One of my recent author interviews was with novelist Joni Dee. Here is the book review I promised:
Great introduction to the plot when young John Daniel, a computer professional working in the City of London, is bowled over by an old man at Liverpool Street train station.
We then read how two burly leather-jacketed younger men seem to chase after the old man who falls to his death in front of a train on a nearby platform. Or does he fall?
Unbeknownst to the leather jackets, the old man has passed on a garbled message to John. It is one he does not immediately comprehend and no wonder as it is some gibberish reference to the Queen and those standing behind her. Later in the plot, the author masterfully reveals the true import and significance of the old man’s words. But not before John Daniel has teamed up with Adam Grey, a retired British spy from the Security Services. Grey receives a phone call in retirement telling him the “service” is “rotten” to the core.
They make a fascinating and intriguing duo as together they set about unravelling the mystery within the plot. They dip in and out of danger all set within London landmarks and magnificently described by the author. I felt like I was treading those London streets with the characters.
Grey has lost none of his tradecraft and is keen to impart some of his skills to his new-found “accomplice” John. It is in some of these passages that the author appears to show a distinct knowledge of some of the murkier spy skillsets including some excellent surveillance scenes.
The author, Joni Dee, has written a great debut novel. It is well written with credible characters and a credible storyline. It sucked me in early and kept my attention all the way through.
The one slight criticism I have is that the author does have a penchant for introducing new characters late in the day. This can be a tad disorientating at first. But the fast-paced action lets one forget about the small niggles and propels the reader along on a fascinating tale with a satisfactory resolution.
The author’s influences are unmistakable. His writing has that whiff of le Carre about it. This novel is a well-crafted political thriller with a nod to some of the classic Cold War espionage thrillers.
And The Wolf Shall Dwell is a spy thriller that switches back and forth from past to present without bamboozling the reader. It has it all: intrigue, suspense, great characters, good plot and even a slight love interest in the shape of Liz Shaw, an MI5 surveillance operative.
All in all an enjoyable read.
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