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Dead Spy Running Hardcover – 25 Jun 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Blue Door; 1st Edition edition (25 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007300697
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007300693
  • Product Dimensions: 16.6 x 3.1 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 930,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jon Stock is the author of five spy novels and currently works at the Daily Telegraph at Executive Head of Living and Weekend. He lives in Wiltshire with his wife and three children. The paperback of his latest novel, Dirty Little Secret, was published in July 2013.

After reading English at Cambridge University, he worked as a freelance journalist in London, writing features for most of Britain's national newspapers, as well as contributing regularly to BBC Radio 4. He was also chosen for Carlton TV's acclaimed scriptwriters course. Between 1998 and 2000, he was Delhi correspondent for the Daily Telegraph. On his return to Britain, he worked on various Saturday sections of the paper before taking up a staff job as editor of the flagship Weekend section in 2005. He left Weekend and the Telegraph in 2010 to finish writing his Daniel Marchant trilogy and returned to the staff of the Telegraph in May 2014. He wrote the Last Word column in The Week Magazine (India) from 1995, when he lived in Cochin, South India, to 2012, and is currently working on a standalone psychological thriller as well as another Daniel Marchant novel.

His first novel, 'The Riot Act', published by Serpent's Tail, was launched on the 50th floor of Canary Wharf tower. The book was shortlisted by the Crime Writers' Association for its best first novel award and was subsequently published by Gallimard in France as part of its acclaimed Serie Noir. The 'Cardamom Club' was published by Blackamber (now Arcadia Books) in Britain and by Penguin in India. It was also published by Gallimard in France.

'Dead Spy Running', his third novel and the first in the 'Legoland' trilogy, was published by HarperCollins in 2009 and has been translated into five languages. It features Daniel Marchant, a young MI6 officer. The sequel, 'Games Traitors Play', was published in 2011, and the final part of the trilogy, Dirty Little Secret, was published in 2012.

Warner Brothers bought the film rights to the trilogy in 2009, hiring Oscar-winner Stephen Gaghan (Traffic, Syriana) to write the screenplay for 'Dead Spy Running', which went into development with McG (Terminator IV) and Kevin McCormick (Gangster Squad) producing. Jamie Moss worked on Gaghan's script, followed by Simon Barrett, with Adam Wingard attached to direct. (Barrett and Wingard worked together on V/H/S and its sequel, S-V/H/S. They also wrote and directed "You're Next", released by Lionsgate in August 2013.)

In 2014, the film rights were bought by Wonderland Sound and Vision, McG's own production company.

Product Description

Amazon Review

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
"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

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Andy Edwards VINE VOICE on 18 Jun. 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
No wonder this has been sold for a film before it's even published, you can almost see this on the screen as you read. From the outset, we're into a series of action set-pieces, no doubt to make the tale as close to a film script as possible. Nothing and no-one is who they seem to be, everyone has a hidden agenda and the plot twists and turns to the point where you just might have to re-read a few pages to see if you've kept up.

If you're familiar with spy thrillers, the usual cast of characters is here; the hero is a misunderstood maverick, being chased by just about everyone, and he is surrounded by spy stereotypes, the femme fatale, the ruthless, ambitious bosses and the competing agencies. As for the plot, it's just about believable, although there are a couple of creaky moments, which require suspension of disbelief.

As literature, it's nothing great, as a page turning thriller, it's up there with the best. Take this for the Beach this summer and you'll probably get through it in a couple of sessions, recommended for lovers of spy novels, thrillers and marathons
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross TOP 500 REVIEWER on 25 Sept. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Ten years ago, I read and loved Jon Stock's debut thriller The Riot Act -- about a young counter-cultural class warrior forced to go undercover. It was lean, taut, and had a corker of an ending. Four years ago, I was rather less taken with his followup, The Cardamom Club, which had problems of pacing, over-elaborate plotting, and somewhat sappy romantic content. Now comes his third book (the first of a projected trilogy), which bears all the hallmarks of the blockbuster international spy thriller.

The story kicks off at the London Marathon, where suspended MI6 agent Daniel Marchant happens to be running with his girlfriend, a fellow MI6 agent. Exciting events transpire, and soon thereafter he finds himself in the custody of his own people, and eventually the CIA. It seems his father, who had been head of MI6, was forcibly retired under suspicious circumstances, and now the son is under suspicion as well. More heartpounding events transpire and Daniel soon finds himself on the run from MI5, MI6, and CIA, all while a plot may be unfolding to kill President Obama (the unnamed "new guy") as he visits India.

The pacing problems of Stock's second book are gone, as the story switches back and forth in short bursts between Daniel's attempt to stay alive, flashbacks to his training and relationship with his girlfriend, and the heads of various intelligence agencies snarling at each other in plush offices. While this back and forth construction works for pacing purposes, it also means that the story becomes somewhat fractured between these two fronts, as neither Daniel nor the bureaucrats take center stage. Thankfully, toward the end, these two story lines begin to converge and everything gets a little more fluid and more exciting.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By H. D. Sharples on 26 Sept. 2009
Format: Hardcover
PR from Jon Stock and his publishers would suggest that, from the outset, Jon set himself the challenging task of writing a book whose pace and intrigue would combine to deliver an irresistible page-turner.
I must confess to being somewhat non-plussed by statements invoking these lofty aims ... after all, who among us would not want to deliver such a book - especially given the popularity of the spy genre ... Bond and Bourne are both delivering compelling non-stop plot-development on the wide screen (and rightly enjoying the success they richly deserve for having done so) ... it stands to reason that anyone would be delighted to get anywhere near that heady mixture in book form.
To my delight and surprise, Jon Stock delivers in spades.
I found this a thoroughly enjoyable, racy, and satisfyingly credible book.
I'd recommend the book to anyone looking for an un-put-downable spy-genre page-turner.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By G. J. Oxley on 14 Oct. 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A fast-paced opening chapter that literally hits the ground running, immediately draws you into this book, and although the author doesn't always keep up the momentum, it still manages to retain the interest throughout, with some genuinely exciting moments.

The plot is not the most original around, but as thrillers go this is a very nice read and touches on topical issues - i.e. suicide bombers, the war on terror, Al Qu'aeda, extraordinary rendition. The fact that a major film studio (Warner Bros) has bought it (apparently it's in post production) indicates its cinematic potential.

Whenever a writer ventures into spy novels (Mr Stock has two previous books to his name), lazy people always make comparisons with the big guns: Le Carré (of course) and Ludlum (usually Jason Bourne). Suffice to say, whatever anyone else may opine, this is not a bit like either author in terms of style. Which is no bad thing; any good novelist needs to develop his own voice and not be a slave to the masters of the genre.

His central character Daniel Marchant is young, educated, bright, good-looking, but initially suspended from his role with MI6. However, this is the first book in a trilogy, so you can gather that he does redeem himself in the eyes of those that matter. Take the trilogy bit with a pinch of salt also; if this is successful or the author comes up with additional good plot ideas then you can guarantee there'll be more - Isaac Asimov's 'Foundation' trilogy and Douglas Adams' 'Hitchhiker's' trilogy - both of which consisted of five novels by the original author - being cases in point.

I shall be keeping an eye on Mr Stock as he's demonstrated great storytelling skills in this enjoyable, often riveting, spy thriller.
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