Dick Thornby is not Hollywood’s idea of a spy. In his rough and tumble job there are no tailored Italian suits, no bimbos eager to please, and no massive underground fortresses built by evil overlords seeking world domination – just an endless series of sinister threats to the safety and security of the billions of mundane citizens of the planet. Sure, Dick’s tough and he knows a few tricks to help him get out of a tight spot, even if his boss accuses him of over-reliance on an abundance of explosives.
But he’s also got a mortgage, a wife upset by his frequent absences on “business” trips, and an increasingly alienated teen-age son who spends way too much time playing in gaming worlds on the computer.
When a young computer expert back at the Philadelphia headquarters for The Subsidiary, an international espionage agency created in the aftermath of 9/11, discovers that bad guys are involved in a vast conspiracy, Dick is forced to partner with the espionage neophyte to battle evil on multiple fronts, leading to a final confrontation that incorporates real-world conspiracy theories and cutting-edge technology.
In the end, Dick can save his partner, save his marriage, save his son, or save the world, but he can’t do it all.
Point of view:
3rd person. Multiple POVs, not by chapter, but clearly defined.
This is a difficult review for me. This book should be everything I love. An intersection of spycraft and gaming, a not-so-perfect agent, combined into a mystery/suspense/thriller novel. In some respects, I enjoyed Bruce Pilkerton’s narration. He has a wide variety of voices, accents, and emotions. Yet, somehow, I really struggled to get into the story and Pilkerton’s portrayal of the characters. I found myself constantly starting and stopping and having to remind myself to go back to it.
At about the 50% mark, I opted to just read it myself and things vastly improved. Bingle definitely has a talent at bringing together a huge cast of diverse characters and what initially seemed like unrelated events into a compelling thriller. It crossed a lot of genres – but in a way that I personally enjoyed. As a gamer myself, the MMORPG aspect was enjoyable and it was a treat to experience Dick’s uncertainty in that world.
This isn’t a cliffhanger, but Bingle does leave some loose ends in secondary storylines. I’m looking forward to reading Wet Work.
I really think that this was an issue of the specific combination of this narrator with this story not working for me. I would be willing to listen to Pilkerton again, probably in a different genre.
I own the ebook, but did receive a free copy of this audiobook from Story Origin and am voluntarily leaving an honest review.
About the author:
Donald J. Bingle is the author of six books and more than sixty shorter tales in the science fiction, fantasy, thriller, horror, mystery, steampunk, romance, comedy, and memoir genres. He has a longer bio and delightful list of “random true facts” here.
You can connect with Donald J. Bingle here:
My Favorite Quotes
Now he knew what it felt like to be collateral damage. – Net Impact by @donaldjbingle #DickThornby #Thriller #Spy #SuspenseTweet
Dick hated anomalies. All spies did. They usually meant something, something important. – Net Impact by @donaldjbingle #DickThornby #Thriller #Spy #SuspenseTweet