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by Matthew Dunn
William Morrow, August 2011
432 pages
ISBN: 0062037676

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

There are few authors that can better inhabit the mind of a literary spy than an actual agent. In this case, author Matthew Dunn, a former British secret intelligence (MI6) officer, is doing the writing. He has crafted a heart-racing journey for his readers that, not surprisingly, rings true. It begins with a stunning event that occurs in New York's Central Park that will immediately draw readers into the world of Will Cochrane, a "Spartan" or super spy who is working for both MI6 and the CIA.

The event in Central Park and those that follow have Cochrane on the trail of an Iranian agent known only by the name Megiddo, who was also responsible for the death of Cochrane's father. Because that event happened so long ago, Cochrane knows more about his father's legend

than the man himself, but it's the classic desire to avenge his father's death and prevent further terrorist action by Iran, and in particular by Megiddo.

To follow the Iranian's trail is not as easy as other spy novels might have it. Instead, the MI6 agent must first coerce an old girlfriend of Megiddo to assist him against her old flame, a task that she initially wants no part of. Once coerced and working together, Cochrane must question whether she can indeed be trusted. As the trail races across Europe and the US, readers will find exactly the sort of spy story they desire.

There are daring feats, plenty of spy action, and reversals of fortune, all united to form a very adventurous tale. There are moments of Cochrane left to work on his own, but his nemesis, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard leader, is very much up to the tactics of Cochrane. They are comparably able foes, each with sufficient resources to challenge the other, and that makes for some great reading in SPYCATCHER.

If one need point out any flaws, it is that the European scenes are stronger than the ones set in the US, particularly near the novel's end. Yet this is a minor point in an otherwise hugely enjoyable book.

Overall, the experience that author Dunn brings to the literary table more than overshadows any beginner's shortcomings. His successful history as an MI6 agent more than shines through for him here.

Christine Zibas is a freelance writer and former director of publications for a Chicago nonprofit.

Reviewed by Christine Zibas, September 2011

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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