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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2014
If you want action more akin to James Bond in a book this is the book for you.I'm sorry but the book is not a spy story in the true sense ,more so just one unbelievable confrontation after another ascaping death by the fingertips.I'm halfway through it and now will delete. Fortunately I didn't waste cash buying it as it was free.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2014
Have recently finished this book, but had to review my history before I could remember the title! This means the book is almost instantly forgettable. As for the story itself it is reasonable enough with twists and turns along the way to keep up ones interest. Other reviewers have alluded to the main characters superhuman abilities. This was a constant source of annoyance; as every time one of these incidents occurred I found myself having to reread half a page at least, as I had read the previous section without taking anything in from thinking about the absurdity of the incident.
Another thing which I found seriously annoying is the deliberate use of an incorrect adjective; there are many examples of these throughout the book, but the one which annoyed me the most was the use of the word splashed when the correct adjective would have been scattered. Splashed is used in connection with a liquid, broken glass is a solid! This may sound a bit picky, but I do like to read proper English.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 May 2012
Croatia: our hero, John Purkiss, has been detained by the police just as he was supposed to be meeting with the bad guy. They release him but by now he is late and his accomplice has left voice messages letting him know that he was going in alone. To make things worse he learns that his nemesis, Fallon, who murdered his fiancee in front of him, is no longer in prison.

Estonia: Fallon was seen in Tallinn and Purkiss is off to find him. A shadowy, undefined character referred to as the Jacobin knows he is coming and starts a series of events to stop him. Purkiss meets a group of British agents who are following some leads related to an upcoming event in Tallinn involving the Presidents of Estonia and Russia. They join forces and agree to share anything they learn.

Purkiss is no Teflon-coated super agent; sometimes he puts himself in the wrong place and suffers the consequences. Sometimes those consequences affect others around him. But he does seem realistic, as do all the other characters. Dialog is good and never seems forced. The characters themselves are well formed, but their voices are not always as distinct, making it difficult on occasion to know who is speaking when it is not defined.

The action scenes flow well and the underlying story is infectious, always pulling you along. These scenes are the best part of the book, high points which are well paced.

The formatting was an area of weakness: all the text was left-aligned, scene-change indicators were not always present, speech was sometimes difficult to assign to the players.

This book is not one I would take to the beach for an easy read as you may have to work to keep the story and characters aligned in your head, but I do believe it is worth the effort.

If I had a 3.6 rating, I would probably go with that, but I don't so a four it is.

Enjoy it, but be prepared to do some work.

(I read the Kindle edition, provided by the author for review.)

UPDATE 22 May 2012
The author has let me know that the book has been re-formatted.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 10 February 2014
Very plodding and slow for first few chapters gradually picked up towards the fairly lame end
Not a classic tale
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 3 December 2013
If you like Andy McNabb then you would probably like this, however Stevens has over emphasised the drama making the superhero so unbelievable that the story loses any credibility, le carre or deighton do not feel the need to fill every page with sensationalism therefore I would not recommend to buy, luckily it was free, but still feel cheated of my time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 9 February 2014
I didn't take to the book, I think its just down to personal touch nothing to say others won't like it
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 17 September 2012
This is a highly literate, well-written, multi-layered spy story with a large cast of characters. On the surface, at least, it has a simple plot: British intelligence assigns a spy named Purkiss to pursue a turncoat spy named Fallon who also happens to have murdered Purkiss' love interest. Through various twists and turns and action scenes, Purkiss tracks Fallon to a location involving heads of state. Guess what happens next. On second thought, don't try.

I concur with many of the comments made by other reviewers on the book's high points. It is fast-paced and filled with action scenes. The author's technical knowledge of human anatomy probably adds a degree of realism. The dialogue is excellent--tight and well-edited, without a wasted word. The main character, Purkiss, is well developed and believable, no James Bond quasi-superhero. The descriptions are right on. Stevens has a genuine talent for the simile; not a dud in the book.

I do have a few qualms. Ratcatcher is not an easy read. You have to pay attention and, if you have a memory like mine, take notes to keep track of the characters, locations, and various relationships. Characters may appear without introduction or description, act, have thoughts, and enter the story without context. It is only after reading further that a reader is able (or unable) to make sense of them and how they fit into the story. Likewise, chapters often begin with a line of dialogue, without attribution, and it is only later that one finds out who said what. Perhaps all this is intentional. Ratcatcher is a spy story and spy business is often a mystery. Some folks like puzzles.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 24 May 2012
This is a commendably concise and well-constructed thriller. It has a complicated plot which unfolds at a terrific pace and twists very interestingly in places, but the verve and clarity of the author's style ensure that it never becomes confusing or incoherent. There are many resemblances (stylistic tics, so forth) to Adam Hall's Quiller novels, to which I was introduced by someone or other some time back; and although Ratcatcher successfully avoids the modern-day incubus of homage, many of Hall's own virtues are on display here: the superbly choreographed fight scenes, the arduously imaginative methods of concealment and the useful professional tricks (the medical treatment with a ball-point pen would earn an appreciative nod from Quiller). Ratcatcher has its inevitable genre tropes - the betrayed hero, the expendable sidekick, the ex-Soviet religious fanatic - but they are used the way genre tropes ought to be used, as devices for getting the job done rather than as props for sloppy work. Ratcatcher is well worth your time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a thriller in every possible way. A frightening plot, which is gradually revealed as you go through the book; full of twists and turns that have you struggling to keep up, and littered with action - strong, physical action that exists only in the world of spy super-heros.

Hence the 4 stars. Yes, the author is a doctor and knows what he is talking about with regard to injuries, healing and anatomical description. But, as so often in super-hero stories, these spies take physical punishment that would floor any normal human being.

Not that this detracts from the spell-binding story telling. This book sweeps you up into its fervour and excitement and keeps you turning page after page. Thoroughly enjoyable and hard to put down, I found myself reading long into the night.

Highly recommended to those who love spy thrillers - especially British ones.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 31 August 2012
I downloaded this book as a free product and was plesantly surprised, although it does get a bit confusing if you are not able to spend time on it, it is the type of book you want to sit down and concentrate on, which I do like, definitely not a quick and easy read but does become quite involved and takes some following. Personally I like it and would recommend it but would suggest its not for everybody - if you want a book to read in the background this is not it but it is full of action and suspense and is a very good read.
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