Libor Machala: Agent JFK 35: Vlci severu

Aug 26, 2015

OK, this will be short: Agent JFK 35: Vlci severu is terrible, I’d dare to say the worst in the whole series! I’ve read all the books from all the authors and they take up quite a significant chunk of my bookshelves in fact. There are issues which are intriguing, interesting or just fun action: basically all Žamboch’s books, #8 by Petr Schink, #9 by Jan Hlávka or #31 by Jan Kotouč. Many books are bad but it usually comes down to strange theme or author’s style I don’t like (Procházka, Francová); this issue, #35, is just disastrous.

The premise of the series is to have a group of characters with one leading hero who serve as connectors of stories by different authors. It is not uncommon that a JFK series book is author’s first publication of a longer text, thus giving a chance to new authors to reach a wider audience (Schink, Hlávka). There are of course legends of Czech sci-fi/fantasy genre who contributed - founding fathers Žamboch and Procházka or Šlechta, Ríša, Neff, Pecinovský, Vrbenská. Such a wide spectrum creates a variability in approaches, styles and themes which can be jarring and annoying but it comes with the territory. No one should expect JFKs to be the glory of the genre, they are just fun short stories.

However, this issue shouldn’t have escaped from the head of the author, let alone get printed and sold. The story is trivial, characters are directly out of Flatland, deus ex machina serves as a single plot device, stereotypes and racism are sprinkled on top. To paraphrase one reviewer on GoodReads: Jack London would be ashamed to be on the same continent as this book.