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If you have enjoyed any of the other books in the series you will enjoy this one as well. The storyline is a bit far fetched but I enjoyed listening to this. Some of the minor characters are well defined and well used.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful
Thriller-lovers will enjoy the whole Alex Hawke series. Just don’t expect realism, O.K.? Alex Hawke is a cross between James Bond and Dirk Pitt: an impossible super-human super-hero. In the Alex Hawke series, the good guys always save the world in just the nick of time; our hero is a tall, dark, and handsome babe-magnet; the good guys always manage head-shots with one bullet, while the bad guys usually miss altogether, but might manage to hit our hero in the shoulder; and our hero always recovers from grievous wounds in record time, with no lingering sequela. Oh, and to top it all off: Alex Hawke — a Peer of the Realm, mind you — happens to have more money than God; so he can buy lots of great toys, like the fabulous armored speed yacht that our heroes use in “Spy” to root out the bad guys from their hidden Amazonian lair. If far-fetched, fantastic thriller plots offend you, I would steer you away from the Alex Hawke series. Maybe choose John Le Carré, instead. I, personally, use escape fiction to take a break from reality, so I enjoy the Alex Hawke series immensely.
On the other hand, I hope that Islamic terrorists don’t read “Spy,” because it might give them ideas! Here, Mr. Bell coins the word “Jihadistas” to describe an unholy alliance between Mexican Reconquistadores and Islamic Jihadists. He places the political hot-potatos of illegal immigration and the porous, violent Mexican/American border at the heart of “Spy”’s plot. The resulting scenario — if Mr. Bell is not making it up out of whole cloth — would be very scary, indeed ….
Narrator John Shea has a nice voice, and does a good job of dramatizing “Spy” for us. He has lots of voices and credible accents at his command to help distinguish the characters from one another. Although he makes little attempt to voice female characters differently from male characters, I hesitate to criticize him for that, since thespian attempts at gender-crossing sometimes flop hilariously. For the character of Stokely Jones — the big (“approximately the size of an armoire”), black co-hero of “Spy,” Mr. Shea always uses a laughing voice — which generally works, since Stoke usually does have pretty funny lines — but sometimes this voice for Stoke does not work in “Spy,” like when our good guys are engaged in hairy combat. Aside from those minor quibbles, I like John Shea’s narration of the entire Hawke series very much.
In summary, I would recommend “Spy” to all thriller-lovers, provided that you are not expecting realism, and that you are not thinking of illegal immigration as a racist issue. You can probably get away with listening to “Spy” (the fourth in the Alex Hawke series) out of series sequence, since each novel in the series does not rely too much on previous episodes. Indeed — as of this writing — we have no option but to listen to this series out-of-sequence, since Audible has not yet provided us with the 𝙛𝙞𝙧𝙨𝙩 installment, “Hawke.” (Hopefully, by the time you read this, “Hawke” will have been published in audio form!)
2 of 2 people found this review helpful