by Matthew Dunn

Matthew Dunn creates a breathtaking spy story in his book Spycatcher.  Will Cochrane is the CIA and MI6’s deadliest asset and has never been outsmarted.  Now, however, that may all be about to change.  Will’s authorities task him with tracking down and neutralizing one of the most wanted terrorist masterminds.  Will devises what he believes to be a perfect plan, but he soon discovers that this man is more dangerous and cunning than any other he has ever faced.

My mom knows I love spy stories, and when she went to the library to pick up some books for me, it just so happened to be Spy Month.  Spycatcher was one of the librarian’s recommendations, so my mom checked it out and brought it home.  Needless to say, I was elated when I saw it, and I was not disappointed when I read it.

The plot seems relatively simple – find the terrorist and stop him.  However, with surprises waiting behind every door and betrayal around every corner, it becomes much more complex.  In the beginning, the author hints at Will’s dark past, but avoids delving too deeply into it, leaving the reader to ponder the mystery.  Bit by bit, the story is revealed, and eventually the reader understands who Will really is and why he is what he is.  Overall, the author does an excellent job of developing Will’s character, but chooses not to do the same with the other characters in the book.

As a former MI6 field operative, Matthew Dunn was able to use his experience to make the details of the story accurate, but, as usual, a story without added drama is likely to be less interesting, and Dunn incorporates this into his book as well.  In general, there is very little foreshadowing in Spycatcher, and most unexpected events or revelations that occur are presented in a calm manner, belying their importance.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, however; it is simply a different style.

Dunn’s style of writing, while not a beautiful one, is simple and easy to read.  Occasionally, the structures of consecutive sentences are a bit too similar, making for writing that does not flow smoothly.  Most of the book contains clean language.  It is not until roughly the second half of the book, when the stakes grow higher, that Will begins occasionally cursing.  The amount of violence in this book is what one would normally expect from a spy book – not gory, but just the amount necessary to tell the story.  There is a brief description of a dead body in chapter 22, but it contains very little detail.

I would definitely recommend this book, especially for spy story lovers.  While it may not possess the most literary value, it will be an entertaining read in your spare time.

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