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on 6 November 2013
I was given an e-book copy from the author in return for an honest review.

This is an origins story for author James Houston Turner's no-nonsense action hero. Having read the contemporary set novels, where the tough and resourceful fifty something former KGB operative uses his wits as much as his fists, it was intriguing to see him as a twenty eight year old.

In November Echo, we meet a very different Talanov to the one we are used to. Brash, super-confident and living in the moment, he is a very different proposition to the cool, analytical chess player of the novels.

Teamed with the striking Sonia and on assignment in Spain, we join Talanov in a world with mullets, Ferrari's, the Cold War and 1980s excess. Turner effortlessly manages to capture the mood and era. He plays well on our fear of biological weapons, also pushing the reader's buttons to elicit moral outrage and moral indignation.

The usual stamps of a Talanov adventure are all here: twists, action and suspense. The young KGB Colonel demonstrates why he is the master of misdirection: Just when you think you understand what is going on, things rapidly change!

This outing has more insights into Talanov and what made him. Noya, the fourteen year old he encounters, clearly has a deep rooted and life changing effect on him. We understand what drives and guides him, and it's not just the outlandish action and rapid dialogue that takes centre stage, this also has a lot of heart and, at times, is quite poignant.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I felt that I understood Talanov more by the end. Once again James Houston Turner has demonstrated his unique talent as a premier thriller writer.
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on 4 March 2014
This book seemed to start fairly well and interestingly. I got increasingly annoyed by the lazy lack of research (I found all I needed on Google in a morning which included a lengthy coffee break).

The book became unrealistic – is ‘Iceman Hero’ really going to fall passionately in love with another, unknown spy and give up all his secrets within minutes? I don’t think so! This sort of unlikely writing continued and then the author seemed to run out of ideas. At this stage, normally, the pages would be filled with gratuitous sex but this was different: we had gratuitous and jaw-droppingly unbelievable violence instead. After each main character had been shot, stabbed, poisoned, fallen out of moving cars multiple times and lived ready for the next attempt at murder/assasination, I had to give up which meant I’d wasted a good 2 hours of my getting to that stage.

Highly not recommended!
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on 7 September 2014
Colonel Aleksandr Talanov is a KGB operative known as the Ice Man. He is unorthodox in his methods, but has a reputation for getting the job done. In this novel, set at the height of the cold war in 1985, Talanov is tasked with stopping the defection of a Soviet scientist who has been working on the USSR’s biological weapons programme, Biopreparat. Used to working alone, Talanov is made to partner Agent Sofia Dubinina, who, unbeknown to him, has her own agenda.

I really enjoyed this one. Houston Turner is a great story-teller with an easy writing style, which makes for a fun and effortless read. I’m guessing this is the first Talanov novel (the cover of the book includes ‘Every spy has a beginning’) but I’m hoping it’s not the last.
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on 16 February 2014
Loved this book and finding a hero in a Russian KGB agent who my previous readings/knowledge have always been the enemy! The plot was good and fast paced and I didn't see the twist coming until it was upon me. Not quite sure how those that survived the subsequent mayhem did so but it was certainly a thrill ride. It would make a good film if it hasn't already for those that like their films full of special effects, car chases etc. Looking forward to reading more from this author's catalogue and especially with this hero.
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on 22 June 2014
What a fantastic story, I go this for free in January and when completed my last book I thought I would give it a try.... I was smitten.

What a great story, lots of intrigue and changes to the direction of the story and, I am sad to say I cried in the end.... then came home and bought another three from James Houston Turner (hope they are as good!).

The plot is around a master spy who has to 'recover' a defector, and that is all I am going to say as I know I will spoil it for someone
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on 27 February 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Well written and with pace to keep the interest, with a plot of a cross between Mission impossible and James Bond. I don't usually like books that flit between the current time plot and previous history of the characters, but in the case it was very well handled and certainly did not detract from the story. Really enjoyable and was free to download! Certainly will be on the lookout for more from this author.
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on 14 February 2014
Great pacing and an intriguing hero. A little different to route for a soviet agent in a Cold War spy book but the writing really made you want him to succeed.
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on 16 December 2014
Riveting story, right from the start it's got you hooked. Characters come to life with startling clarity.
It's fast paced well worth reading.
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on 27 February 2014
Brilliant book.... Trust me.
Read about 8 books a month of a varied nature. This is an excellent book from an excellent series.
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on 6 February 2014
great story but to much going back in time
have just read another of his books , great story but same problem
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