A relatively new publishing imprint can always use a few winners to achieve lift-off; new publishing kid on the block Blue Door must be rubbing their hands, as the auguries are very promising for Jon Stock’s highly impressive Dead Spy Running
. The book arrives emblazoned with raves from the likes of Lee Child and Robert Goddard – hinting to the reader that both action and storytelling will push all the requisite buttons.
Daniel Marchant is an inactive MI9 operative. Rather than languishing in torpor, he has decided to run the London Marathon. But the dangers of his ex-day job are not far away – one of the other competitors is lethally strapped with explosives, and if he reduces his pace, all around him will die bloodily. Marchant does his best to avert the slaughter, but there are those who think that he is compromised in his professional life. The CIA ensured that Marchant’s father was removed from his position as head of MI6, and they are convinced that the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. Marchant finds himself treated like a suspected terrorist (extraordinary rendition, waterboarding), and things look very black for him. But there are people who are not against him: Marchant’s colleague (and inamorata) Leila. And, more importantly, new Intelligence chief Sir Marcus Fielding, who is suspicious of America’s apparently unshakeable grip over UK foreign policy.
The opening premise (don’t drop below a certain pace or risk detonation) may be borrowed from the movie Speed, but that’s the only element here that doesn’t come up as fresh as paint; Jon Stock has taken the accoutrements of the espionage thriller and given them a bracing wash and rinse. The real achieve, however, is to marry the kinetic energy of the Jason Bourne franchise (that’s the films, rather than Ludlum’s books) with the political sophistication and dyspeptic view of international relations of John le Carré and Gerald Seymour. The publisher Blue Door has a potential bestseller in Dead Spy Running. --Barry Forshaw
"Dead Spy Running is a rip-roaring race of a read that never lets up until the finishing tape – and a bit beyond." Robert Goddard
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"As elegant as le Carre and as cynical as the twenty-first century … exactly what we need from a spy novel now." Lee Child
"A Jason Bourne sweat-fest with George Smiley's brain" – Daily Telegraph
"An elegant, unstoppable front runner of a spy thriller" – The Observer
"Picks up more or less where Le Carré left off" – The Guardian
"A compelling thriller" – Sunday Times
“Its deliciously John Buchan-like hero could be chasing the 39 steps” – Daily Mail
"As strong as Bourne, as clever as Bond, but with a voice set for Generation Next, Jon Stock has done the impossible in Daniel Marchant and created THE new spy.” Stephen Gaghan
“A turbocharged thriller.” Booklist
“A masterfully orchestrated page-turner.” Kirkus Reviews
“Stock fuses the cerebral complexity and cool prose of early le Carré with a tough, smart hero modeled on Jason Bourne in this excellent spy thriller.” Publisher’s Weekly