Twice a Spy By Keith Thomson
== Plot ==
This is set two weeks after the last book in this series, Once A Spy.
Charlie and his dad, Drummond Clark, a former spy are being pursued by the CIA as a result of what happened at the end of the last novel. They have been framed and have some bogus criminal charges levelled against them. They are now hiding in Switzerland along with a former NSA agent and Charlie's girlfriend, Alice Rutherford.
Drummond Clark suffers from alzheimer's disease and while in Switzerland they are trying out an experimental therapy to help him recall his memory.
When Alice is kidnapped, father and son must team up to rescue her and at the same time keep one step ahead of the CIA who are on their tail . . .
== My thoughts ==
I enjoyed the first novel in this series and I was looking forward to this. I would recommend you read Once A Spy first to get an idea of what is going on and to get familiar with the characters. You do get a recap in this as to what happens in the first novel but I would still recommend you read the first one.
It is written in a light-hearted way. The main thing that kept me reading was the relationship between Charlie and Drummond Clark. Drummond's condition makes for some humorous moments. I am not sure if the effects of alzheimer's are accurately portrayed by the author, but I found it an entertaining way to learn about how the condition affects people.
Drummond Clark is my favourite character in this novel. He is what James Bond would be like if he was in his 60's and had Alzheimer's. He slips in and out of lucidity, so one minute he's disoriented and being an old aged pensioner, the next he's killing a few assassins. I liked the interplay between father and son, as Charlie tries to coax answers out of him as to what they should do next or ways for them to escape.
For example, Charlie may say, 'Dad, how do we get off this boat without being killed?' and his dad will say 'I don't know', but then Charlie will say, 'What would you do if you were a secret agent and you were stuck on a boat with no way of escape?'. His dad then ends up giving a detailed escape plan.
I didn't like Charlie's character though. He is a life long gambler, who likes to bet on horse racing. He seems to have learnt a lot of spy craft since the short period between the last novel in this series which was hard to believe. He is able to do counter surveillance like a pro and dawn disguises at a drop of a hat.
I liked the simple writing style and the fact that the author concentrates on the story instead of over describing the environment the characters are in. He explains spy terminology in layman's terms so you can understand what's going on even if you don't read many spy novels.
It is written in a light hearted way and you know you can't take any of it too seriously. However, this meant I never thought Charlie and his dad were in any real danger even when they were supposed to be. There are twists and turns but apart from the scenes with Drummond and Charlie, I didn't care about the rest of the story. If this had been a stand-alone story with Drummond and Charlie, then I would have thought the twists were very smart and unexpected but I didn't really care in this novel. The plot carries on from the first novel and is too strung out and long-winded when there isn't much there to begin with. It ends up having a few set-pieces mainly involving Charlie and Drummond being chased or being taken prisoner and trying to escape.
== Audio narration ==
The narrator is Danny Campbell and this was 10 hours and 6 mins in length. It was unabridged.
I didn't like the narrator's voice. It has a rough edge to it and he was unable to give character to the different voices in the novel. The only voice I thought he could do well was that of Drummond Clark. The reader has a deep elderly sounding voice. This meant he couldn't really change his voice much.
== Summary and recommendation ==
I would give this one star. There were bits that made me smile, mainly when Charlie and Drummond are talking to each other. Apart from that, there isn't anything to like about this. The plot is uninteresting and has many of the same elements as the first novel.