on March 17, 2012 :
A very different slant on a spy thriller. Actually, thriller isn't the right tag. KVSPARROW is a textbook. It's a window into the often tedious life of a convincingly real operative. One believes the author really is—or was—a spook. The realism is phenomenal although admittedly less than exciting at times but he warned us of that from the start. Even the sex scene is reduced to "It's nobody's business but ours."
(reviewed 8 days after purchase)
on March 17, 2012 :
James Bond and Jason Bourne are pretty cool, right? Yes, of course they are. But there's nothing "cool" about the unnamed protagonist in KVSPARROW. Although he occupies the same world of espionage and skulduggery as Bond and Bourne ostensibly do, his world is gritty, brutal, and realistic. This is not movie espionage here, and while that might be less "cool", it's infinitely more entertaining and informative for those of us who are interested in peeking into that shadow world as it really is.
The author, who goes by DAK, is clearly trying not only to entertain, but also to inform readers about how covert operations are actually planned and carried out. The prose is peppered liberally with explanations of and ruminations on operational security, contingency planning, etc. Although this is fictional, and based on only one operation that takes place in postwar Kosovo, one can tell that the author knows whereof he writes.
Despite the fact that it's a first-person narrative, the protagonist seemed a little difficult to relate to at times, but that may be because of how mission-focused the story is. We don't learn a lot about him, but maybe it's better that way. And, if my wishes are fulfilled, we'll be seeing more of him anyway.
All in all, this is a great book that breaks many genre conventions and remains grounded in realism and believability throughout, even where it might have been more convenient to the story to not do so. If you're into reading about espionage that could actually happen in the real world, read this thing.
(reviewed the day of purchase)