Posts Tagged ‘Secret Services’

The Double Game by Dan Fesperman

November 6, 2012

The time has arrived when we can do a more balanced review of the spy activities of the United States and it’s enemies, post-WWII. And Dan Fesperman is up to the task in his latest thriller The Double Game, the perfect mixture of fact and fiction. Journalist Bill Cage wants to know about master spy Edwin Lemaster who turned into a master writer of spy novels after he left ” The Company”. Since his interview of Lemaster, years ago, he is more intrigued than ever. Bill’s Dad, Warfield, worked for the State department and during his years of service came in contact with people working for the CIA.

As a child, Bill read all the best spy novels which his Dad had accumulated, and he knew them backwards and forwards. John Le Carre, Len Deighton, Graham Greene, Ian Fleming. But now someone seems to be sending Bill cryptic notes that reference some of these books and the time period when he was growing up in Berlin. Is someone playing a game with Cage or are these clues supposed to lead him to some answers about the “spy game”? One thing he knows almost immediately is that the clues seem to be pulling him back to Vienna, where his Dad still lives.

So off he goes in search of some answers to these clues. One of the first persons he sees in Vienna is his first love, Litzi Strauss. Remember, it is now 37 years later, but he has never lost his infatuation with Litzi. But things are getting more complicated as Bill tries to figure where Litzi figures in all this intrigue and his Dad is petrified that Bill is about to involve himself in some very bad things.

For the lover of spy novels, Fesperman has found the perfect blend of old and new, cold war intrigue and buried secrets. It’s the perfect mixture for all you fans of foreign intrigue. With one additional feature–Fesperman has also included just the right mixture of mystery and humor.

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Watchman by Ian Rankin

October 24, 2012

I discovered an earlier Ian Rankin book ‘Watchman’ that I had not read. His earlier works seem to have a touch of John LeCarre in them…not that that’s bad! ‘Watchman ‘ is a nuanced English mystery filled with ‘moles’ operating within the Intelligence community. In the eighties, when this was written, England was not only interested in international intrigue but also terror attacks by the IRA.

Miles Flint finds himself immersed in this mixed intrigue, when an Israeli is murdered on his watch…almost in front of his eyes. Miles had inserted himself in this case although he hadn’t been assigned to it. And suddenly the man he had been ‘watching’ somehow changed clothes while Miles was distracted and the Israeli is murdered soon after. Now Miles is under suspicion that somehow he is complicit in the murder and MI5 doesn’t know if the man murdered was a Mossad agent.

Although he realizes that he is being looked at more closely, Miles knows he has to look for the needle in the haystack and figure out how the murder was set up. Meanwhile his marriage to his wife,  Sheila is falling apart and Miles is living up to the bureau’s nickname for him…’the invisible man’. Somehow he must solve the mystery and resolve his personal problems. He has to find out who his true friends are within the agency and who is trying to get rid of him. There is also a newspaper reporter, Jim Stevens who has gotten ‘wind’ of the Israeli murder and the government’s attempt to bury the investigation.

This Rankin book is slightly different than his later books. It is written a slightly different pace but still a very satisfying read.

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