Sunday, December 18, 2005

Trevanian, R.I.P.

Rodney Whitaker, who wrote under the pen name Trevanian, has died.

When I was a yoot, I read and reread Trevanian's books five or six times each. He was probably best known for his novel The Eiger Sanction which was made into one of the more fun 70's Clint Eastwood flicks.
The movie was certainly memorable, but there was no way to capture on film that certain atmosphere that Trevanian brought to his spy adventures, that sense of never being quite sure when he was putting you on. I mean, how could you resist a character like art collector/assassin Jonathan Hemlock, who worked for a shadowy (literally) intelligence boss named Yurassis Dragon? (say that last name fast if you don't know why it makes me laugh out loud).
My absolute favorite Trevanian character was Nicolai Hel, the half-Japanese assassin of Trevanian's classic Shibumi. Killer. Philosopher. Lover. Wine connisseur. No offense to Ian Fleming, but Nicolai Hel was cooler than James Bond by a factor of 10.
Trevanian's books had style. They had wit. They had great and often bizarre characters. They had hot sex. They were, above all, huge fun to read.
As it turns out, Whitaker wrote under at least five pseudonyms. I'm sure that he published great work under all of them.
But it's Trevanian I'll miss.

1 comment:

David Terrenoire said...

Shibumi was one of my favorites. Someone pressed it into my hands and I devoured it in a day or two.