Once a Spy is today Kindle Daily Deal and on sale for $1.99. Well worth reading at that price.
Takeaway: An original take on the traditional spy novel.
Drummond Clark, age 64, is a spy and he has advanced stages of early onset Alzheimer’s. This leads to a problem for the spy masters. How much does he know, who will he tell. Enter Charlie, his estranged son that is in debt to a Russian loan shark over some gambling debts.
Charlie has no idea that his father is a spy. He thinks is father is a mediocre sales manager for a mediocre appliance manufacturer. Turns out Drummond Clark is a super spy that would shame James Bond or Jason Borne. It is just that he believes the best spy is one that no one pays attention to and no one remembers. Drummond Clark fits that mold perfectly.
The book has everything that I like about spy novels, action, bad guys pretending to be good guys, good guys pretending to be bad guys that might still be good guys, or maybe they really are bad guys. Lots of action and over the top situations. The Alzheimer’s really adds a different touch. Unlike real Alzheimer’s, the Alzheimer’s of the book has Drummond suddenly erupting to periods of full capability, and then just as suddenly falling into periods of senility. There is a real sense of loss of capacity in the book.
Alzheimer’s runs in my family, so I have seen my own Great Grandfather and right now my Grandfather lose capacity. The emotion runs fairly true even if the science does not. I have heard that some are offended by the treatment of Alzheimer’s in the book. But someone will be offended anytime a serious subject is taken on.
If you like spy novels, this is an original take.
Related reviews from Bookwi.se
- Twice a Spy by Keith Thomson (The second book in this series)
- The Nearest Exit by Olen Steinhauer
- The Tourist by Olen Stenhauer
- Intelligence: A Novel of the CIA by Susan Hasler