Spy novels? Oh heck yes! I cut my teeth on Ian Fleming novels right along with my H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King fetishes. Tentacles, evil clowns and secret gadgets. When I first went to Hawaii in 5th grade Live and Let Die was on one of the channels and the adventures became even more visual.
voodooI remember three things about that night: smashing coconuts & getting covered in the milk pretending they were the bad guys heads, the eating of the sacrificial KFC while chanting like the voodoo priest/heroin runner, and laughing when my friend asked for a chicken boob; in 5th grade it was almost as good as a fart joke!
But I digress, because this is a review about Slingshot, the third of Matthew Dunn’s Spycatcher novels. A real spy, not one with machine guns in the exhaust pipe of his Aston Martin and a shark tank with an evil giant man with a ginormous gold grill and an insane laugh. We have conspiracy, intrigue, foreign leaders having clandestine meetings behind close doors… oh it is just festive!
I felt like I was being thrust into a middle of the room during a Spooks (MI5) episode.. or in the back seat along for the ride chasing after a car chase with guns shooting in my general direction, or that of Agent Ros Myers (she’s my favorite). This could have easily followed your normal spy story path, but instead Matthew gave us characters with depth and vision, even the ones which should not have any at all. Will Cochrane is a trained operative who does not or is not supposed to show any emotions. He is steeled to be as dissociated as possible in order to get the job done. Kind of like our two characters from Cold Killing by Luke Delaney (another civil servant turned writer). In fact there is even the juxtaposition of the cold operative and the sociopathic hitman. But is what really separates Will and hitman a code of ethics? A sense of honor and patriotism? Or perhaps it is just coincidence.
It is more than that but to go any further will run more twists than a school girls phone cord, tangled and interwoven to the point of not knowing where to start to untangle the story threads. If you pick this up, bear with the information you receive with the first half. I ended up starting over twice because I was reading it four chapters at time and switching to another book to stay on top of reviews , and then the fires…. so I lost track of all the info. If you get a bit turned off by heavy info dump, and just want to be a casual observer and not take part of the ride, this may be a bit much for a summer read. Slingshot and any spy novel requires some time and focus to invest in. It was fun, and in the end you get a touch of the flamboyant James Bond feel (whats a good spy story with a touch of dispelling ones disbelief, its all in fun.) No exploding watches or pens that shoot acid or skis with turbo jets on them, but that wonderful over the top spy of spies! You be the judge. I for one am going back and reading the other novels while sitting back with a dirty martini and enjoying the ride!
She’s a dirty dirty girl…and she gives this book…. 4 olives!