I’ve also been wrapping up work on my 3rd Young Bond (out this autumn) while planning the story for my 4th. So my thoughts are very action-packed and James-flavoured at the moment.


Part of the fun with these books is that I can sneak in jokes and references to the wider Bond universe for die-hard Bond fans to pick up on. Heads You Die has a few… I wonder if you spotted those I squeezed into my first Young Bond, SHOOT TO KILL?

  1. The prologue is called ‘You Asked For It’ – the title given to the first US edition of Ian Fleming’s Bond debut, Casino Royale.
  2. Chapter One is called ‘Do As You’re Told’ – the last line of ‘Dr No’, Fleming’s 6th Bond novel (as Shoot to Kill was the 6th Young Bond novel).
  3. Sloman has written a movie screenplay about the Ama divers of Kuro Island, off Japan – the adult Bond will eventually meet one of those divers, former Hollywood star Kissy Suzuki, in You Only Live Twice.
  4. James is heard to declare, ‘I can think of few things worse than becoming a film star’!
  5. At the Hollywood Plaza’s Blue Plate Café, young James observes Sloman ordering a martini and decides he could get ‘a taste for cocktails’.
  6. When James is touring the Allworld Academy, he hears musicians scoring a movie theme – ‘distinctive and jazzy with a mid-tempo beat, brasses and strings and needling steel guitars’ – and feels ‘a sense of anticipation and danger in its ominous swagger… as if the musicians were scoring his mood.’ He is of course, hearing the James Bond theme!
  7. James pretends to be the son of Hoagy Carmichael, the real-life singer Ian Fleming cited as a dead ringer for his vision of James Bond.
  8. Kostler views footage of the young Jack Strap beating up a victim – after joining the gangsters hunting James and his friend in Shoot to Kill, Strap will later work with the Spangled Mob (the gang from Fleming’s Diamonds Are Forever) and Auric Goldfinger.

There may be others – let me know if I’ve forgotten any!