EXCERPT: ‘I’m a bit confused,’ says Cordelia. ‘I don’t even know if this is right for me. I don’t agree with half of what we seem to do. It’s not exactly glamorous, is it? And look at the mistakes we’ve made. Nobody ever seems to answer a question properly. I mean, is there any point to any of it? Intelligence, counter-intelligence, stealing secrets, selling secrets, finding out who’s selling to who and whether what they’re selling is worth the price. It’s just, I don’t know, I suppose that I had it in my mind that the people who knew these things, who made the big decisions – I thought they’d be a bit more . . .’
‘Impressive?’ asks Walt, sucking his lips back over his teeth and pulling a face. ‘Yes, we are something of a disappointment, aren’t we?’
ABOUT ‘THE WHISPERING DEAD’: Cordelia Hemlock is teetering on the verge of joining MI6 when she meets the enigmatic Walt, a high-ranking member of the Secret Intelligence Service, who tells her: They won’t want you to do well. They won’t ever trust you. They don’t trust me and I’m one of them. She takes this as a challenge rather than a warning. She wants to protect the nation. Serve Queen and country. Who would turn down such a glorious opportunity?
Fourteen years later, Cordelia is desk-bound after finishing an undercover operation and going quietly mad with boredom. So when the call comes through on the top-secret Pandora line – so-called after the locked-box the telephone is kept in – she answers it.
It’s Walt. No longer officially MI6, he still inhabits the murky world of intelligence, where information always comes with a price. He tells her he has a secret to share with her – and only her. And once she knows it, nothing will ever be the same again . . .
MY THOUGHTS: To quote from The Whispering Dead itself, ‘about as inviting as a crocodile’s mouth’ and ‘something of a disappointment’.
I struggled throughout most of this, confused and bewildered. Occasionally I felt like I had found my feet, only to have the rug pulled out from under them only a page or two later.
I can now appreciate how Alice felt, tumbling down the rabbit hole.
I am not a spy thriller aficionado in the first place, although I have read a few wonderful ones, but I rather think that this experience may have put me off the genre for good.
I: @davidmarkwriter @severnhouseimprint
T: @davidmarkwriter @severnhouse
#contemporaryfiction #friendship #historicalfiction #spythriller
THE AUTHOR: David spent more than fifteen years as a journalist, including seven years as a crime reporter with the Yorkshire Post – walking the Hull streets that would later become the setting for the Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy novels.
He has also written for the theatre and has contributed articles and reviews to several national and international publications. He is a regular performer at literary festivals and is a sought-after public speaker. He also teaches creative writing. (Amazon – abridged)
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Severn House via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Whispering Dead by David Mark for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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