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Reviewed by Cecil Brewer for Readers' Favorite
Haris Orkin has produced a rip-roaring tale of derring-do by a highly unlikely and slightly eccentric character. You Only Live Once jumps from the pages with sharp, witty writing in an intelligent parody. It is almost like Ian Fleming might have re-crafted Cervantes' Don Quixote with a strong dose of hilarity. James imagines himself to be a "Double-O" and, because of it, lives in a contemporary but pleasant dungeon. He believes it is "headquarters" and begs for a mission. When evil invades it, saving his threatened comrades compels him to launch an irrational operation. And, like the original 007, during his impossible mission he finds ways to overcome hopeless situations (firing heat-seeking rockets is side-splitting), help others to see around their own corners, and all the while maintaining his loony courtly noble outlook. Orkin reproduces the spirit of Agent 007 as he and his reluctant esquire ricochet from one dire situation to another while pursuing a fantasy mission.
Someone important might recognize You Only Live Once one day for its interpretation of two dissimilar classics melded into a charming burlesque. Today, the closest modern expressions of chivalry are action-hero champions that grew from an implausible secret agent who saved the world, or at least some of it. Orkin captures chivalry's essence in a quixotic quest and has saturated his tall tale with it. The twists of this story incorporate several entertaining fictional devices created by Cervantes roughly four hundred years ago and they still work. Haris Orkin has blended cinema's formula for the James Bond franchise with characters conceived in one of literature's greatest works and he makes you laugh. Haris Orkin has written a classic from thoroughly different eras, both engaging in their own right, but hilarious when combined.