on 15 October 2013
To Free A Spy rocks at the opening, containing measured amounts of dialogue and description with an emphasis on the story being related by the words of the characters. As well, it blasts forward using a great mix of dialogue to narrative in the last 100 pages. Unfortunately, the book bogs down in the middle with a preponderance of extensive, narrative-based descriptions involving sometimes-unresolved conflicts and events, such as the explosion of a vehicle belonging to a retired Colonel (and main character) that never gets an adequate explanation as well as other protracted descriptions.
In the section in Japan, the quantity of quality research ties the writer's hands instead of liberating him. We are led from one highly improbable scene to another. Would a pizza deliveryman take all the risks for a stranger, the main character that he does during the sequence about penetrating the Narita Airport security? Maybe, but this reader doubts it. As well, the even-handedness of the President concerning the latitude he gives to Cam Warfield seems a tad unbelievable. In addition, the way that Warfield gets out of the most dangerous situations without a scratch remains incredible.
Despite these problems, I really liked the book as a whole. The author displays enthusiasm for his subject and his characters succeed in being alive on the page. He very fruitfully recreates the folksy down-home feel of the south of the United States in his three-dimensional people. Karly's surprise appearance at the close and the way the system manipulates the ex-chief of the CIA struck me as highly plausible. As I said, I learned a lot of interesting stuff during the long spates of narrative in the book and would suggest that the debut novelist re-read some Da Silva to take note of the consistent nature of the relationship between the amounts of dialogue versus the preponderance of description in his books. I am looking forward to more of this writer as he matures on the thriller scene and maybe builds himself a new niche based on great research revealed through the words of his well-rounded characters instead of the narrative.
on 2 October 2013
This book is excellent from the very first chapter, through to the end. It's Nick Ganaway's first political thriller, and it maintains a pace and authenticity that keeps the reader gripped throughout. I took it on holiday, and couldn't put it down until I finished. Twists and turns, and political intrigue, it gives a fabulous insight into American politics, allied to CIA/FBI involvement. The best book I have read in a long, long time !!