Top critical review
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An ok book on its own, but crucial to the development of the series, giving it a great twist
on 6 May 2015
As with each of the books in the preceding Game / Set / Match trilogy, Spy Hook - the first of the sequel Hook / Line / Sinker trilogy - is, we are told, a book that can be read on its own. That's only sort-of true.
The genius of the rest of the trilogies about MI6 man Bernard Samson is the way plots are apparently wrapped up to give one book an ending, and then unpicked again when the story continues in the next book.
However, Spy Hook is the least plausible for solo reading as unlike the others the plot within it is not even apparently all wrapped up by the end. If you enjoy it, you'll most likely want to plunge on to Spy Line pretty quickly afterwards.
What's more the big question that gets opened up over who is really loyal and who is really a traitor comes with much more emotional punch if you've been reading the previous books and find some core elements of the story so far suddenly upended.
If, then, you read it the best way to enjoy it - in sequence - it's at its best. Even so it is rather slow for most of the book, with low key character development and relatively little happening on the espionage front for much of the book - until the big twist which follows Bernard Samson's attempts to track down a missing MI6 slush fund and which so nicely sets up the rest of the trilogy.
If you prefer audio books, by the way, you are in for a treat as once again James Lailey does a cracking job with his narration.