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The Spy Who Came For Christmas Hardcover – October 28, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set on Christmas eve in Santa Fe, N.Mex., this action-packed novel from bestseller Morrell (Creepers) may not achieve holiday classic status, but it does feature an appealing hero. Wounded and on the run, undercover agent Paul Kagan shelters beneath his jacket a five-week-old infant. Russian mobsters are after the baby, the son of a charismatic Palestinian, Ahmed Hassan, who preaches peace in the Middle East. Those who make their money off that struggle wish to silence Hassan by holding the baby hostage. Paul makes his stand in a house where Meredith and her crippled son, Cole, await the return of his abusive, alcoholic father, Ted. While setting interesting traps to foil his attackers, Paul tells a spymaster's version of the tale of the magi. This slim volume will make the perfect stocking-stuffer for deserving thriller readers. 5-city author tour. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Morrell (Creepers, 2005) offers yet another change of pace in this compact, fast-paced combination of Rambo adventure (what he’s known for) and plea for peace on earth. To get there, however, he’s had to pull off a rather stunning maneuver—turning the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth into a spy thriller (with the magi as the spies). The tale unfolds within the contemporary story of an American espionage agent who outs himself to his vicious Russian bosses by running off on Christmas Eve with a package they’ve been hired to steal—the baby son of a modern-day peacemaker. The agent’s initially unwilling helpers are a woman (who has been terrorized by an abusive husband) and her young son, Paul. The breakneck pace allows little time for characterization, and the blood-and-guts level is high as Russian agents close in (even young Paul gets into the act), but along the way there’s plenty of play with names and situations drawn from Bible stories. Given all that’s going on, the novel comes together surprisingly well—but then Christmas is the season for miracles. --Stephanie Zvirin
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Vanguard Press; First Edition edition (October 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593154879
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593154875
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,388,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The title of David Morrell's newest book, THE SPY WHO CAME FOR CHRISTMAS does somewhat resemble the wording of LeCarre's THE SPY WHO CAME FROM THE COLD, and at just over 200 pages, it's about the same size. But does it have what it takes to become a classic? It certainly has all the ingredients, not least of which is the book's originality.

The first surprise of The Spy Who Came For Christmas is... the book's design... It's absolutely beautiful. Hardly ever does a book's physical appearance get mention, but this time it's worth it. The hardback has non-standard dimensions -- it's smaller than a typical hardback, but larger than a mass market paperback. Given the novel's length, this format is perfect to hold in the reader's hands.

I must note that David Morrell's current publishers are seemingly giving him the attention he deserves. The book's layout is wonderful, with nice little clipart illustrations. It feels like a Christmas book.

And that's what it actually is.

David Morrell's previous two books were a bit of a letdown for me. While a good book in its own right, Creepers was only above average by Morrell's own mind-blowing standards. And Scavenger was an utter disappointment.

So does Morrell get back into full stride with "Spy Who Came For Christmas"? His first true spy thriller since the 1990s? Yes he does indeed -- but in a different way than expected, a unique way. Is this book as good as the afore-mentioned LeCarre, Ludlum, or the best by Morrell himself (insert favorite here, like The Covenant of the Flame in my case)...?

No.

Why not?

Because it is special. First and foremost, "The Spy Who Came For Christmas" is a Christmas story - but told from a spy thriller perspective.
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Format: Hardcover
Did you know the three wise men were spies? Did you know Jesus' disciples could have been operatives? No? Well, then let Paul Kagan, also known as Pyotyr, tell you all about this creative version of the original Christmas story. You can listen in as Kagan tells Meredith and her twelve-year-old son, Cole, on a snowy Christmas Eve in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Unfortunately for the threesome, their being together on this night has nothing to do with celebrating the season in comfort and joy. Kagan is holed up with them to hide from three savage criminals who aim to kill him (and any witnesses) and take back the "package" he grabbed and escaped with.

David Morrell, the author of 1972's FIRST BLOOD (you remember: Rambo!), presents another cinematic thriller entitled, THE SPY WHO CAME FOR CHRISTMAS. His star character, Kagan, has a bit of Rambo in him, but his is a different story. He maims and kills to fight terrorism both aboard and domestically. He wants out of his long undercover assignment, but his handlers won't pull him. Kagan's soul is being consumed by the brutalities he's committed to work his way into the U.S. Russian mafia, but, at his center, he steadfastly remains a man who greatly values life and seeks peace.

THE SPY WHO CAME FOR CHRISTMAS begins scenically in Santa Fe, putting on a bit of the tour guide and surrounding the reader with Christmas sights and sounds. In staccato chapters the hunted and hunters move through the holiday throngs and into quiet neighborhoods. Soon, Kagan's back story begins being doled out. As the novel, written in very short chapters and plotted with precision, revs up for the action-packed denouement, the spirit of Christmas both clashes and merges with the characters and whether they have futures.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of those books that's great to read around Christmas. Anytime of the year is good, but Christmas around Christmas is best.

Right from the start you're thrust into action. A man running away from others with a baby under his coat. The man is shot, bleeding and loosing strength. And it's Christmas Eve in the streets of Santa Fe, New Mexico. And it's snowing. NO, I did not give much away, other than the first few pages, so don't worry on the story being spoiled.

It's important that I wrote the above, because the author jumps around a bit with things that happen in the past and are currently happening. But please do not let that bother you as I came so close to dropping this book as I wanted so much to things (I'm not going to write what) that I was starting to figure the book was bad. However thinking back I believe it's done in a way to show redemption on multiple characters.

However, Morell does a great job giving true details on baby Jesus and the 3 Magi. But he does it in such a way that you're getting the whole story being told from the spy and how it was told to him. I really think Morrell did his research in this book regarding the 3 Magi and Santa Fe, NM. And it all starts as the "spy" is looking at the creche (yes the right spelling), thinking of he past professor talking about this, all while talking to Cole.

I really liked the character Cole, but wish he was involved more. I don't know how Morrell would of, but Cole was my favorite character.

This is not a large book, easy reading. I heard the audio book on Satellite radio and the voices were great. Again, a great read anytime, but if you can there's a special effect around the holidays, especially with the themes in the book revolving around family and redemption.
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