If you enjoy spy novels or thrillers, you're familiar with MI6, British intelligence service. I love the novels but tend to take the plot with a grain of salt. Not this time, though. Matthew Dunn is a long-time veteran of MI6 himself and has based his hero, Will Cochrane, on himself and his own experiences. The plot of Sling Shot in fact is based on an actual case. That got my attention right away.
Cochrane is of course sort of a superspy but he's also human and is vulnerable when the villain threatens his only sister. Their parents died years ago so she is his only family and he goes to great lengths to keep her safe, despite her resentment of his work and the danger that ensues from it. Actually his Achilles heel in general is that he cares about people and tries to do the right thing, which is often a hindrance to his mission. This is a man you can really admire and cheer for.
The plot concerns a secret agreement between six Russian and American military and intelligence people overseen by a German, Kurt Schreiber, who was previously an East German Stasi officer. Schreiber is devious and the opposite of Cochrane in that he doesn't care about anything or anyone but himself. His goal is power and control of the major countries of the world. He'll stop at nothing to achieve his goals, even killing entire families. He has hired an assassin, a man who he calls Kronos, who has unbelievable skills in entering buildings undetected and in killing.
Cochrane becomes involved in stopping Schreiber when he tries to intercept transfer of a Russian spy. He knows nothing about the big scheme until much later, but the more he learns, the more horrified he is and the more determined he is to find out who is in charge and how to stop him.
The characters here are either sympathetic or totally hateful, and both types are skillfully drawn so that they are realistic, except for a few who seem a little over the top, i.e. Schreiber but then this particular character must be completely evil. I admired the way Dunn created these people so efficiently and yet so fully. One scene I remember concerns Cochrane and a woman who has become innocently a victim of the plot. She has a baby girl and when the stroller breaks, she hands the baby to Cochrane. This man is so tough but holding the baby he turns to mush. He's so afraid he'll trip and fall and he carries the child inside his coat to keep her warm. Thankfully she cuddles right up to him and he gets her safely home. This same man can become a killing machine when necessary.
I'm so glad to have discovered Matthew Dunn's Spycatcher series. There is one previous novel called Sentinel which I have put on my list of books to read. I look forward to more Will Cochrane adventures.
Source: Partners in Crime Book Tours