2022 Reading Challenge

2022 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 5 books toward her goal of 260 books.
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Book Review: Judas 62 by Charles Cumming

About the Book

A spy in one of the most dangerous places on Earth…
1993: Student Lachlan Kite is sent to post-Soviet Russia in the guise of a language teacher. In reality, he is there as a spy. Top secret intelligence agency BOX 88 has ordered Kite to extract a chemical weapons scientist before his groundbreaking research falls into the wrong hands. But Kite’s mission soon goes wrong and he is left stranded in a hostile city with a former KGB officer on his trail.

An old enemy looking for revenge…
2020: Now the director of BOX 88 operations in the UK, Kite discovers he has been placed on the ‘JUDAS’ list – a record of enemies of Russia who have been targeted for assassination. Kite’s fight for survival takes him to Dubai, where he must confront the Russian secret state head on.

Who will come out on top in this deadly game of cat and mouse?

My Review

I find Charles Cumming’s Box 88 books to be an unusual experience. I’m continually drawn in by the setup and the premise. Then, fairly early on, I seem to hit a lull in which he spends more time describing the backstory and setting – and monotony – of his character’s lives than I feel is necessary or enjoyable to read.

With the first book in the series I actually stopped and considered not coming back – but all the reviews raved and raved about the spy thriller elements, so I plowed through and I’m so glad I did – things went from 0 to 60 in a way that I found fascinating, once I found the Sweet Spot where the actual spy elements kicked in.

It’s the same with this second installment. Don’t let yourself be lulled into thinking the book is going to be about Lockie and his friends” ennui with their decadent young lifestyles. It’s not at all. Force yourself to plow through because once you get past that you find yourself in a spy world that is old school in the de Mille style and absolutely intriguing, engaging and delightfully twisty.

These are fantastic characters and I cannot wait to see whether Adventures go next. I really love the way Cumming works a memory and a contemporary espionage excursion together into each book. It lets him establish backstory and give depth to the narration and characters without having to go through lots of telling as opposed to showing. I really enjoy the old school Cold War spy stuff, and finding that blended into contemporary tales about the new world order are also fascinating to me.

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

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