Thursday, September 17, 2015
Review of Black Bear by Aly Monroe (2013, John Murray)
Black Bear is the fourth book in the Peter Cotton series. It’s quite a curious book, being somewhat compelling despite the fact that very little seems to happen. Cotton wakes in a clinic, slowly recovers, is discharged and heads away on vacation to recover, he makes friends with a couple of locals, and interacts with a couple of American and British intelligence agents. And yet, Monroe manages to make all that mundanity somehow interesting, in part by driving the story along through character development, in part by capturing the reader’s need to discover what happened to him, and in part by layering in authentic historical detail. I found the ending somewhat of anti-climax, but then the whole story is under-played, a kind of antithesis of the spills and thrills variety of spy tale. Assuming that’s partly the aim, the book succeeds admirably.