52Under2: A Spy Like Me by Laura Pauling

The book I am reviewing this week for 52Under2 is A Spy Like Me by Laura Pauling. It is about 69000 words long and is available on Smashwords for $2.99.

Congratulations to Laura Pauling on the release of her novel.

Savvy Bent lives in Paris and works for her father’s company: Spy Games. When her date gets shot at in public it stop being a game.

This book delivered pretty much everything you’d expect from a spy thriller: action, mystery, a European city setting, and plot twists – oh so many plot twists.

First the good stuff.

The character of Savvy was likeable and not as useless as some YA heroines. I liked that she was on a date with Malcolm and it was no big thing. Even though she’d been eyeing him up for a few weeks the date wasn’t the be all and end all to her it was just a date – just a case of seeing how it went between them. This was a good contrast to a lot of YA novels where achieving a date with the one-true-boy is all the protagonist cares about. Savvy, initially, flying bullets notwithstanding, has bigger concerns like her job and family .

The action was well written. Savvy’s abilities were believable. The other spies and assassins… well that was less believable – I’d expect professionals to be more effective. Then again a lot of the book relies upon you not knowing who is playing what side, so maybe they couldn’t be conspicuously effective.

The bad stuff.

Epic plot twists and turns. So, it’s a spy novel and these things are expected, but I’d like for it all to make sense in the end. There were explanations given midway that made sense after the first plot twist (sort of) but not after the final plot twist (these points were never revisited). This is why I didn’t like the TV show Alias either.

The final explanation came very abruptly followed by a fairly abrupt ending that left things wide open for a sequel. It also left an awful lot of questions unanswered. (It’s really hard to be anything other than vague when discussing things of a spoilery nature.)

It was also very unclear why the father-daughter relationship was the way it was. How much did the father know? Was he in on anything? Why didn’t he take his daughter’s concerns seriously? More questions.

It was a book that left me wanting answers, but not in a good way.

Overall, I’d give this book 3 out of 5.

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