Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Review of "Spycatcher" [51]

Spycatcher by Matthew Dunn
William Morrow, ISBN 978-0062037671
August 9, 2011, 432 pages

It comes to the attention of MI5 and the CIA that the new Evil Empire, Iran, is planning a massive attack on either England or the USA. The Iranian agent in charge must be found and the plot stopped, or thousands will die. To find him, the two governments turn to Will Cochrane, code name Spartan. He is the only person who has ever successfully completed a super secret training mission to earn this title and, along with a small number of US special forces men, heads off to cities throughout Europe and the US chasing, down the monster who would set off this terrible act and, he hopes, set off a world war.

OK, I did not like this book for so many reasons.
They fooled me. I read the description that said that because this was written by an actual former MI5 agent, that this book would portray a realistic view of spy work. Well, in that the whole middle of the book was boring and repetitious, that may be true. Get on a plane...fly to another city...chase a bunch of bad guys, kill bad guys...off to another city..
Oh, but that brings up another issue. In everyone of these incidents, Will seems to get injured. There are the three bullets to his stomach that opens the book, then the gunshot to his shoulder in another fights and the knife sized shards of glass in his legs. I could go on. But not to worry! Those three shots. One day in a secret medical facility and Will is good enough to get on a plane and start his new mission. True, he did feel a bit sick..after three bullets to his stomach! That bullet to the shoulder, which at first renders his arm useless...a soldier takes it out, after it bounces off his bone...and he is right as rain. Shards of glass in your legs. No problem, never mentioned again. It seems he has extraordinary healing powers...OK...

Except for a handful of lead characters, everyone is about as deep as a one line description, as thin as cardboard. The dialogue is wooden and unrealistic. Will's talks with his CIA handler are so unrealistic, so flowery, that they belong in a bad romance moves..and I mean bad. I can see the guy reading this, because I assume the target audience for a spy thriller like this is largely men, throwing the book across the room at this point.
Sadly, I could go on. Bad plot, bad dialogue, unrealistic or cardboard characters.
At best, if I had to describe this book in one word, it would be amateurish . 

I finished the book, sort of. Big skimming, because I was a bit curious how it would end. I should not have bothered.
Usually, I would not have reviewed the book because of that.
Then why am I this time?
Well, I see this book getting a lot of publicity, a lot of ad space. I have seem written, in a few places, that the publisher sees this as the first in a series starring Will Cochrane. If so, you might foresee that I will not be reading those. But you, my dear reader may see it out there, with the push it is getting and may be tempted to buy it with your hard earned money. I must suggest that you do not.
Ignore the blurb on the cover from Lee Child, an author I respect and enjoy, that calls this "one of the year's best thriller debuts". And ignore the author's interview on Amazon by Jeffrey Deaver.
Really guys..really..did you read the same book? I really have to wonder. I must say, I am not trusting your opinion anymore.
Note to self. Ignore blurbs.

This copy was provided by the publisher for review.


  1. Thank heavens I don't have to add another book to my wish list! Sorry this didn't work for you.

  2. you lose some...you win a lot more.

  3. I never trust blurbs - - -I think they work on a you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours type of deal. I've got this one on the TBR shelf - actually thought TBG would like it. Oh, oh, maybe not.

    Why do authors put their characters through so much and expect readers to believe it? Three bullets to the stomach . . the guy should have been laid up for quite a while. Sheeeesh!!


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