2020 Reading Challenge

2020 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 6 books toward her goal of 240 books.
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Book Review: An American Spy by Olen Steinhauer

This time, it’s not just Milo Weaver in the hot seat…

The third-in-series continues to bring the action, but it spreads the story around among the characters a bit more – which I enjoyed, although Milo remains (BY FAR) my favorite focal point. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the way it was organized, once I realized how it worked: basically you run through a stretch of time with a focus on one character’s perspective and the things they knew. In the next section you shift focus to another character, with backtracking, time-overlap, and time moving forward. It was a novel way of filling in the gaps and a touch confusing at first but by the time I reached the final section I realized I really liked it because it made the revelations trickle in and the deceptions and secrets and lies and half-truths all the more compelling for their slow reveal…

The conspiracies, deception, and behind-the-scenes-battle-waging were even more intensely interwoven this time – which was no small feat, given the first two books. There were definitely things I didn’t see coming, and the while the action may have been less intense, the emotional impact of the decisions being made by the major players certainly was not.

This one ended a lot more abruptly than I normally like, and if it weren’t for the fact that I know the next book is coming out in six months, I’d have been very irritated by the ending – particularly if I read this one when it was originally released in 2012. It stops, rather than ends, with a ton of things left unfinished as though they were interrupted, mid-sentence. It’s an odd way to end the book and then wait 7 years to write the next installment… Still, new readers like me don’t have to wait that long, which is excellent news.

This is a fantastic series – gritty and snarky and full of crosses, double-crosses, and triple-crosses. It reads like Cold War spy thrillers in the classic Nelson deMille vein – which is one of my highest compliments in espionage stories. I cannot WAIT for the fourth book to come out next spring!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my obligation – free review copy.

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