Slingshot (Spycatcher Novels) Hardcover – 25 Jun 2013
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Like le Carre and Fleming before him, Dunn is the real thing...His, though, is a more muscular creation that Smiley, or even Bond. Meet Will Cochrane, a one-man weapon of mass destruction DAILY TELEGRAPH An intelligent and entertaining summer read...solid and authentic FINANCIAL TIMES I know of no other spy thriller that so successfully blends the fascinating nuances of the business of espionage and intelligence work with full-throttle suspense storytelling Jeffrey Deaver Author Dunn has perfected the literary equivalent of the type of action movie that might star Stallone, Steven Seagal or the Rock IRISH INDEPENDENT A terrific thriller with a superb new hero...Bond and Bourne can take a back seat Matt Hilton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
On the streets of Gdansk, Poland, Will Cochrane waits for a Russian defector bearing a top-secret document. But when the target shows up, so does a team from the Russian foreign intelligence service SVR. Then, in a hail of crossfire, a van speeds into the melee and snatches the defector out from under them all. Everyone wants the man and the codes he carries but now he's gone, and it's up to Will and his CIA /MI6 team to find him before the Russians do.
Tracking the missing Russian and his kidnappers, Will believes the defector has his own agenda. But soon it's apparent that the real perpetrator is a former East German Stasi officer who instigated a super-secret pact between Russian and U.S. generals almost twenty years ago. An agreement, which if broken, is designed to unleash the world's deadliest assassin.
And when the Russians task their own "spycatcher" to retrieve the document, Will must face two very clever, deadly adversaries who will stop at nothing to achieve their aims." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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The author, however saved himself from my point of view by writing an exciting book with many unpredictable twists which held me to the end.
If you are a fan of Jason Borne books, you will really enjoy this one. It actually has an interesting plot with an appropriate family of subplots to the very end. I am sure that if Hollywood picks up this book for making of a motion picture, they will successfully trash all of that `plot' stuff in order to keep the action scenes in the normal Hollywood style.
A good book for a long airplane trip.
With Slingshot all of that changes. This is a first-rate novel as well as a first-rate espionage tale. The premise: in the 1990's a secret deal was struck between the U.S. and Russia, a deal involving the potential death of hundreds of millions of people. (We learn the details [and the target] later in the novel.) The signatories to the agreement seek to maintain absolute security and have created a fail/safe system to prevent any leaks concerning the agreement. They have installed a deep-cover assassin who will be dispatched--using certain protocols--to eradicate any potential source of leaks.
When those protocols are stolen and news of a potential witness (who will disclose the nature of the agreement) surfaces, a group of agents with various degrees of awareness converge. One group is masterminded by a former Stasi Colonel, a signatory to the original agreement; another is lead by a Russian, a third by Will Cochrane's MI6 group, which also articulates with the CIA. Will and company must also conjure with a rogue Mossad agent, a Russian defector and a loose-cannon group within the CIA.
With some obvious exceptions it is not entirely clear who the good guys are, who the bad guys are, what good guys will take extreme measures and what putative bad guys will turn out to be good guys, i.e., people who will act rationally and retain their sense of humanity in a pinch. The story (as always in this world) turns on trust.
The architectonics of the plot are extremely complex but they are not difficult to follow. The resolution of the story is simply wonderful, with characters coming into play in unexpected and very satisfying ways.
The novel also takes risks. The über-assassin, for example, appears to exceed Will Cochrane in skills and abilities. How will the author handle that, without diminishing his series character? Or annihilating him? The answer: very expertly.
This is Dunn's best book yet. Do not miss it.
Fast forward to the present day, and the information has been stolen. With the threat of the horrific details of the plan being revealed, various entities begin to search for the documents, and the person who they believe could be responsible. Will Cochrane, an MI6 operative leads a team, in cooperation with the CIA, to attempt to find the man responsible for the missing papers. But the mission soon becomes far more personal. Someone has discovered Will's true identity, and threatens to release the information and to harm his sister, the only person on the earth who he truly cares about. The story quickly becomes an international tale of intrigue in which Will grapples with the implications of the released documents, faces the highly dangerous assassin, and attempts to discover the person or people who threaten to blow his cover.
The complexity of this novel makes it quite difficult to explain the plot without spoiling the twists and details that make it so compelling. Author Matthew Dunn is a former MI6 operative himself, so he brings a unique understanding of the inner workings of the secretive organizations that are explored in this book. This is the third novel to feature Will Cochrane, but the story itself stands alone as a completely realized narrative. It took me a bit of time to acclimate myself to all of the military jargon used throughout the novel, but the plot is intriguing enough that I was quickly able to work through it.
The character of Will Cochrane could have easily been a cold, one-dimensional man, especially given the secretive nature of his work. Where Dunn really excels is in extracting the emotions of this man who has essentially been trained to show none. It was fascinating to read about Will's internal battle of dealing with his inner feelings while never letting them betray the complex mission at hand. Overall, this is a fast paced, complex, international conspiracy novel that easily sets itself as a top example of the genre. Dunn is able to successfully combine his own personal experience as an MI6 operative with the conventions of modern thriller novels to create a unique and nearly flawless book.
I despise giving many details of a novel above the blurb given by the publisher, because most readers dislike spoilers. That being the case, I will say that Cochrane, Dunn's protagonist, encounters some serious competition...
There is another Spycatcher in this novel, an SVR version. Plus there is a German assassin code-named Kronos that is an awesome character. Both of these characters are likable, and I actually hope to see more of them in a future installment of the Spycatcher series.
One large difference I saw in this book is that Matthew Dunn's writing and literary skills have improved, and he is becoming much better at character development. Before, it was mostly just two-dimensional characters and plot, with much to be desired in descriptive narration. With Slingshot, he has improved on all of these components of the novel.
I recommend this series, with the qualification that readers understand the steep curve of writing quality. The second book is much better than the first, and the third is much better than the second. Plus, this seems to be an exponential rather than linear improvement.
I don't want to give away the plot. But I can say without possibly spoiling the story for anyone that if you like books that have some basis in reality, you won't find it here. This book has villains and heroes, nothing nuanced or in-between. And the main villain is a caricature, not a character. His evil plot makes no sense in real life. Nobody would do what he did. Except in cartoons.
If you like unrealistic plots and clearly contrasted good guys and bad guys, you might like this book. The action never stops, and there is plenty of killing and conflict. As I said, I read the whole thing, and enjoyed it as a pastime. But if you are looking for something beyond just an action thriller, look elsewhere.