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The Wrecking Crew (Matt Helm #2)

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  326 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Name: Matthew Helm
Code Name: Eric
Mission: #2 - The Wrecking Crew
Remarks: Helm has been sent halfway around the world to find & destroy the mythically elusive agent they called Caselius. His only lead to him is a woman, who might or might not be a double agent. Before Helm finally faces Caselius up in the bleak north woods of the Swedish ore country, two women will die,
Mass Market Paperback, 176 pages
Published June 12th 1977 by Fawcett (first published 1960)
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In this, the second book of the series, Helm's character is firmly set. He's in Sweden, so we get a fair amount of comparison between the two countries, what he thinks makes sense & what doesn't. More, he is working with another agency who think his job - find & kill the bad guy - makes him a monster. Several darkly ironic situations arise proving the need for men like Helm & why his service exists. They might not like or respect him, but when the bad guys don't play by their rules, ...more
Another cold war thriller set back in the early 60's in Sweden. Helm, the hero, is a government assassin sent to kill off a spy who has proven too deadly for the other spies - a typical job for him. He doesn't mow people down in rows like a movie James Bond, but carefully takes out just those he needs to. It's not easy. He's tough & well trained, but so are his opponents. He has to be careful not to offend the local sensibilities too much. It is peacetime & he's a foreign operative in a ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Sep 03, 2015 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it
Shelves: spy-fi, thriller
Have you ever heard of Matt Helm? If so, was it from the old movies? the old TV series? (Frankly I'd forgotten there even was a TV series). Hf you know Helm from there, well you still don't know Matt Helm.

I started with a few strikes against me as well. I was a fan of what is generally called "spy-fi" back in the '60s. Most are familiar with James Bond (007) written by Ian Fleming. There were also other books and movies that leaned heavily on action and sometimes on "gadgets". I liked The Man Fr
May 26, 2009 Tony rated it really liked it
Shelves: thrillers
Hamilton, Donald. THE WRECKING CREW. (1960). ****. This is the second in the Matt Helm series, and continues his adventures as an assassin for some unnamed group within the U.S. headed up by a man we only know as Mac. Helm has received an assignment to destroy the mythically elusive agent called Caselius. His only lead to him is through a woman, who might or might not be a double agent. She has engaged Helm under his cover as a photographer to do a feature story on the mining areas of northern S ...more
Skip Maloney
Nov 30, 2013 Skip Maloney rated it it was amazing
On a whim, I opted to record a TCM showing of the 1968 film, "The Wrecking Crew," starring Dean Martin as secret agent Matt Helm. I knew from experience that this wasn't likely to be a story-telling gem of any kind, having seen the other three that had been made. But not remembering "The Wrecking Crew" specifically, I half-wondered whether as the last one made, it might have been akin to some sort of crowning achievement.
Fat chance.
Same un-talented actor, mugging for the cameras, pretending to b
Harv Griffin
May 09, 2014 Harv Griffin rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of pulp fiction like Travis McGee
Shelves: reviewed, own
About 4 years before John D. MacDonald started his Travis McGee series, Donald Hamilton started his Matt Helm series. THE WRECKING CREW is really the first proper Matt Helm book. The earlier one, DEATH OF A CITIZEN, isn't worth bothering with, IMHO. [John D.'s McGee novels are notable for tangents where McGee will make acidic observations on society--a good argument can be made that John D. stole this riff from Hamilton's earlier Matt Helm novels and expanded on it.]

Matt Helm novels require a bi
Jul 11, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first was so good as an audio book that I couldn't wait to start the second even though I have a couple of other books I want to listen to. This one was fantastic, too. They're even better as audio books, although that's hard to imagine.

I've reviewed this book in both its paperback editions & don't have anything to add, although in audio format, I missed his logic goof at the end which I mention in one of the reviews linked below.
Ken Schloman
Feb 21, 2015 Ken Schloman rated it really liked it
"The Wrecking Crew" is a great follow up to the first novel in the Matt Helm series, "The Death of a Citizen". If you like fast paced and well plotted action, this series is for you. Readers must remember that the time setting is is late 50's early 60's cold war so some may think the story is dated but I didn't. Don't confuse this novel with the bad Dean Martin movie of the same name which was very,very,very thinly based on the novel. A more realistic James Bond type character.
Oct 11, 2015 Ellen rated it really liked it
Shelves: spenning
A book from 1960, but it still feels quite fresh.
Matt Helm, our killer/spy hero, is a sexist bastard, who dismisses women after a glance if they for example wear pants, since that "does nothing" for him. But that feels OK, the era these books were written in was nothing like my life in Scandinavia today, and of course there are huge differences.
Helm is a James Bond kind of guy, just bloodier and less "fun". In this book he travels to my part of the world, and it is interesting how he points ou
Patrick Nichol
Apr 04, 2016 Patrick Nichol rated it it was amazing
This is a really good spy yarn that will make you forget the Dean Martin version. Like the '60s, it's got style. baby!
Jun 05, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just finished reading The Wrecking Crew and enjoyed it. After a refresher course, Matt Helm is sent to Sweden to kill another agent.

What's fun about this novel is Helm's professional and detached attitude towards both his work and his enemy who he views as just another professional, fighting for his country.

His cool dispatching of his enemies towards the end is another example of both his detachment and pragmatism.

Terror on the high seas
R.W. Clark
Oct 31, 2015 R.W. Clark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Wrecking Crew advances the formula with a fumble. Through the first pages/chapters, Helm is relatively unaffected (yeah, normal for the genre) over his wife's choice to divorce him. This is filled in towards the end, but Matt resists introspection (bad for a spy's health). He has much to ponder as partners and acquaintances die like flies along the way, but he reminds himself it serves no purpose at the end of the day.

