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Cast a Yellow Shadow
Cast a Yellow Shadow
Cast a Yellow Shadow
Audiobook6 hours

Cast a Yellow Shadow

Written by Ross Thomas

Narrated by Brian Holsopple

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars



About this audiobook

An old friend draws barman Mac McCorkle into a deadly international game.
Release dateNov 13, 2012

Ross Thomas

The winner of the inaugural Gumshoe Lifetime Achievement Award, Ross Thomas (1926–1995) was a prolific author whose political thrillers drew praise for their blend of wit and suspense. Born in Oklahoma City, Thomas grew up during the Great Depression, and served in the Philippines during World War II. After the war, he worked as a foreign correspondent, public relations official, and political strategist before publishing his first novel, The Cold War Swap (1967), based on his experience working in Bonn, Germany. The novel was a hit, winning Thomas an Edgar Award for Best First Novel and establishing the characters Mac McCorkle and Mike Padillo.  Thomas followed it up with three more novels about McCorkle and Padillo, the last of which was published in 1990. He wrote nearly a book a year for twenty-five years, occasionally under the pen name Oliver Bleeck, and won the Edgar Award for Best Novel with Briarpatch (1984). Thomas died of lung cancer in California in 1995, a year after publishing his final novel, Ah, Treachery!

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Reviews for Cast a Yellow Shadow

Rating: 4.090909090909091 out of 5 stars

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  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    If you liked Hawkeye and Trapper in M*A*S*H you will likely like this series about McCorkle and Padillo. Cast a Yellow Shadow is the third in the series. My favorite was the first one.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    When I first started it, I thought Cast a Yellow Shadow was an 80s book, but it’s older than me (barely). Other than references to what was then bleeding edge tech (operator assisted conference call between 4 vehicles), there isn’t much to date this one. It could be any time and that’s part of the appeal. That and a bunch of hard men doing hard things (one of them is actually named Hardman). It takes a while for the meaning of the title to be revealed and when it is, it underscores the sadness that surrounds Michael Padillo. Unlike Durant and Wu, Padillo and his partner McCorkle don’t seem to have fun hatching schemes, writing wrongs or kicking ass. They do all those things, but without the seat-of-the-pants joy the other pair has. Here’s a conversation between Mac and a girl who is a bit smitten by the enigmatic Padillo - “She was silent for a moment and when she spoke she seemed to be speaking to her hands which rested in her lap. “He said he didn’t have any more time to be lonely - that his time for being lonely had run out years ago.”“What else did he say?”“Something I’m not sure I understand.”“What?”“He said he casts a yellow shadow. What does that mean?”“It’s what the Arabs say, I think. It means he carries a lot of luck around. All bad.”“Does he?”“For others. For those who get too close.”Isn’t that a great piece? It says so much with so few words. The whole thing is like that. Take this scene with our two main men -“There was a knock on the door and I said come in and one of the waiters entered and set the martinis down on the desk. I thanked him and he left.“Maybe the vodka will help.” I said.“Nothing like a two-or three-martini idea.”“I’ve had some fine ones on four.”Padillo lighted a cigarette. He inhaled, coughed, and blew most of it out. “You think filters help?”“I have no idea.”“I quit smoking in Africa.”“For how long?”“Two days; a little over two days. Three-and-a-half hours over two days to be exact.”“What happened?”“I admitted I had no will power. It was a great relief.”“I’d say your will power can lick my will power.”“I don’t think it would be much of a match.”Ah, but they are a match. In order to save McCorkle’s wife, who’s been kidnapped by government officials anxious for Padillo to assassinate their prime minister. Because he refused they grabbed Mac’s Mrs. Now they have to assemble a team to help them find her and flub the shooting. Only problem is they can’t trust the team and know one or more of them will turn on them. It’s part of the plan but they won’t know exactly which part until one of them betrays Padillo and McCorkle. I love that about Thomas’s plots. Betrayal is just a known quantity, like gravity and they work around it and even play into it when it can be turned to benefit. There isn’t a lot of extraneous detail in what leads up to the denouement. Of course lots of planning, drinking, smoking, discussion, drinking and more planning. Both men are slow to violence, but neither hesitates when he has to take someone out. Some of the details are a bit graphic, but none are prolonged. Race plays a large part in the plot, both the reason for the assassination and with the team to undo McCorkle and Padillo’s woes. It’s inoffensive even if the language is dated. For example Thomas describes the different types of Negroes who come into the showdown. Dark, light, mulatto, each one is specified, as most everyone else is, but not so much detail about race with white folks. None of it is offensive, but the style is peculiar to the time I think.