2020 Reading Challenge

2020 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 6 books toward her goal of 240 books.

Book Review: Mrs. John Doe by Tom Savage

What a very fun find this was! Spy books and I are old friends – I started reading them just after the end of the Cold War and was hooked… Back in the day, it was much easier (I imagine) to write one: the good guys (the US) and bad guys (the USSR) were clearly delineated, easy to find, and everyone’s motives were (relatively) straightforward. It was Us vs. Them, which makes for a lot of drama –
particularly when paired with recognizable and dramatically contrasting backdrops and major players. The fall of the Soviet Union threw a spanner into the works, and spy books in the modern era are a lot messier and harder for me to get into. Things are more convoluted and complicated now – or at least they seem so; perhaps they always were, who knows – and The Big Bad is a conglomeration of people and places with disparate interests and perspectives that seem to shift like sand…

Mrs. John Doe attempts to put an old school framework on a modern day spy thriller, and for the most part does it with aplomb.

There were a few times when I felt that actions/outcomes strained the grounds of credibility, but they were generally resolved to satisfaction and things fell back into a comfortable and believable place rapidly. Nora Baron is a fantastic protagonist – sassy, smart, and savvy but none of those in such great measure that she stops feeling like a genuine woman you might actually come across one day (if you were lucky). The pacing is pretty steady; on a very rare occasion, I felt like the story got mired in a little too much detail, but generally speaking the level of show vs. tell was spot-on and things moved apace.

There were a few twists that surprised me a bit; some of them I saw coming, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment AT ALL. I read *A LOT* and read a lot of books within specific genres like this one, so it’s tough to truly surprise me time and again in the course of one story. That’s no slam on any author; it’s just how it is. The action and suspense are very well-managed and the writing style is engaging and easy and sucks you right in to the drama from the very beginning… This is a great find, and I already have book two downloaded to my kindle (and book three from NetGalley!)

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