Two nice reviews of Otto Penzler’s excellent spy story anthology Agents of Treachery single out yours truly for praise. In the Chicago Tribune, Julia Keller points out that, with Salt in theaters and Covert Affairs on TV, there’s a lot of espionage in the entertainment world this summer–but she says Agents is “the best of the lot.”
Andrew Klavan’s cheeky “Sleeping With My Assassin” is humorous, too, but in a darker way, a way that makes the laugh die in your throat. Like the narrator, you think you know exactly where the story is going — because you’re no sucker, no novice, and you’ve been around the block a few times, right? — but you don’t. And it features wide swaths of gorgeous writing, passages of savage cynicism that relax their grip just long enough to let the hope show through:
“But Jay — I’ll call him Jay — was different. … He knew the moral universe was not a simple machine in which you pour goodness in one end and goodness reliably comes out the other. All this made him better at his job than the academic whiz kids, more circumspect, more paranoid and thoughtful, less likely to make an easy trade for information. Subtlety, in fact, was the whole point for him. The unsaid thing that left open a world of possibilities. Which was his world — because, the way Jay saw it, you never really knew.”
Man, that is gorgeous writing–oh wait, that’s mine, sorry.
Also, our friends at David Horowitz’s News Reel Blog weigh in in the distinguished person of David Forsmark, who says of the anthology:
The cast of writers is a Who’s Who of spy fiction—including Lee Child, Joseph Finder Gayle Lynds, former head of MI-5 Stella Rimmington and Olen Stenihauer. But the Klavan, McCarry and Hunter stories alone are worth the price.
So, as a Soviet agent might say, buy book now, yes?