Title: A Young Man’s Game
Author: Paul Blake
Publisher: New Generation Publishing
Date of Publication: 18th June 2018
Date of Review: 1st August 2018
Alec Foster is no Jason Bourne.
He is Head of Section in Berlin for M16. He is fifty-one, and a borderline alcoholic counting down the days to retirement. Alec is told of a plot to assassinate a British Minister and that there is a traitor in M16.
As he tries to uncover the traitor, he is chased across Berlin by the assassins, Russian SVR and the Berlin Police. He must use his long-forgotten skills and push his body to the very limits to survive.
He comes face to face with actions from his past, as everything and everyone he cares about is threatened.
From the outset this fast-paced spy-thriller draws the reader into Alec Foster’s world by juxtaposing the setting of his work place alongside him receiving a text from his niece, Sarah. This gives an insight into how Alec’s all-consuming career working for MI6 has impacted on his personal life over the years, scuppering any chance of an ordinary family life, or indeed romance. We quickly learn that Sara is just about the only family he has; apart from Sarah, the only people in his life are his work colleagues.
When Alec receives inside information of a plot to assassinate the prime minister, his informant is shot and Alec soon becomes the number one suspect. An intense game of cat and mouse then ensues as Alec is forced to use his skills to outwit those hot on his heels. He knows somebody at the embassy is behind the plot but doesn’t know who. When Alec worked as an agent out in the field he was used to working alone and thinking on his feet but now he’s not as young or as fit as he once was and he’s going to needs help this time. But just who can he trust?
The author has given this middle-aged protagonist some fab flaws. As well as shutting himself off emotionally from those around him and reluctant to ask for help, he is also a technophobe. He might have got away with it twenty-five years ago but with technology now the forefront of intelligence this is a huge disadvantage. He packs a great punch though, and there are some awesome punch-ups. The dramatic visuals are convincingly good, especially when Alec confronts the antagonist in the climatic scene; I can see this novel making a good film.
This third-person narrative has it all: action, suspense, even romance. And just when you think it’s all over… WHAM! .. another twist in the tale where events of the past put him in danger yet again. Alec Foster is a fantastic character and I hope this isn’t the last we hear of him.
Under Literature Love’s rating scheme, this book has been awarded 5 out of 5 stars for its genre. This means: I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t put it down.
Thank you to the author for an Advance Review Copy of this book.