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Wednesday, 12 July 2017

'particularly superb...' and 'simply chilling...'

Here’s a review of the paperback Mission: Prague, the first in the Tana Standish series:

There’s a particularly nifty twist to this espionage adventure, set behind the Iron Curtain in the mid-1970s. The smart, sexy female protagonist isn’t just a rare survivor from Warsaw’s WW2 ghetto. Nor is she merely a highly skilled covert operative, brought up by the British military establishment to be extremely effective against the KGB and its cohort agencies when she’s behind enemy lines.

Nope, Tana Standish has one more thing going for her: psychic talents.

These attributes don’t make her an invulnerable or less-than-credible superwoman. They’re neatly underplayed, a talent which isn’t understood or entirely controllable but which frequently tips the odds in her favour.

This mild shift into the land of ‘maybe’ is carefully contrasted with the grim, grey reality of life in Czechoslovakia in the Seventies, brought to heel seven years earlier by Soviet tanks, its citizens stifled by the relentless brutal mechanisms of an efficient totalitarian regime. An underground resistance cell has been compromised; a British agent fled and the Czechs are scared. Tana is assigned to put the network back together and use her special talents to ascertain if comms have been compromised, or worse.

The result is a running chase through the back streets and sewers of Prague, where the protagonists barely taste their black bread and spicy sausage between violent and amorous encounters….

The best scenes are the one-on-one confrontations, claustrophobic closed room battles of expert second-guessing. One particular superb scene is beautifully choreographed and delivered, dragging the reader into the sweat-soaked reality of being stalked by a stronger killer… a simply chilling chapter, the best in the book, where Tana must marshal all of her mental strength to resist the worst (and it is very bad) that her opponents employ against her…

Mission: Prague is a rollicking read, an intriguing mix of action-adventure, actual events and augmented espionage.

Thank you, reviewer Rowena Hoseason!

Available from Amazon as an e-book or paperback:

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