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Archive for the ‘Espionage’ Category

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** My thanks to Abby at Knopf Publicity for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

In this gripping new work of suspense from the author of The Double Game, a young woman discovers a nefarious truth at the heart of the CIA’s operations in postwar Berlin and goes on the run for her life; years later she’s gruesomely murdered along with her husband, and her daughter begins to chase down these startling secrets from her past.

West Berlin, 1979. Helen Abell oversees the CIA’s network of safe houses, rare havens for field agents and case officers amidst the dangerous milieu of a city in the grips of the Cold War. Helen’s world is upended when, during her routine inspection of an agency property, she overhears a meeting between two people unfamiliar to her speaking a coded language that hints at shadowy realities far beyond her comprehension. Before the day is out, she witnesses a second unauthorized encounter, one that will place her in the sight lines of the most ruthless and powerful man at the agency. Her attempts to expose the dark truths about what she has witnessed will bring about repercussions that reach across decades and continents into the present day, when, in a farm town in Maryland, a young man is arrested for the double murder of his parents, and his sister takes it upon herself to find out why he did it.

My Thoughts & Review:

I love a book with a setting in the Cold War, I find it fascinating and something about the espionage and trickery that’s woven into stories set around this time are irresistible, so when I saw the description of this book I knew that I had to read it.

Upon starting this book I immediately took to Helen Abell, a young woman working in a male dominated field with the CIA in Germany.  The difficulties that she faced making her more determined and strong-willed to succeed and prove her worth.  Her superior, unhappy with having a female working in that position makes it all too clear to her repeatedly, belittling her and commenting negatively on anything she does.
Part of Helen’s role with the CIA is keeper of four safe houses which are used by their agents for various clandestine meetings, and in the course of her work she happens to overhear a conversation that sets in motion a chain of events that change her life.  Not realising the importance of what she has heard, and recorded in the safe house, Helen takes it upon herself to investigate.  But if this wasn’t enough, she later overhears something that shocks her to her very core and leaves her strongly in the sights of a very dangerous man.

Running parallel to this is another strand to the plot, the timeline this time being 2014 and featuring Anna who enlists the help of a neighbour of her parents to help her get to the bottom recent events, namely the death of her parents at the hand of her brother.    Unfortunately for Anna it seems that there is more to Henry than meets the eye, having spent time working with various departments of the acronymically named services of America.  The lessons of the past having far reaching ramifications for Anna and Henry as they try to untangle the clues to piece together the truth.

I did find the 1979 storyline the more intriguing one, but I think that’s more a personal thing than anything to do with the book.  Certainly, the action between the two timelines was wonderfully offset and where one would reach a crescendo the other would compliment it perfectly by being rife with intrigue and mystery.

Some of the characters are immediately unlikable, their actions are incredibly questionable and make the reader squirm with discomfort, but on the other hand there are characters like Helen and Anna who you cannot help but feel for.  But on the whole, they are all very well created and multidimensional, the various personalities coming to life through the great writing.
The plotting is tight and keeps readers hooked to find out what will happen next, the dialogue feels realistic and this makes for a gripping read.

A highly recommended espionage thriller!

You can buy a copy of Safe Houses via:

Amazon UK
Waterstones
Amazon.com
Book Depository

Safe-Houses-blog-tour-NEW

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BlackHornet FINAL

Published 12 June 2017

 

Description:

The Black Hornet: an action packed and utterly gripping thriller from the best-selling James Ryker series

What do you do when the love of your life vanishes without a trace? If you’re ex-intelligence agent James Ryker you search for the answers whatever the cost, however much blood and sacrifice it takes…

Six months ago Lisa was taken from Ryker, and he’ll stop at nothing to find out who is responsible and why. Following a trail to Mexico, the ex-Joint Intelligence Agency asset soon finds himself in the firing line of enemies he long thought he’d left behind. Set-up for the murder of a former informant, Ryker is thrown into a crumbling jail run by The Black Hornet, the notorious leader of a Mexican drug cartel. But what connects the cartel to the informant’s murder, and to Lisa’s disappearance? And just who is the mystery American claiming he can help Ryker in his hour of need?

The Black Hornet is the second book in the bestselling James Ryker series. Part Bourne, part Reacher, it’s an explosive and action-packed thriller to rival any other.

My Thoughts & Review:

When I heard that Rob Sinclair’s follow up to “The Red Cobra” was coming out I was ecstatic, I absolutely loved this book and was keen to find out what happened next with Ryker.  It’s only fair to mention now that if you’ve not read “The Red Cobra” I would recommend heading over to Amazon and buying a copy so that you can get background on Ryker but also for the fact that “The Black Hornet” picks up where the first book left off.

