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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
In The Black Fox by Gordon Bickerstaff, scientist Gavin Shawlens has been targeted by the CIA for assassination for holding vital information that could bring the entire country to its knees. MI5 secret service captain Zoe Tampsin has been assigned to keep him alive and takes him underground until he can remember what is so valuable to the US government. A huge manhunt begins as not only the CIA trawl the UK to find them, but also British special forces who have been promised billions in military upgrades in exchange for Shawlens. With few weapons and even her own mentor trying to track them down, Zoe is facing her toughest mission yet and a decision that goes against all her instincts. But even she doesn't realize how far the intelligence services will go to flush them out.
I am not normally a fan of espionage novels but this author's skill in storytelling has certainly changed my mind. The plot is unique and fast paced with twists and turns throughout. I could not see how Zoe could escape from the dangerous situations, but somehow, she did. Every one of the many characters was so realistic, but all with personality flaws which made them all the more believable. The intricate details in the dialogue and narrative showed the author had researched his subject well. The deals that went on behind the closed doors of intelligence agencies were very interesting. I loved the relationship between Zoe and her brother Michael who knew her character so well; it was clear Zoe only allowed a few people close to her and he was definitely top of the list. Without giving anything away, I thought the scene between Karen and Zoe was a real tear-jerker. Zoe and Gavin had a great relationship too. They were complete opposite personalities and their exchanges were quite comical in parts as away from the subject of science, he wasn't the brightest or bravest. The tension and suspense were broken up cleverly with real emotional moments but also humour too. I highly recommend this novel but be prepared to go on a roller-coaster of never-ending action, thrills and intrigue.