Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Poisoners (Matt Helm #13)” as Want to Read:
The Poisoners (Matt Helm #13)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Poisoners

(Matt Helm #13)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  335 ratings  ·  24 reviews
When Matt Helm is dispatched to Los Angeles to investigate the shooting of an agent, it wasn't just an assignment--it was personal. To get the answers he wants means run-ins with two-bit hoods, a trio of beautiful women, a bunch of drug traffickers, and his old friend Mr Soo, whose government has ideas about polluting America to death... ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published December 30th 2014 by Titan Books (first published 1971)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Poisoners, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Poisoners

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  335 ratings  ·  24 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Poisoners (Matt Helm #13)
If you are looking for good, solid hardboiled espionage fiction without fancy gadgets and worldwide megalomaniacs, look no further than Hamilton's excellent Matt Helm series. In 27 volumes which do seem surprisingly to get better as the series goes on, Hamilton takes a reluctant G-man who thought after the war he could settle down with a family in Santa Fe and turns him into a cynical, professional soldier for a super secret spy agency/ hit squad.

This volume, which is about midway through the se
George K.
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Επαγγελματίες δολοφόνοι", εκδόσεις ΒΙΠΕΡ.

Σχεδόν δυο χρόνια πέρασαν από την τελευταία φορά που διάβασα μια περιπέτεια του Ματ Χελμ, το μόνο σίγουρο είναι ότι μου έλειψε. Αλλά πλέον απομένουν μονάχα πέντε βιβλία στα ελληνικά (έχουν μεταφραστεί τα δεκαοχτώ από τα συνολικά είκοσι επτά βιβλία της σειράς), οπότε θα πρέπει να είμαι κάπως... φειδωλός από 'δω και πέρα. Δέκατο τρίτο βιβλίο της σειράς και σίγουρα είναι από τα πολύ καλά (βέβαια, πάνω-κάτω όλα είναι στο ίδιο καλό επίπεδο ποιότητας). Μια όμο
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a twisty mission for Helm. An agent he recruited in an earlier book is killed, a bad idea, but as Helm hunts the murderer, he winds up in the middle of a couple of other operations. It makes for a great adventure. I love the older references such as the terrible smog problems, muscle cars, & the guns. Well, only two guns really tickle me in this tale. Still, it's nice that they were so expertly used.

This is the first time I've listened to this book in audio. I was going through my revie
A very strange trip this time. Helm is called in because he's close & an agent he recruited has been shot. He mixes it up with the Mafia a bit & more. Hamilton usually has something to say about a current event. This time it is air pollution in the early 1970's when the smog in some major cities had become extremely bad.

Again, Helm acts in his cold, logical fashion & you almost pity some of the bad guys. Careful reading allows the reader to pick out some of the story before hand, but it is very
Ted Barringer
Apr 04, 2022 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Terrible, as usual, this series is just so dated, darling. If you know what I mean.

It is interesting though that Donald Hamilton was so before his time in predicting certain problems.

In the poisoners the bad guys were, at least interested in, the destruction and elimination of the internal combustion engine, this was 1971. Pretty good soothsayer I'd say.

Anyway, this marks the half way mark in the original canon I believe, I shall plod on, plod on.
Vikas Datta
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As full of devious twists and turns as the others but hugely enjoyable
Aug 15, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Helm is sent to Los Angeles to question a female agent Annette O’Leary code name Ruby, who was beaten, interrogated, and shot twice left for dead in a parking lot. Helm got to the hospital but there was nothing to be done for the poor woman and several hours later she was pronounced dead. On his way back to the hotel, Helm was picked up and taken to a man named Frank Warful. Another man named Arthur Brown “the Basher” aka Lionel McConnell was there, hands tied, said to be the man who killed Ruby ...more
Michael  Morrison
Aug 18, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Donald Hamilton probably was not trying to predict a future, but he was, however accidentally, very prescient in "The Poisoners": a "woke" -- although the term was not yet in vogue -- scientist is so obsessive on the subject of pollution, he is trying to get automobiles, and internal combustion engines generally, outlawed.
To bring lesser mortals to their senses -- that is, to get them to agree with him -- he anticipated Joe Biden, who helped make gasoline so expensive that people cut down or eve
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: matt-helm, thriller
Once again Matt Helm saves the USA in a creative, and somewhat lucky manner. While not his job to do so, he becomes involved in a rather convoluted plot that at times reads as if it could have been ripped from today's headlines. I guess that, at times, the world does not really change all that much after all. This is a great fast paced book. The only complaint against it, is that after the final denouement Hamilton hangs around a bit too long trying to tie up the plot and answer questions that p ...more
Mar 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, espionage
Better than I expected, honestly. The lead character is less obnoxious that a lot of tough-guy novels from that era (Mike Hammer, for example). I still don't like the tone he's written in: sarcastic without being clever and he's borderline omniscient, which makes him a little dull.
There's a wider range of female characters and at least two of them have brains and are capable of independent action / thought.
I understand I'm damning with faint praise. This isn't great literature and it's not even
Tim Deforest
Sep 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though I still enjoyed this entry in the series, I felt it was a little too slowly paced, as if Hamilton needed to shave off 20 or 30 pages. Or perhaps that the disparate elements of the plot (combining Mafia drug-smuggling shenanigans with a Chinese Communist plot that is only tenuously connected with the Mafia stuff) actually should have been the plots of two different, shorter novels.

