Friday, 2 January 2015

Dubai by Robin Moore, 1977

Patti Abbott hosts 2015's first Friday’s Forgotten Books at her blog Pattinase.

Robin Moore (1925-2008) was a prolific American writer of crime, war, and espionage fiction. He wrote some of his books in collaboration with other writers.

His novels were racy and entertaining with edge-of-the-seat action. Remember Gene Hackman and the famous car chase in The French Connection? That, apparently, came out of his 1969 book The French Connection: A True Account of Cops, Narcotics, and International Conspiracy (1969), a nonfiction book that exposed the French connection in a drug trafficking racket.

Moore was also known for another nonfiction book called The Green Berets (1965) set during the Vietnam War. According to Wikipedia, the author used his connections with Harvard classmate Robert F. Kennedy for access to the US Special Forces and write about the elite unit. Later, John Wayne played the lead in the film version.

I have not read either The French Connection or The Green Berets, but I read one other novel more than two decades ago which led to my discovery of Robin Moore—Dubai (1977).

I remember Dubai well but not well enough to write a review. Moore’s Dubai, one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates, is very different from Dubai as we know it today—crazy rich, swanky, polished, and glittering through its imposing manmade glass towers and hotels, artificial palm-shaped islands, and super cars and superhighways. 

Instead, Moore gives us a Dubai of the seventies, a Dubai still in the making, where westerner Fitz, a disgraced army officer, exploits the desert land of opportunities and conspiracies to make his fortunes. Fitz uses his connections with the ruler, Sheikh Rashid, to engage in high-risk business ventures including smuggling.

Dubai is a thriller set around oil deals and cartels, gambling and drug smuggling, beautiful women and sex, and power and politics. Above all, it revolves around the smuggling of gold in dhows from Dubai to Bombay, across the Arabian Sea. The route was once notorious for smuggling of all kinds of goods between India and the tiny oil kingdom.

Good writing style, a well-crafted story, and virtually unputdownable.

14 comments:

  1. I've seen his books but never read him. I'll try to pick up one to try.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Charles, I'm hoping to read some of Robin Moore's novels. They shouldn't be hard to find.

      Delete
  2. Happy new year, Prashant. I haven't been aware of this author though I know the films you mention. Interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Richard, Happy New Year to you too! Robin Moore has an engaging style. It reminds me of the bestselling fiction of the seventies and eighties.

      Delete
  3. I've read a bunch of Robin Moore's books and you're right: they're virtually unputdownable!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. George, I used to find Robin Moore's novels in local circulating libraries. Now they seem to have vanished even from secondhand bookstores. I'll keep looking, of course.

      Delete
  4. Moore was very popular at one time. Virtually forgotten now. Good pick.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bill, thank you. I didn't realise he'd written over fifty thrillers till I read his bibliography.

      Delete
  5. A new one to me Prashant. I don't think I have ever heard of him before, though THE FRENCH CONNECTION is familiar to me. Haven't seen it for a few years now though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Col, you ought to try some of Robin Moore's fiction. I have a feeling you'll like them. DUBAI is a good place to start.

      Delete
  6. I had thought of reading the French Connection, although non-fiction doesn't appeal to me as much as fiction. I did not realize the same author also wrote a lot of fiction. Very interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tracy, Robin Moore was very productive during his writing career. Many of his novels are new to me. I have seen THE FRENCH CONNECTION but I haven't read the original book on which the film was based.

      Delete
  7. This sounds really cool. I'm of course aware of the French Connection, but this one has somehow eluded me, even after 16 years in a used book store!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kelly, I recommend DUBAI which is fast paced and entertaining. Occasionally, I come across a copy of the book and it takes me back to the time I read it.

      Delete