Free Agent, by Jeremy Duns (13 July — 16 July)

I think I just might not be cut out for spy novels. I tried several of them years ago and didn’t even finish; this one I did finish but I’m still not sure what to make of it. I think my biggest problem is that everything is just so convenient. Every time our hero is in deep trouble that he can’t talk his way out of, there’s a random person come to convince his captor to release him!

But the premise is good, and if you like spy novels you should check this one out. Our “hero” is Paul Dark (yes, really), a British Secret Service agent who, twenty years ago, may possibly have become a double agent for Russia. No big deal, except now there’s a Russian defector offering up a double agent turned twenty years ago in exchange for asylum or whatever. Oops! Paul is understandably panicked, because who wants to be caught as a double agent after twenty years, and he trucks off to Africa, where the Russian is, to do something about this situation. Of course, his fellow Secret Service types also know about this Russian, and know that Paul has gone off to find him, and so Paul has to also deflect their suspicion all the while. Throw in an attractive woman and a plot to kill the British PM, and you’ve got the idea.

Rating: 5/10
(Countdown Challenge: 2009)

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