I’ve hit a wall. I’ve abandoned two books in a row. The first, which got good reviews on Amazon, was so horribly written that I gave up after two chapters. The second, a piece of alternative-history fiction, I gave 100 pages. But I was sure I would get more annoyed and less entertained as I continued. I’m going to start over tomorrow. Here is a book I did finish, though, a couple weeks ago.

Morning Spy, Evening Spy – Colin MacKinnon.
Where once spy novels focused on the Cold War battles between East and West, or perhaps took a historical angle back to World War II, today the genre feels dominated by War on Terror centered plots. Which makes sense, as that’s what most of the intelligence community is focused on these days.

Here, MacKinnon layers the search for the killers of a former CIA employee in Pakistan with the slow arrival in the United States of the 9/11 terrorists. Naturally, it all ties together, and just as there were elements of the US intelligence community who were aware something was going to happen if not necessarily what, in the book the agents at the center of the story get right up against the 9/11 plot before losing their source who could have tipped them off before the attacks.

There’s plenty of good stuff here. It is one of the better reviewed spy novels of recent years. But there was something about the pacing of the novel that kept me from getting sucked in the way I wanted to be. It feels like a solid 3.5 star book, but ends up being disappointing because it could have been much more.