British writer/actor Hugh Laurie’s first novel has all the trademarks of an offbeat James Bond adventure (whiskey stands in for vodka; there’s a Kawasaki where the Aston Martin used to be), the mind-boggling intricacy of a Robert Ludlum plot, and, most gratifyingly, the irreverent attitude of A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. In The Gun Seller, Laurie gleefully shakes and stirs a cocktail of international terrorism, high-tech helicopters, devious arms dealers, Bond-caliber beauties, Swiss ski resorts, and British intelligence into a cool concoction that zips along, heralds a new hero for the Austin Powers spy set — and leaves plenty of room for a sequel. B+

The Gun Seller
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