Gardner's take on James Bond is interesting as it combines the classic spy thriller with a bit of police procedural mystery. His James Bond is far less jokey than the film portrayal of the character at the time (1980s) and I believe deliberately so. The adventure takes place before the fall of the Berlin Wall so it tends to be dated with references to the Cold War. However, rather than detract from the book, I felt that it added a bit of historical nostalgia of a time that many new readers might not remember.
My only criticism is that although it was a fine tale told well, there was nothing remarkable or special about this novel. James Bond does all the Bondian things he should be doing and the novel ends the way one would expect. Gardner does put his stamp on things with his use of double-crosses (sometimes a little too unbelievably for my taste). In the end, if one is a Bond fan and enjoys a quick read that is a bit of literary confection between volumes of Proust, this novel will give the reader exactly what they expect.