Title: Not My Spook! (Spy vs. Spook #1)
Cover artist: Paul Richmond
Publisher: Dreamspinner press
Amazon: Buy Link Not My Spook! (Spy vs. Spook)
Length: 350 pages
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
A guest review by Sirius
Summary: I enjoyed this book more than the first one, but repetitive storytelling still annoyed me.
Highly ranked CIA officer Quinton Mann finds himself in a relationship with Mark Vincent—for exactly five days. At that point, Mark uses the excuse of going to Massachusetts for his mother’s funeral to end it. But Quinn’s a spook, and you can’t fake a faker.
Mark fears he’s getting in too deep with Quinn, hence the disappearing act. Then Quinn does something unexpected, something nobody has ever done before: he comes after Mark. Maybe being in a relationship with Quinn isn’t such a bad idea. In the meantime, something strange is going on in the intelligence community worldwide. When Quinn disappears while investigating a rogue antiterrorist organization, Mark makes up his mind. Quinn might be a spook, but he’s Mark’s spook, damn it—and once he gets Quinn home, he intends to keep him. He just has to find him first.
<>h2>Spy vs Spook Series
I reviewed the first book in these series here. As you can see I had my issues with that book, but still liked it enough to continue with the series. I definitely liked this one better overall, but the issues that bothered me were still there, although to a lesser degree, or maybe I just got used to them.
I loved the developments in the relationship between Mark and Quinn, I thought that their mutual insecurities and slowly but the surely growing attachment between them were very well done. Mark especially seemed to be more self aware at the end of the story as to what he wants and how he feels about Quinn, probably because he was a bit more clueless in the first place, so his progress felt more visible to me. Quinn grew as character too of course, but as I said above, he felt a little bit more put together in the first place to me and maybe a tad more in touch with his feelings :). These two are definitely well portrayed and multidimensional characters.
Mark still felt a bit too “murder” happy for me, but at least in this book he seems to kill people who could be characterized as somewhat bad guys (and actual bad guys too of course). – I did not notice him killing people whose only sin was to give information to the rival intelligence organization, so that was a huge improvement for me.
I really liked that this book had an actual subplot which dealt with them fighting actual bad guys, because from the first book one would think that all American intelligence organisations do are fight each other.
As you may also see from my review of the first book, I really disliked the repetitive narrative style. It drove me a little nuts when so many parts of the story were retold from both Mark and Quinn’s POVs. I was having de ja vu all over again, wondering why do I need to read the repeat if it does not give me any new information which is vital to the plot and character development.
Was I hoping that this story would be told without those repetitions? Yes, I absolutely did, although I suspected that probably the two books were edited together and it was not very likely. So yes the narrative style is still the same, and mostly as irritating and stopping me from enjoying this story as much as I could have and wanted to. The good thing is that at least sometimes I could see the rationale for those repetitions – some events were concealed from other guy POV and seeing two perspectives helped to make the story richer, but for the most parts it annoyed me quite a lot.
Despite my issues with how story was told I am still curious to read the next part in the series – the MC are just too memorable and fun.