The Spy Who Jumped Off the Screen by Thomas Caplan, Viking Adult, January 2012
...a mediocre thriller at best
A Hollywood actor who used to be a Spec Ops soldier, a beautiful English jewelry designer, an international disarmament specialist and finally a billionaire with a luxurious yacht that doubles as a small city are the characters in this spy thriller. The theft of nuclear bombs from the former Soviet Union is the plot driver. The action moves from the Black Sea, to London, Rome, Tangiers and Gibraltar. All the ingredients of a good thriller are present. Ty Hunter the actor is given a secret mission by the US President to infiltrate the closed circle of friends around Ian Santal the billionaire suspected of smuggling the nukes out of Russia. Hunter falls in love with Ian’s god daughter, the beautiful Isabella. Isabella unfortunately is engaged to Ian’s business partner Philip Frost. Hunter immediately suspects that Frost is the driving force in getting the nukes into Arab hands. The hunt is on for the proof and the nukes as the characters bounce around the Mediterranean from Tangiers to Spain and then Gibraltar. In the end as expected Hunter finds the nukes, gets the girl and has the villain get away to live again in a sequel.
Let me say first off that I did read this book almost straight through to the end. While it is far from the worst thriller I’ve read there were quite a few shortcomings to this story. The plot moves along very slowly with almost no action for pages on end. The descriptions of the technical details of the nuclear bombs (arming, disarming, moving, shielding, etc.) went on way too long. The character development was fairly thin, the villains actually got better back stories more fully described that the good guys. The dialogue is wooden and cliché filled.
I was surprised to see the glowing introduction written by Bill Clinton (a famous reader of thrillers) until I read he was a college friend of the author. My opinion, different from Bill’s, is this is a mediocre thriller at best. Read something by Daniel Silva, Alex Berenson or Paul Haig for a good thriller.
I read a copy of this novel provided by the publisher.