Thursday, April 5, 2012

THE BLIND SPY - Alex Dryden

My review of THE BLIND SPY appeared last week in Shelf Awareness for Readers. I am reprinting it here with their permission. If you would like to sign up to receive Shelf Awareness, there is a widget in my sidebar where you can sign up by entering your email. Also, my first ever interview in Shelf Awareness appeared this week. It is with a debut author for a non-crime fiction novel, so I'll just provide the link if you'd like to check it out. My subject was Grace McClean and her debut novel is pretty spectacular...it's called THE LAND OF DECORATION.

And now, on to THE BLIND SPY!

First line: "Lieutenant Valentin Viktorov walked carefully and with evident hesitation through the labyrinth of Aleppo's covered souk."

Russia’s leadership, aided by the elite KGB unit Department S, is bent on pulling Ukraine back into the Russian empire. As their intelligence forces put plans into action that will undermine the stability of Ukraine, the private American intelligence company Cougar is watching. Unlike the American government, Cougar doesn’t believe Russia will back off now that their presidential choice has taken the election in Ukraine. Cougar remains vigilant in its efforts to deflect Russian plans.

Cougar’s secret weapon is Russia’s nightmare; Anna Resnikov is a former KGB agent who defected and now uses her knowledge and skills against them. Wanted by the Russian government, she continues to fight the evils of Russia’s dark underside. So, when a face from her past emerges, is she seeing a friend or a foe?

The Blind Spy is Alex Dryden’s third novel featuring Anna Resnikov, but it astutely works as its own narrative; readers can easily pick up The Blind Spy whether they’ve read Dryden previously or not.

Dryden’s protagonist is a refreshing addition to the traditionally male-dominated role of spy. She’s believably crafted, maintaining her femininity without emphasizing her physical appearance and simultaneously exhibiting strength and intelligence.

Readers will likely notice the 400-page length as the plot moves slower than the average thriller and the book’s title character doesn’t truly come into play until well into the second half of the book. However, Dryden more than makes up for the slower pace with his rich, distinct characters and timely subject matter. The time invested in reading The Blind Spy is definitely time well spent.

[Not appearing in Shelf Awareness: this book is not comical at all, however, I did chuckle at the dedication: "To Mia, I love you anyway"]

THE BLIND SPY is available in hardcover (ISBN: 9780062088086) from Ecco Press. 

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