The Amateur Spy

The Amateur Spy

3.4 (244 ratings by Goodreads)
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Freeman Lockhart is working for his old friend Omar in Amman, Jordan. And spying on him too. Hoping to prevent his own secrets from ever coming to light, Freeman has agreed to report back on his friend to a clandestine agency interested in Omar's finances. In Washington DC, meanwhile, Aliyah Rahim is spying on her husband Abbas. A brilliant doctor, Abbas is crushed by the death of their daughter, which he blames on the post-9/11 mood of hostility towards Arab-Americans, and Aliyah fears he may be planning a terrifying act of revenge. Freeman and Aliyah are pitched into the same deadly game, in which the only rules are violence and more

Product details

  • Paperback | 448 pages
  • 128 x 192 x 32mm | 299.37g
  • Hodder & Stoughton General Division
  • Hodder Paperback
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • None
  • 034089685X
  • 9780340896853
  • 432,020

Review quote

Dan Fesperman's novels always offer interesting and thought-provoking commentary on contemporary world events and in THE AMATEUR SPY he tackles Middle East terrorism with a story that contains a disquietingly topical element...A fine thriller to add to his impressive body of work Susanna Yager, Sunday Telegraph A gritty verisimilitude against a subtle political backdrop. The scene-setting is vivid and dramatic. Mr Fesperman is especially good on the murky frontier where journalists, aid-workers and spies trade information...He is honing the genre of intelligent political thrillers. Foreign correspondents should note: they now have some new standards to match. Economist It goes without saying that Fesperman is a master of orchestrating tension - but he is equally good at characterising his vulnerable, conflicted protagonists Daily Express Fesperman taps another timely issue in his fourth topical thriller...a superb job Publishers Weekly Fascinating ... a thought-provoking and exciting read Observer on THE PRISONER OF GUANTANAMO An absorbing novel with some provocative commentary on America's war on terror Susannah Yager, Sunday Telegraph on THE PRISONER OF GUANTANAMO A neat sense of conspiratorial tension...Fesperman's use of spy tradecraft is good - even creative - and never more elaborate than the situation calls for Washington Post on THE PRISONER OF GUANTANAMO A superb spy thriller worthy of sharing shelf space with the novels of John le Carre and Ken Follett...darkly imaginative...draws a dramatic portrait USA Today on THE PRISONER OF GUANTANAMO A terrific novel of intrigue, duplicity and death in the shadow of the Khyber Pass...Fesperman is that rare journalist who is also a gifted novelist...first-rate Washington Post on THE WARLORD'S SON One of the best writers of intelligent thrillers based on contemporary events working today...observant, thoughtful, witty Baltimore Sun on THE PRISONER OF GUANTANAMO A new book by Dan Fesperman is becoming a major literary event ... an utterly compelling thriller and quite simply the best I've read all year. Sunday Telegraph on THE WARLORD'S SON Fesperman offers a level of cultural and political nuance not always found in adventure thrillers. Booklist on THE WARLORD'S SON A first-rate geopolitical yarn ... Fesperman combines his strong eye for detail with bleak film-noir cynicism, managing to make plot twists that could have felt contrived seem depressingly believable. Entertainment Weekly on THE WARLORD'S SON Dan Fesperman has written that rare thing: a fine and intelligent novel that makes you think, and keeps you turning the pages. Val McDermid on THE SMALL BOAT OF GREAT SORROWS In THE WARLORD'S SON, Dan Fesperman, an American foreign correspondent who covered the war in Afghanistan, succeeds in writing a convincing, accurate thriller ... This book is worth reading if only for the passage where the hero, Skelly, glimpses Osama bin Laden at a public hanging; the scene both convinces and frightens. The Economist on THE WARLORD'S SON Fesperman is the closest thing America has to John le Carre, a writer of great elegance and sophistication whose novels are as topical as they are compelling. In a market saturated by factory-made thrillers, Fesperman stands out as a spy novelist of the highest quality. Charles Cumming, The Weekshow more

About Dan Fesperman

Dan Fesperman, a war correspondent for the Baltimore Sun Times, has written five highly acclaimed novels of international suspense, including THE PRISONER OF GUANTANAMO which won the 2006 Hammett Prize awarded by the International Association of Crime Writers. Dan Fesperman also won the CWA John Creasey Award for best debut crime novel for LIE IN THE DARK in 1999 and his second novel, THE SMALL BOAT OF GREAT SORROWS, won the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for best thriller in 2003. He lives in Baltimore with his more

Review Text

Middle East intrigue swirls around an aid worker forced into a clandestine post-retirement mission - more classy suspense from Fesperman (The Prisoner of Guantanamo, 2006, etc.). Freeman Lockhart and his wife Mila have paid their dues. The two UN aid workers (he's American, she's Bosnian Serb) met during the siege of Sarajevo in 1992, then moved on to equally stressful assignments in Rwanda and Tanzania. Now they're retiring to their new home on a Greek island, but their first night is interrupted by three spooks (Freeman assumes they're CIA). They take Freeman to a nearby empty villa. They want him to go to Amman, Jordan, to check out a former colleague, Omar al-Baroody, a Palestinian. Omar has his own operation now, raising money for a hospital. But is it a front? Freeman's role will be to follow the money trail. He agrees in an effort to protect his wife: In Tanzania, Mila inadvertently caused a bloodbath, and Freeman wants desperately to protect her from this knowledge, but unless he plays ball, the spooks will enlighten her. In Amman he finds a welcoming Omar (Freeman will be his director of programs) but bitter rivalries among his cohorts. Fesperman, who has traveled widely, provides details with an insider's mastery: The gritty Bakaa refugee camp, a run-in with Jordan's own spy outfit and hairy side trips to Athens and Jerusalem are all nailed to perfection. Unfortunately, there is a parallel, much less convincing, story line involving a Palestinian-American married couple in suburban Washington. Their daughter has died, a victim of post-9/11 Arab profiling, and the father, a top surgeon, is plotting a spectacular revenge. Omar and Freeman's handlers recede into the background as the surgeon's wife, Aliyah, arrives in Amman, pursuing her own agenda. To add to the confusion, bombs are detonated by an unidentified group at three Amman hotels, killing scores. The hokey climax has Freeman confronting the surgeon in Washington. Despite the flaws, well worth reading - Fesperman's empathy for his protagonists, struggling to do the right thing, is impressive. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

244 ratings
3.4 out of 5 stars
5 14% (33)
4 31% (76)
3 41% (101)
2 10% (24)
1 4% (10)
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