About Me

Ithaca, New York
MWF, now officially 42, loves long walks on the beach and laughing with friends ... oh, wait. By day, I'm a mid-level university administrator reluctant to be more specific on a public forum. Nights and weekends, though, I'm a homebody with strong nerdist leanings. I'm never happier than when I'm chatting around the fire, playing board games, cooking up some pasta, and/or road-tripping with my family and friends. I studied psychology and then labor economics in school, and I work in higher education. From time to time I get smug, obsessive, or just plain boring about some combination of these topics, especially when inequality, parenting, or consumer culture are involved. You have been warned.

Friday, May 4, 2012

#40: Agent 6

Agent 6, by Tom Rob Smith (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2012)

"Leo Demidov is no longer a member of Moscow's secret police. But when his wife, Raisa, and daughters Zoya and Elena are invited on a 'Peace Tour' to NewYork City, he is immediately suspicious. 

"Forbidden to travel with his family and trapped on the other side of the world, Leo watches helplessly as events in New York unfold and those closest to his heart are pulled into a web of political conspiracy and betrayal -- one that will end in tragedy.

"In the horrible aftermath, Leo demands only one thing: to investigate the killer who destroyed his family. His request is summarily denied. Crippled by grief and haunted by the need to find out exactly what happened on that night in New York, Leo takes matters into his own hands. It is a quest that will span decades, and take Leo around the world -- from Moscow, to the mountains of Soviet-controlled Afghanistan, to the backstreets of New York -- in pursuit of the one man who knows the truth: Agent 6."

Opening Line:
"The safest way to write a diary was to imagine Stalin reading every word."

My Take:
Not bad, but certainly the weakest in the trilogy that includes Child 44 and The Secret Speech. The first two books were solidly entertaining political thrillers; this one alternates between dragging a bit and jumping abruptly across way too much time and space for the reader to have a good grasp of what's going on. It's not clear if Smith's trying to write a thriller about the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan or a psychological novel about a secret policeman who starts having doubts about the rightness of all he's done, and it doesn't quite fit either niche correctly.

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