Ryker heads to Mexico in search of information that will lead him to his missing wife Lisa, but things don’t go to plan and soon ends up in jail with some colourful members of the local cartels, a very precarious position for our protagonist to be in.  Some of the prison scenes make for difficult reading, and there were moments I wanted to hide behind my hands but all credit to Rob Sinclair, he really knows how to write these scenes for maximum impact and make his readers wince.  I really don’t want to say too much about the plot through fear of letting anything slip.
And as with the first book in the series, this is an action packed read with fights, chases and all the necessary ingredients to make a spectacular thriller.  The plotting of this is excellent, so taut and peppered with clever subtleties that readers will curse themselves for missing when all is revealed – yes I admit I missed some of those as I was so caught up in the moment reading I almost forgot I was supposed to be reviewing the book!

This was the second book I’ve read from this author, and it’s safe to say that Rob Sinclair has secured his place on my bookshelf next to my Lee Child collection.  My fascination with James Ryker continues to develop and I find myself wondering if he will ever be free of the JIA and live the quiet life he covets.  This book also left me struggling to make my mind up about other characters, Sinclair managing to keep me questioning their trustworthiness and their motives throughout.

A fantastic instalment in a promising series, and I cannot wait for the next one!

You can buy a copy of “The Black Hornet” via Amazon here

 

My thanks to Rob Sinclair and Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to read this and take part in the blog tour.

About the Author:

Rob is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Enemy series of espionage thrillers featuring embattled agent Carl Logan. Together the explosive series (comprising Dance with the Enemy, Rise of the Enemy and Hunt for the Enemy) has now sold more than 150,000 copies worldwide. His work has been praised for its relentless pace, multiple twists and breathtaking action.

Although Rob has more Logan books in the pipeline, his upcoming release with Bloodhound Books marks a slight change in direction, moving away from pure action thrills to psychological suspense (albeit still with a healthy dose of action!).

Rob began writing in 2009 following a promise to his wife, an avid reader, that he could pen a ‘can’t put down’ thriller. He worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. Rob now writes full time.

Rob’s website is www.robsinclairauthor.com and he can be followed on twitter at @RSinclairAuthor

Why not follow the blog tour and head over to Liz Loves Books

Blog Tour (11)

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Published: 4 April 2017

 

Description:

Carl Logan dedicated nearly twenty years of his life to the Joint Intelligence Agency. Now living in a secret location, under the new identify of James Ryker, he wants nothing more than to be left alone, the chance to start a new life away from chaos, violence, destruction and deceit.

It’s not long, however, before Ryker’s short-lived idyll is destroyed when he is tracked down by Peter Winter, his ex-boss at the JIA. Winter brings with him news of the murder of a woman in Spain, Kim Walker, whose fingerprints match those of one of Ryker’s former adversaries who’s been missing presumed dead for years – an infamous female assassin known as the Red Cobra.

A cyberattack at the JIA led to the Red Cobra’s profile being compromised, and Winter believes JIA agents may now be at risk too, Ryker included. But Ryker knew the elusive Red Cobra better than anyone, and when he sees the grisly pictures of Kim Walker’s corpse, he has news for Winter – she isn’t the assassin at all …

So just who is the mystery dead woman? And where is the real Red Cobra?

The Red Cobra is a fast-paced thriller filled with twists and turns and intrigue that will appeal to readers of big-hitting thrillers by the likes of Lee Child and David Baldacci, and with echoes in its plotting and breadth of the globe-trotting spy thriller I Am Pilgrim.

My Thoughts & Review:

“Red Cobra” is the first book by Rob Sinclair that I have read, but I can happily say that it won’t be the last!  This is actually the first in the follow on from the Enemy series that features Carl Logan.  ‘Carl Logan’ is assumed dead, and James Ryker has risen from the ashes like the proverbial phoenix.  Ryker believing he can cut ties to his old life begins again, but is soon tracked down by his former boss and is once again embroiled in the world of secret agents.  His mission, to kill The Red Cobra.

I absolutely love spy and action thrillers, and this book deserves it’s place next to my Lee Child collection.  This was a brilliantly fast paced read, and one I raced through.
The plotting was excellent, the characters were brought to life by the fantastic writing.  Having not read any of the previous books to feature James Ryker (Carl Logan), I was pleasantly surprised how quickly I trusted this character and liked him.  The Red Cobra, well there’s a character that has depth and a backstory.  Her name was enough to cause our protagonist concern when he initially heard it, and rightly so.  She is strong and confident, the sort of female character that audiences are screaming out for.

