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Good News Bad News Paperback – 23 May 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (23 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340831642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340831649
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.6 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 671,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

A rollercoaster ride of a book which manages to be both a traditional spy story and a hip tale of friendship and trust... flair and originality. I loved it. (Peter Guttridge, Observer)

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS revitalizes the espionage novel and dishes up a breakneck plot, dizzying twists and two of the most memorable characters in recent suspense fiction. This book is a pure delight! (Jeffery Deaver, author of Garden of Beasts)

Sharp and funny... brilliant... exciting... A dazzling performance, full of surprises, and the only doubt it leaves is what will this most promising author ever do for an encore. (Chicago Tribune)

This exhilarating spy-vs-spy thriller begins with a bang... with its excruciating tension and cynical humor GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS pays a fitting postmodern tribute to le Carre. (Entertainment Weekly)

With echoes of Le Carre and Graham Greene - and a hipness all of its own - Good News, Bad News revitalizes the espionage novel and dishes up a breakneck plot, dizzying twists and two of the most memorable characters in recent suspense fiction. This book is a pure delight! (Jeffery Deaver, author of Garden of Beasts)

Wolstencroft is a nimble entertainer who knows his spycraft and deftly puts it to use in his diverting debut thriller. (New York Daily News)

Wolstencroft takes a spy novel convention - the wrongly accused agent on the run from his own agency - and gives it a clever twist in this quirky, literate book. (Publishers Weekly)

You get the feeling, almost from the first page of GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS, that you are reading something special. There are all sorts of influences here, from John le Carre to Monty Python to even John Woo... even if you hate espionage novels, Wolstencroft's style and wit will keep you interested and aboard this wild ride, and scanning the television listings for those episodes of "MI-5" that you missed. (Book Reporter)

A spellbinding read (Good Housekeeping)

A superb first novel that will keep you turning the pages (Herald Sun, Australia)

An exhuberant and satisfying debut (Guardian)

This debut novel is smart and inventive (Booklist)

Wolstencroft deftly deals in the unexpected. (Good Book Guide)

Sardonic and exceedingly funny ... alarmingly credible. (Literary Review)

'Good news: you won't put this down; bad news: you'll be screaming, "Tell me more!"... a rip-roaring journey on board the intelligence underground, leaving the reader scant opportunity to breathe... using a masterful and lucid style.' (Northampton Chronicle & Echo)

Book Description

The stunning debut novel from the creator of SPOOKS.

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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Sam Tyler on 2 Feb. 2006
Format: Paperback
Good news - this book is fast paced, exciting and gripping from the start.
Bad news - it’s too fast and becomes confused by its own twists and turns.
Two spies are pitted against one another only to realize they are not the enemies they think they are. Instead they must uncover the truth before it kills them
David Wolstencroft has the pedigree to write a good spy novel, he created the hit BBC drama Spooks. He takes this glossy look at the spy world and adapts it to what can only be described as airport fiction. Each chapter is around 5 pages long so the story moves at a vigorous pace. This in one way is a positive as you do not have the time to reflect on any inconsistencies.
However, this over fast nature is also its downfall. In particular the last part of the book hurtles along at much too fast a pace, twisting and turning like an Austrian Bobsleighed.
With a tighter reign on his imagination and more relaxed approach to storytelling this could have been excellent - instead it is just average.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter Smith on 10 Aug. 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a strange book, featuring strange people doing strange things for strange reasons.

It starts well, with the two reluctant spies (or whatever you want to call them) sitting in a photo booth at a London underground station doing pretty much nothing at all - exactly what they were supposed to be doing there is never explained. Then they each receive a coded message from their superiors telling them, essentially, to kill each other. They decide not to - good decision! - and immediately run for it because, clearly, if they haven't killed each other, then somebody else will be coming along to do the job.

So far so good. But then it all slows down as our heroes meander around East Anglia and the home counties evading assassins, meeting more strange people and doing odd things. The action gets even slower as they hop across the Channel to France and then over to Canada, and the ending, whilst ingenious, frankly makes no sense at all.

As a friend of mine used to say, this book is worth reading, but probably not worth buying to read.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jim on 5 Oct. 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book was penned by the writer of the BBC spy drama "Spooks" and sometimes it feels a little too much like a script. What redeems it is the cracking pace and the writer's wonderful sense of the absurd. This is a great positive when dealing with the plotline of human error and escalating consequences.
Additionally the author answers the espionage question, Who are the new enemies in the post cold war period?, without resorting to the terrorist or tired nuclear arsenal plotline. There is also not a mention of a code anywhere, something I find very gratifying in the current literary environment. There is instead, some very nice explanations of new and old tradecraft; interesting and entertaining.
A couple of small quibbles. I felt that the two central characters could have been fleshed out a little better. One of them felt like a caricature of Le Carre's Smiley. Additionally the final denouement felt a little too forced and revolved around a twist too far. At least for my liking.
The author's originality makes him a welcome addition to this genre.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By freedomrulesok on 3 July 2009
Format: Paperback
There's good news and, well, mixed news.

The good news; two guys working in a photolab in the underground. Doesn't sound like a spy novel, yet here is where we start and the pace gets going pretty quickly. The writing is quick and edgy, and even witty; 'Who says you're a doctor?' 'I'm not. I'm a hyperchondriac with internet access'! Great.

The mixed news; It's difficult to keep up this originality and verve, and whilst the last third of the book isn't bad, it doesn't quite match the beginning.

Reminded me of the Simon Kernick novels - just that Wolstencroft starts better.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By "dentonanne" on 4 May 2005
Format: Hardcover
'Good News, Bad News' by first-time novelist David Wolstencroft has been a revelation to me. I am not a regular 'spy' fiction reader, but this book has kept me spellbound throughout. Intelligently written, yet entirely accessible, this novel examines the relationship between two men who are thrown together by circumstances, and follows their thrilling defiance of the establishment. At turns comical, surprising, touching and exciting, the novel kept me totally gripped. I thoroughly recommend it to both regular 'spy' readers, as well as any other fans of great fiction.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "towser15" on 7 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a well written and engaging book, but perhaps only initially engaging. There is a tendency these days for crime/spy fiction to be stretched beyond its natural limit and I began to tire of the twists and turns of the plot about 100 pages before the end. Ed McBain and Elmore Leonard Show how a tightly drawn story can be set out in 250 pages or less and some younger (or living) authors should perhaps learn from these titans. Somewhere I have seen the term tragicomedy applied to this book but whilst this may apply to many people in real life, it is difficult to create in literature in a convincing way and I believe the author essentially fails.The author is primarily involved in television and perhaps therefore this explains the general air of tired cliche. It is difficult to believe the floor of a Eurostar carriage falling out and the track in France is of course electrified by overhead wire and not by live rail. Trivial detail, possibly. Lazy writing....I think so.
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