Book Review: Zero Minus Ten by Raymond Benson

December 29, 2022


Zero Minus Ten by Raymond Benson is the first novel by the author featuring Ian Fleming’s James Bond. Mr. Benson is a published author and the first American to write a James Bond book.

  • 272 pages
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Putnam Adult
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0399142576

Book Review: Zero Minus Ten by Raymond Benson
My rat­ing for Zero Minus Ten — 3

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I have enjoyed most of Ian Fleming’s Bond books, as well as the James Bond graphic novels. I’ve read this book a while ago though and these are my thoughts from that time.

Zero Minus Ten by Raymond Benson an O.K. Bond screenplay, but a bit disappointing book. It seems to me the author was writing the book with a movie in mind, what happened to the aging secret agent going through a mid-life crisis? What happened to the kinky, chauvinistic, alcoholic, cold-blooded killer we all know and love?

I do enjoy the Bond movies, like many I’ve seen them before reading the books. However, the literary Bond is quite different from the movie Bond. This book is taking place in the movie universe, ignoring the changes made by other authors to the literary character.

The narrative is missing the amalgam of details and storytelling, instead focusing a lot of it on action scenes for the big screen – which doesn’t usually translate well to books. Some of the writing becomes sloppy and superficial at times. In other books, we got into Bond’s head, this time we’re witnessing everything from the outside – like in a movie.

On the other hand, the heavy details in the book take the reader completely out of the story. I tried to understand how to play mahjong, but the description was convoluted. I did, however, appreciate the history lesson and context of Eastern politics.

I liked the story, it’s solid even if it is predictable, and I enjoyed reading the book, I guess it’s not the Bond I’m used to. If you are looking for a nice, light, Sunday afternoon read, this is it.


Agent 007 is given ten days to investigate a series of terrorist attacks in Hong Kong before it is going to be transferred to China. At the same time, a nuclear bomb has gone off in the Australian outback.

Bond investigates Guy Thackeray, a British shipping magnate, and Li Xu Nan, a head of a Chinese Triad. With the help of T.Y. Woo, a contact in Hong Kong, Bond manages to put Li Xu Nan in his debt and go to Australia to investigate Thackeray’s company, EurAsia.

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More Books by Raymond Benson*

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I bought book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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