Spy Book Reviews by spy fans for spy fans!
Spy Hunter by H.B.Lyle- Spy Book Review by Martin Paul
Following the events of “The Year of the Gun,” our hero Wiggins has returned to civilian life, off the radar. It's 1914, and although the British government is in denial, his former boss Kell knows war is coming. When his attempts to re-recruit Wiggins fails, he assumes this is the last he will hear of his top (and only) spy.
However, through seemingly unrelated events, Wiggins witnesses the murder of his mentor and friend, Sherlock Holmes. Although he only has a glimpse of the killer, he knows who is responsible. With nowhere else to turn, he reluctantly joins forces with Kell, who discloses that Holmes is working for him.
And so the reader is swept into a chase across Europe in pursuit of an old enemy. Wiggins, wracked with grief and rage, uses all the skills and knowledge he learned at the feet of Holmes to track down the killer. He's still the same belligerent, no-nonsense spy readers have come to love, but this time, he's driven. This is full-on Wiggins, and it reads like a dream. Von Birk gets a bigger role to play and reveals just how accomplished a spy he is, and as his importance in the run-up to war is revealed, the pressure is on Wiggins to run him to ground. The scenes between them are superbly enacted and a delight to read.
As in previous books, while Wiggins is most comfortable in his native London when he gets to Brussels and beyond, he soon finds how different Europe can be. However, they do have excellent beer. Oh, and he gets to meet Mata Hari, who is revealed in a different light than what might be expected. There are chases where our hero employs all his skills, evading tails and encounters with so many colourful characters; it's a riot.
Kell also shines here – a man sure of his convictions about the imminent war, but with a suffragette wife and only a belligerent Winston Churchill for an ally, he is a man on the edge. But his trust in and confidence in Wiggins shines through, as does his love for his wife.
Dr. Watson has a role to play in the book, too – riddled with grief at the death of his friend, he embarks on his own search for the killer. This thread is a poignant one and will resonate with fans of the Conan Doyle stories.
Those fans of Holmes may not agree with “spin-off” stories about their favourite characters, but what HB Lyle has done with one of Conan Doyle's minor characters is nothing short of inspirational. There are echoes of John Buchan in these books, and enough hard-core spy stuff to keep aficionado's happy. The story ends with a promise there could be more adventures with Wiggins should the author choose to record them. We can but hope.
Order Your Copy of Spy Hunter. (Or better still, ask your local book shop to order you a copy.)