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Dead Spy Running Hardcover – October 26, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition edition (October 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312644760
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312644765
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,144,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Veteran British newsman Stock (The Riot Act) fuses the cerebral complexity and cool prose of early le Carré with a tough, smart hero modeled on Jason Bourne in this excellent spy thriller, the first in a projected trilogy. Disgraced MI6 agent Daniel Marchant is running in the London Marathon with his girlfriend, Leila, also an MI6 agent, when he notices a South Asian man in the pack wearing a disguised suicide bomber's belt. When Marchant realizes they are near the American ambassador, another marathon runner, Marchant with Leila's aid does what he has to do to prevent the bombing. This act of bravery, unfortunately, leads to Marchant's falling under suspicion of being a terrorist himself. Foreign terrorists, an MI6 mole, and thugs aplenty populate the pages, but it is the ongoing war between the British and American spy agencies that's the inflammatory heart of this suspenseful, elegantly written novel. (Nov.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Daniel Marchant, a gifted covert operative for MI6, is suspended after the CIA forces the British to dismiss his father from his post as head of England’s intelligence service. Both Marchants are seen by the Brits as regrettable collateral damage in the war on terrorism, but after Daniel foils a suicide bomber in the London Marathon, saving the life of the American ambassador, he’s renditioned to a CIA black site in Poland and waterboarded. MI6 breaks him out of the prison and Daniel must avoid a global Agency manhunt to foil a terrorist plot and salvage his father’s reputation. Dead Spy Running is a turbocharged thriller with first-rate tradecraft, a host of cynical spooks, and evocative portraits of exotic locales. A film version is already in development, and in England, comparisons to le Carré are rampant. The Brits have long been among the most artful players of The Great Game. The CIA may not be as artful, but some American readers may be put off by the wholesale, broad-brush portrayal of the CIA as arrogant, boorish, thuggish clowns. Here’s hoping Stock is simply spinning a ripping good yarn. --Thomas Gaughan

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Customer Reviews

That said,it is a very good old school spy thriller remimiscent of very early Le Carre with Deighton highlights.
Robert S. Klautky
There are two interesting French minor players in the 3rd book, and Salim Dhar could be a fascinating character, but too little ink has been expended upon him.
Julia Walker
(Of course, there's a reason America's clandestine community is seen that way, but still ....) Stock's writing style is fine but far from stirring.
TChris

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Ten years ago, I read and loved Jon Stock's debut thriller The Riot Act -- about a young counter-cultural class warrior forced to go undercover. It was lean, taut, and had a corker of an ending. Four years ago, I was rather less taken with his followup, The Cardamom Club, which had problems of pacing, over-elaborate plotting, and somewhat sappy romantic content. Now comes his third book (the first of a projected trilogy), which bears all the hallmarks of the blockbuster international spy thriller.

The story kicks off at the London Marathon, where suspended MI6 agent Daniel Marchant happens to be running with his girlfriend, a fellow MI6 agent. Exciting events transpire, and soon thereafter he finds himself in the custody of his own people, and eventually the CIA. It seems his father, who had been head of MI6, was forcibly retired under suspicious circumstances, and now the son is under suspicion as well. More heartpounding events transpire and Daniel soon finds himself on the run from MI5, MI6, and CIA, all while a plot may be unfolding to kill President Obama (the unnamed "new guy") as he visits India.

The pacing problems of Stock's second book are gone, as the story switches back and forth in short bursts between Daniel's attempt to stay alive, flashbacks to his training and relationship with his girlfriend, and the heads of various intelligence agencies snarling at each other in plush offices.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on November 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dead Spy Running begins with Daniel Marchant running a marathon but the story (unlike the runner) takes off at a sprinter's speed. Suspended from MI6, Marchant has personal issues: he drinks too much and his deceased father, the former Chief of MI6, is suspected of having been a traitor. During the race, Marchant observes one of the runners wearing a belt that conceals explosives -- and the runner happens to be trailing near the American ambassador. Marchant's proximity to the suicide bomber is viewed as no coincidence by the suspicious minds at MI5. Soon the CIA fixates on the notion that Marchant is working for terrorists. Even Marchant's spy girlfriend seems uncertain about Marchant's loyalty. The novel follows Marchant as he battles to clear his father's name and his own.

Much of Dead Spy Running has been done before, often by better writers: the son who wonders whether his father was a traitor, by Len Deighton; the spy with a drinking problem by Graham Greene; the mole in MI6 by John Le Carre and many others. Toward the end, however, the plot takes a twist I haven't seen before, saving the novel from being a rehash of tired stories. Dead Spy Running also has an interesting political component that's not exactly new but well done, as MI6 finds itself at odds with MI5 and the CIA.

The plot is the novel's strong point. The characters are nothing special. The CIA spooks seem a bit over-the-top in their thuggish ways, eagerly carrying out extraordinary renditions so they can conduct interrogations via waterboard. (Of course, there's a reason America's clandestine community is seen that way, but still ....) Stock's writing style is fine but far from stirring.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on October 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Thirty-five thousand runners are testing for the London Marathon. Two of them work for M16 though Agent Daniel is on suspension at full pay; the other is girlfriend Leila who worries about her lover's mental health since his father's death. However, just prior to the start, another operative Myers called Leila with a warning that electronic chatter says something is going to happen at the event.

About fifty minutes into the race, Daniel notices an Asian runner wearing a belt who seems out of place. He further sees two obvious American Secret service agents with another participant who he thinks is the U.S. Ambassador Munroe. He realizes the Asian is wearing a bomb. He learns the Asian is Pradeep from India and terrorists kidnapped his son with the admonition do the mission if you want your offspring to live. The bomb is defused, but Daniel is under suspicion as a terrorist.

Dead Spy Running is a superb espionage thriller, which contains the usual suspects of foreign agents and internal moles. However, what makes the story line super is rivalry between M16 and the CIA, M16 and M15, and the CIA and the Secret Service as each agency fails to work together, but instead prefers front dog status even if it causes problems for their respective country. Fans will appreciate Jon Stock's strong run.

Harriet Klausner
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Julia Flyte TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
While I don't agree with the publisher's claim that this is as good as the Bourne novels, this is a perfectly acceptable thriller to pack in your holiday suitcase. Reading it reminded me in many ways of the British TV series Spooks: it's equally fastpaced and equally unrealistic. The storyline centres on Daniel Marchand, an MI6 officer who has been suspended after his father (the former chief) was linked to an Indian terrorist and forced to resign. Daniel and his girlfriend Leila (another MI6 officer) are running the London Marathon together when he sees a man running behind the American ambassador armed with a bomb. He averts disaster, but MI5 and the Americans are suspicious about why he was on the scene and whether he himself is involved with terrorists. So he's on the run, trying to clear his name and his father's name.

The momentum of the book keeps you reading but there are a few structural problems. The main one is that there are two storylines which don't fully come together: without giving too much away, our hero doesn't really play a role in the book's climax. There are plenty of twists and action, but these are often squandered - delivered as throwaways rather than being maximized. Stereotypical characters make silly decisions (the head of MI5 repeatedly being a prime example). Poor proofreading also means that there are some continuity problems that are unnecessarily distracting.

However as I say, it's all quite readable and dead exciting in parts. The ending sets it up for a sequel and if there is, I'll probably read it. But it's not the new Bourne.
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