Friday, February 6, 2015

A Spy Came Home / HN Wake

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Thriller

Approximate word count: 80-85,000 words

Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: NO  Smashwords: NO  Paper: YES
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An ex-patriot for more than twenty years, HN Wake finally came home. She lives with her husband on the East Coast of the US. This is her debut novel.

For more, visit her website.


“Today, the United States faces unprecedented levels of gun violence. Massacres are taking place in communities on a regular basis. In schools, lockdown drills are now as commonplace as fire drills. Politicians on Capitol Hill, impotent in the face of one of the most influential lobbying powers, have failed to pass gun legislation since 1994.

Mac Ambrose, a twenty-year veteran of the CIA, is recruited by her closest friends to run a domestic operation: bring down the gun lobby by any means necessary so the Senate can pass a new assault weapons ban. In four weeks.

From the hearing rooms of Capitol Hill, to the rolling hills of Kentucky and the wealthy suburbs of New Orleans, Mac flawlessly sets the traps of a multi-pronged strategy to ensnare a lawmaker, a lobbyist and a gun manufacturer. From a safe house in Philadelphia, she rediscovers relationships forsaken in the name of national security.”


I knocked a star off for falling short in applying the final polish on this novel with an overabundance of copyediting and proofing misses. (A couple issues that happened multiple times were confusing, such as ‘led’ and ‘lead’ as well as ‘road’ instead of ‘rode.’) But for those able to overlook or who just don’t notice those things, there’s a good story here. One I found interesting because it takes on one of today’s hot-button political issues.

That issue (“common sense” gun laws) is one that (sorry, I can’t help myself) gets people up in arms, especially those on either extreme. Some would outlaw all guns except for possibly military and law enforcement while there are those on the other end of the spectrum who think it’s their absolute right (given to them by God and the constitution) to have a veritable armory complete with missiles and tanks in their front yard if they desire. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle with many polls indicating a majority of Americans believe that some moderate additional restrictions on gun purchase and ownership makes sense. For those on either extreme, this story isn’t likely to appeal. For those in the middle, it might.

What I liked about the approach Ward took to telling her story is that while I had no problem suspending disbelief while reading it, there was never any doubt when I put it down that it was fiction. Nothing turns me off faster than a story with a political point to make that sacrifices story for preaching, even when I’m generally in agreement with their point. While A Spy Came home has a definite slant that would turn off extremists, the “good guys” weren’t always perfect and at least some of the “bad guys” have redeeming qualities as well. I found the story fast-paced with enough nuance to keep me interested.


Some adult language.

Format/Typo Issues:

A large number of proofreading and copyediting misses.

Rating: *** Three Stars

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Al, for your review! I'm bald you liked the book.

Apologies that you had to slog through the copyedit/proofing misses. I've since hired a copy editor and the novel is now clean. A rookie mistake for sure.

Thanks again for your time.