That being said, Hamilton shows his usual talent of throwing in unexpected plot twists and Matt Helm remains a
Dec 02, 2017 rated it liked it
More a film noir detective plot then the usual spy stuff and it is the most suffocatingly misogynistic of the series so far ... in these times it's hard to stomach it, but it WAS those TIMES back then. Anyway, a fast well-written read. Mr. Soo (villain) is back and he may be back again. Admittingly, won't stop reading this series. ...more
Jack Webb
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Mob

... gets into the act this time, but in the employ of a Chinese agent that Matt has encountered twice before. More commie mayhem, just not the Russians this time. Enjoyable, tho Hamilton does rely on twisted female help an awful lot to get Helm out trouble.
Mar 31, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#13 in the Matt Helm series. This 1971 entry by author Donald Hamilton is above average. Follow Matt as he encounters women and must divine which side they are on and how much of their stories is truthful.
Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like all the series: good plot, interesting characters and lots of twists and info. Some intimate scenes are (too) well described but profanity is usually limited. Performed by his usual handsome male voice and in character—kudos, Stefan Rudniki.
Paul Berner
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Poisoners

I've read every Matt Helm novel years ago. It was a real treat to find them again. The books are written in the first person. It take skittle getting used to. The stories are good an d Matt Helm is a screw up secret agent.
Mike (the Paladin)
Jan 31, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: action, spy-fi
As Matt's career moves on he meets such interesting people... Both "sides" seem to be mad at him at times.

I like these books and can recommend them for action, intrigue and also a bit of nostalgia to those of us who recall the spy/fi era.
Bill Williams
Aug 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Poisoners is a tight little novel with the operative known as Matt Helm searching for another operative's killer. He tangles with ex-boxers, femme fatales and mobsters before confronting the real villains.

It's a delightfully grim little piece of work.
ShanDizzy seemed like an interesting coincidence: a scientist missing in L.A. at roughly the same time an agent turned up dead. It would be a very long shot, I reflected, but if all other leads to Annette's murderer failed me. I might flip it and take a closer look at the Sorenson case, if only because I was intrigued by the notion of anybody having the nerve to try to abolish the conventional, petrol-powered automobile, particularly here in California where they practically take their beloved cars ...more
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
2 1/2 stars. An nostalgic read of some of the once popular series of spies or mercenaries. It wasn't bad. ...more
Ralph Carlson
Feb 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Another entertaining Matt Helm thriller.
Mark Levandoski
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Light reading,but highly enjoyable. Helm nothing like the Hollywood portrayal.
David Kun
Tellement patriarcal que s'en est devenu comique. ...more
Harv Griffin
Jun 24, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, reviewed
pic of my copy of the book

When I was young, I thought this was an average Matt Helm novel, not great, but pretty good. In re-reading it, most of the scenes I liked before, I couldn't tolerate now and had to skip over.

It might be a "mood" thing. Maybe I was in a bad mood when I read it this time around.

Matt Helm allows himself to be captured by adversaries twice in this novel, but once it is intentional; the second time, the opposition gets the drop on him, but Donald Hamilton's prose leaves open the possibility that Mat
Scott Bell
rated it really liked it
Oct 25, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Jul 25, 2022
Cliff Verge
rated it liked it
Aug 06, 2020
Jeremy Spaulding
rated it liked it
Jan 23, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Nov 14, 2014
Ryan Murphy
rated it it was amazing
Dec 13, 2017
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Promised Land
  • Helmet for My Pillow: From Parris Island to the Pacific
  • The Corpse That Never Was (Mike Shayne)
  • The Hurricane Story: How a Great Plane Saved a War
  • This is It, Michael Shayne
  • Into the Valley: Marines at Guadalcanal
  • Too Friendly, Too Dead
  • See Here, Private Hargrove
  • Matt Helm: The War Years
  • Go Up For Glory
  • Rascals in Paradise: Turbulent Adventures and Bold Courage on the South Seas
  • The Case of the Crooked Candle (Perry Mason, #24)
  • Up the Organization: How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling Profits
  • The Toff and the Stolen Tresses (Toff, #38)
  • Nero Wolfe of West Thirty-fifth Street: The Life and Times of America's Largest Private Detective
  • Where There's a Will (Nero Wolfe, #8)
  • Miss Withers Regrets (Hildegarde Withers #9)
  • Gideon's Wrath (Gideon, #13)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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

Other books in the series

Matt Helm (1 - 10 of 27 books)
  • Death of a Citizen (Matt Helm, #1)
  • The Wrecking Crew (Matt Helm, #2)
  • 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)

News & Interviews

  With more than 5.7 million votes cast and counted, the 14th Annual Goodreads Choice Awards are now official. Launched in 2009,...
121 likes · 55 comments