Writers we like – an occasional series about authors and books that made a big impression on our own authors. First up, Dennis Drayton on The Stone Leopard:
Colin Forbes was a very prolific author and was at the height of his powers all through the 1970’s. I never cared for his later Tweed books, but from when I discovered “Tramp in Armour” through to “Avalanche Express” I ate them up.
The Stone Leopard blew me away when I read it as a teenager, in retrospect a few parts felt interchangeable with seventies Wilbur Smith or Jack Higgins books (all three may have shared editors and publishers) — but over-all it was a fascinating near-future, parallel history sort of book with lots of Cold War paranoia, what felt like an authentic French setting, with lots of chases and shoot-outs and a compelling central mystery (who is the traitor at the highest level of the French government?) which kept the story rattling along at breakneck speed. It is probably very dated now, but for its time and up to the mid-1990s it stood up very well.