Just finished the sixth Matt Helm book, "The Ambushers" by Donald Hamilton (1963) . This was made into an action comedy starring Dean Martin, but other than a few names and plot elements, it couldn't be further removed.
Shadowy government assassin Helm is once again sent to do his dirty work, and we're treated to an up close tutorial-like action sequence right in the beginning.From there Matt traipses across the southwest landscape with a self inflicted burden in tow--a psychologically damaged female agent. Helm is his usual cynical, emotionless scumbag... but one who can get the tough job done--jobs we pretend out government doesn't need done.
My only complaint is that I sense some ret-conning of the original timeline going on.