However, Hamilton has taken a big step away from a lot of baggage in his w
Mar 18, 2016 Brains48 rated it liked it
“Original orders operative, changes cancelled. Go get him.” Matt Helm is Back In Action and, it has to be said, getting people killed by making damn fool assumptions about them. Early Nordic noir, this one, with Helm sent to the land of Donald Hamilton’s birth to take snaps of Swedish tourist spots that definitely have no strategic merit, oh no. The big difference between him and, say, Parker or Travis McGee is “L’organismo”; a structure around him (along with an “M” type figure) that can drop h ...more
Vikas Datta
Mar 30, 2016 Vikas Datta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Throat-grabbing intense as usual...
I think this is an improvement over the first Matt Helm novel (Death of a Citizen): We__re already somewhat familiar with Helm__s world, he__s jettisoned his wife and family, he__s back at his cold-blooded work__he is a government-sanctioned assassin, after all__and he__s out of his accustomed southwestern element. What hasn__t changed is that no one__s agenda is quite what it seems to be, and nearly everyone he meets is lethal, one way or the other. Helm is, above all else, a practical man: He ...more
TJ Creamer
Aug 16, 2015 TJ Creamer rated it really liked it
OK ok... I said I wasn't gonna read any more of the series, but ... I tried one more. #2 in the series.

Although again hampered by my desire for present-day espionage plots and intrigue, this is still set in the eraof early James Bond. To be fair, the Matt Helm novels were considered grittier and more realistic than Bond's techno-whiz-bang, near deus ex machina qualities, and the series did receive critical praise. I did enjoy the character more, now having 'lived with him' in a second book.

Mar 14, 2015 George rated it really liked it
"Ομάδα διασώσεως", εκδόσεις ΒΙΠΕΡ.

Πάει και το δεύτερο βιβλίο της σειράς Ματ Χελμ. Πρόκειται για ένα ακόμα θρίλερ κατά τη διάρκεια του Ψυχρού Πολέμου στις αρχές της δεκαετίας του '60, στην Σουηδία.

Ο Ματ Χελμ, μυστικός πράκτορας, ή για την ακρίβεια, κυβερνητικός εκτελεστής, στέλνεται στην Σουηδία για να σκοτώσει έναν αντίπαλο πράκτορα, ονόματι Καζέλιους, που ήταν πολύ καλός στη δουλειά του και είχε ήδη βγάλει νοκ άουτ τρεις Αμερικανούς κατασκόπους. Τυπική δουλειά για τον Ματ Χελμ. Αλλά αποδεικνύε
Harvey Click
Feb 06, 2016 Harvey Click rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read many of the Matt Helm books in high school and loved them (though I hated the dreadful movies), so I was happy to see that most of them are now available on Kindle. If anything I enjoyed this even more now than I did back in my high school days. The prose is tough and lean and just right, and the plot moves quickly with plenty of twists and turns. I much prefer the Helm novels to Fleming's James Bond novels.
joseph l poole
Feb 13, 2014 joseph l poole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

classic spy 007 style. Forget Dean Martin and the movies. A good read.
Part of a very good series. Read in publish date order.

Jun 02, 2014 Christian rated it it was ok
Pretty standard espionage story form the early sixties. Nothing special but I have read worse from Fleming or LeCarre.
Julia Rose
kept duplicate
Jun 05, 2015 Monk rated it it was amazing
Jack Reacher? Never heard of her.
Jeff Crosby
Dec 09, 2013 Jeff Crosby marked it as to-read
Shelves: espionage, suspense
Okay, it was one of those weekends where nothing held my interest for very long. Being the sensible person I am, I started five new novels.

I read one Matt Helm novel back in high school. It had no relationship to the Dean Martin movies, so I found something else to read. It is time to revisit this series of paperback originals before they all disappear.
Sep 08, 2013 Marvin rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All action antihero lovers
Matt Helm...what more can be said. The tough American version of James Bond. Thrills, world chaos, beautiful women, exotic locations...what else is there?
Nov 17, 2012 Vance rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah... The Matt Helm series. Another of those sets of books that got me into reading. Light reading, with witty humor that keeps you turning pages.
Jun 04, 2012 Tim rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
It's surprising how misogynistic it was ok to be when this was written.
Nov 03, 2014 Randy rated it it was amazing
Book 2. My favorite spy series.
Pygmy is currently reading it
Apr 29, 2016 marked it as to-read
Apr 28, 2016
george k burns sr
george k burns sr rated it it was amazing
Apr 27, 2016
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Donald Hamilton was a U.S. writer of novels, short stories, and non-fiction about the outdoors. His novels consist mostly of paperback originals, principally spy fiction but also crime fiction and Westerns such as The Big Country. He is best known for his long-running Matt Helm series (1960-1993), which chronicles the adventures of an undercover counter-agent/assassin working for a secret American ...more
More about Donald Hamilton...

Other Books in the Series

Matt Helm (1 - 10 of 27 books)
  • Death of a Citizen (Matt Helm, #1)
  • The Removers (Matt Helm, #3)
  • The Silencers (Matt Helm, #4)
  • Murderers' Row (Matt Helm, #5)
  • The Ambushers (Matt Helm, #6)
  • The Shadowers (Matt Helm, #7)
  • The Ravagers (Matt Helm, #8)
  • The Devastators (Matt Helm, #9)
  • The Betrayers (Matt Helm, #10)
  • The Menacers (Matt Helm, #11)

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“When you act like a nice guy, everyone examines your motives with a microscope. When you act like a conscienceless louse, they generally take you at face value.” 5 likes
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