Saturday, June 20, 2009


Even by Andrew Grant has my vote for next year's Debut Anthony Award. I'm sure Andrew will do fine on his own, considering whom he got to blurb his book. Loved the first chapter, then Grant almost lost me slogging through the narrative for the first five chapters. The only thing that kept me going was the glimpses of great dialogue dispensed throughout the beginning chapters. Once I hit page 50, Grant's pace was in place and I didn't put the novel down until the end.

His protagonist David Trevellyan, a covert operative in the Royal Navy is a cross between James Bond and Burn Notice's Michael Weston. Grant gave Trevellyan Bond's sardonic humor and Weston's reluctant hero personality a dynamic combination. Trevellyan in New York, walks home from dinner and finds a dead man in the alley just as the police arrive. The police assume Trevellyan killed the man and arrest him. He figures his London bosses will have him out it time for breakfast. Unfortunate for Trevellyan, the London employers wash their hands of their spy and let him swing in the wind. The fun ensues as he tries to rectify this misunderstanding. Grant neatly slipped in the back story in the first paragraphs of each chapter as covert spy tips. We learned how the Royal Navy shaped his character and brought him to his current state with antidotes that read like Dummies For The Would-be-Spies. Nice use of a writing device.

I talked with Grant at Love is Murder in February over drinks. After minutes of kibitzing over the other conventioneers reenactor costumes, I told him he sounded and looked a bit like Lee Child. He smiled and politely informed me he was Child's younger brother. Color me red. I disengaged my foot from my mouth and lost all train of thought at that point. I"d wanted to ask about his protagonist name David Trevellyan. I love the arcane stuff in writing. The name sounds familiar, but just can't place it.

Although the concept of the rebellious spook is an entire sub genre, Grant has given the species a roll-coaster ride in his first outing. The Trevellyan series appears heir apparent of the genre.
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