Skilled writing allows readers to form clear images in their minds of both settings and characters and at times I felt that this played out more like a film in my head as opposed to reading a book – perhaps this book would lend itself well to being on the big screen?

Whilst there is quite a bit of violence in this, I felt that it was well written and remained integral to the storyline without becoming gratuitous.

A brilliant start to a thrilling new series that I will be following eagerly!

You can buy a copy of “The Red Cobra” via Amazon here

My thanks to Bloodhound Books and Rob Sinclair for the opportunity to read this book.

About the Author:

Rob is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Enemy series of espionage thrillers featuring embattled agent Carl Logan. Together the explosive series (comprising Dance with the Enemy, Rise of the Enemy and Hunt for the Enemy) has now sold more than 150,000 copies worldwide. His work has been praised for its relentless pace, multiple twists and breathtaking action.

Although Rob has more Logan books in the pipeline, his upcoming release with Bloodhound Books marks a slight change in direction, moving away from pure action thrills to psychological suspense (albeit still with a healthy dose of action!). 

Rob began writing in 2009 following a promise to his wife, an avid reader, that he could pen a ‘can’t put down’ thriller. He worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. Rob now writes full time.

Rob’s website is www.robsinclairauthor.com and he can be followed on twitter at @RSinclairAuthor

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The Other Side of Silence

Author: Philip Kerr
Published: 29 March 2016
Reviewed: 13 April 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24


Copy supplied by Quercus in return for an honest review

3.5 out of 5 Stars

 



Description: 


Blackmail, espionage and a mass murderer from his past await Bernie Gunther at the French Riviera.
The French Riviera, 1956. A world-weary Bernie Gunther is working under a false name as a hotel concierge. His attempts to keep his nose clean go horribly awry when a wartime acquaintance sucks him into a blackmail plot involving one of the most famous British writers of the 20th century and the Cambridge Spies.


Bernie is missing his old detective life when his past walks through the door in the shape of Harold Hennig, a former captain in the Nazi security service – the man who, in 1945, was responsible for the deaths of thousands, among them a woman Bernie loved. Hennig now enjoys a lucrative career as a blackmailer. 


Hennig’s target on the Cote d’Azur is a famous resident with a dark past and plenty to hide – the writer, Somerset Maugham. A shared love of bridge draws Bernie to Maugham’s magnificent villa, where Maugham tells him of the existence of a very compromising photograph. Taken in 1937, it shows Maugham among a group of naked men beside a swimming pool – one of whom is the infamous spy and homosexual, Guy Burgess, who, with Donald Maclean, has recently defected to Moscow. Hennig has the photograph and is demanding $50,000 for its release. 


Bernie is reluctant to become Maugham’s agent but his former life has made him as vulnerable to blackmail as Maugham himself. Not only that – he has a massive score to settle with Hennig.

You can buy a copy of The Other Side of Silence here.

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The Fall of Moscow Station

Author: Mark Henshaw
Published: 2 February 2016
Reviewed: 30 March 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24


Copy supplied by Touchstone in return for an honest review

4 out of 5 Stars

 



Description: 

Decorated CIA analyst Mark Henshaw continues the Red Cell series with an “authentic, compelling, and revealing” (Jason Matthews) thriller following CIA analyst Jonathan Burke and agent Kyra Stryker, as they try to save the CIA’s sources in Russia after a major intelligence breach leaves Moscow Station in ruins.


When a body with Russian military tattoos is found floating in a lake outside Berlin, the CIA immediately takes notice. The body is identified as the director of Russia’s Foundation for Advanced Nuclear Research, who is also a CIA asset. And the murder coincides with the defection of one of the CIA’s upper-level officers. 


Alden Maines, is jaded after years in the CIA cleaning up the messes of incompetent political appointees in dangerous foreign posts. When he is passed over for promotion, Maines crosses the Rubicon and decides to cash in as a double agent for Russia.


But while Maines dreams of off-shore bank accounts and a new secret life, Arkady Lavrov of Russia’s intelligence service (GRU) has other plans. He immediately announces Maines’s defection to the world and then pumps him for every last ounce of intel, including the names of every agent in the CIA’s Moscow Station and their assets working in the Kremlin. But why would Lavrov burn an asset whose intel and access could pay dividends for years to come? What is Lavrov up to?


Traveling from Langley, to Berlin, and finally Moscow—working black without backup—analyst Jonathan Burke and agent Kyra Stryker are up against their most formidable enemy yet, and their lives and the fate of America’s most important assets in the New Cold War hang in the balance.

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