About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Dead Spy Running by John Stock

39. – 502.) Dead Spy Running by John Stock – I am on a run of spy novels. Suspended MI6 agent, Daniel Marchant, and his co-agent / lover Leila are late entrants in the London marathon. He is uneasy about an Asian runner with a heavy belt who is close to the American ambassador. Daniel thwarts the attempted assassination but is no hero in the twisted world of spies. His father, Stephen, the former head of MI6 had been forced from his position as he was suspected of supporting a South India terrorist cell attacking Americans. With the consent of senior MI5 British intelligence Daniel is given to the Americans and put on a rendition flight to Poland where he is waterboarded. (The description of this barbaric torture is extremely vivid.) Marcus Fielding, the austere head of MI6 cannot stop the rendition but he skillfully reacts when he learns what has happened. After being rescued Daniel travels to India seeking to clear his father’s reputation, vindicate his own actions and seek out the truth of the terrorist cell. It is not as grim as Le Carre but the use of sex for intelligence purposes is pervasive. The emotional consequences of casual sexual relations as an intelligence tool are touched upon but not explored. It is one of the few spy novels to give a female a prominent role. The conclusion is just as exciting as the beginning and genuinely unexpected. As with Le Carre there is an increasingly complex set of multiple intelligence agencies within each county of the Western world. The complications multiply because of their continual interactions with the agencies of other countries. Paperback or hardcover. (Sept. 23/09)


  1. Bill - Thanks for this review. This novel seems to really explore the complexities of the spy and espionage world, so it's no surprise that there's a certain amount of darkness in it. I'm glad that the story carries through on its promise in terms of excitement and pace. I'm also glad it doesn't neglect the layers and depths of the spy world.

  2. Hey Bill, glad you enjoyed Dead Spy Running. Do look out for the sequel, Games Traitors Play, which is out over there in March 2012. I'm currently holed up in the far west of Cornwall, writing book three.
    Btw, you're right to hint at the over complexity of all the agencies and their characters towards the end. I've worked on that in GTP and simplified it a bit, I hope.
    Best, wishes, Jon Stock (deadspyrunning@gmail.com)

  3. Margot: As set out in my reply to your comment on My Life as a Book 2011 it has not been a good weekend for me. Thanks for the comment. It is a fine line to tread when an author starts dealing with multiple intelligence agencies.

  4. Jon: Thanks for the comment. I will be looking in bookstores for the book next spring. I am sure it will do well.

  5. And, fingers crossed, watch out for the movie, too! Stephen Gaghan (Syriana, Traffic) to write and direct. Thanks again for reviewing the book.

    Best, Jon