Wednesday, 8 May 2013

SPY THRILLER REVIEW: Black Bear - Aly Monroe

Release Date: 09/05/13
Publisher:  John Murray


From the author of ICELIGHT, winner of the 2012 Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award, BLACK BEAR is the fourth in the critically acclaimed Peter Cotton series following the fortunes of British spy Peter Cotton as he navigates the treacherous uncertainties of the post-war world. For all fans of John le Carre, Robert Harris, Eric Ambler and Graham Greene. 'Confirms Aly Monroe's genius for creating tension...' Daily Telegraph Sent to Manhattan as part of the British effort to build intelligence into the new United Nations Organisation 'from the foundations up', Agent Peter Cotton wakes up in the Ogden Clinic on East 76th Street, a private facility reserved for very special patients and veterans. He is told he was found badly bruised, slumped in a doorway, and that he had been injected with at least three 'truth-drugs'. He is lucky to be alive. Plagued by vertigo, colour blindness and tunnel vision, and unable to be certain what is real and what hallucinatory, Cotton must piece together what has happened to him, find out who is responsible and why. What he discovers is even more unsettling. His biggest uncertainty? Why he has been allowed to live.


I love a story that works on many levels and to have one that delves into a time of the Cold War whilst the second world war is still within memory all round is a cracking setting for a reader to delve into. Add to this a story that has some great twists, well written and of course a tale that keeps the reader on the edge of what’s reality vs. imagination all round gives this something of a bite.

That said, I had problems with the lead character as he wasn’t what I was expecting to come to the fore within a tale like this which when backed with some twists that were a little too subtle left me more than a little confused by the books end. Now I’m not saying its bad and there will be a lot of people out there that will get it more than me, but when I don’t understand a lot of what has happened then I tend to get niggled as I feel a little stupid for not comprehending it.

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