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