Our Kind of Traitor by John LeCarré

Still on our once-in-a-lifetime holiday. Still in Eden, munching on the bloody apple.

A Russian money launderer, Dima, meets an English couple: professor Perry and lawyer Gail in Antigua during their vacation. After becoming friends, Dima approaches Perry and Gail and confides in them. His suspects that gang members are killing off his mates and wants out of the crime business. He is willing to provide names and evidence of corruption in the British government and elsewhere in exchange for his and his family’s safety.

To Gail’s annoyance, Perry takes this as a personal mission. He gets in touch with Luke, Yvonne, and eventually Hector, MI6 people and conveys Dima’s message to them. The story then goes on as they (MI6 with the help of Perry and Gail) try to vet Dima’s story and transfer him to England, all the while nailing the corrupt politicians and other figures.

I don’t read many spy novels, in fact I can’t remember the last time I read one (I prefer murder mysteries and political thrillers). So this was a nice change from my usual reading. The plot is pretty straightforward and easy to follow, which was good since I was reading it during my first semester of grad school and I needed something that wasn’t mentally taxing. There wasn’t much of character development, it was plot-based rather than focused on the characters. Nevertheless, the characters were fascinating and their characterization was realistic-I could see them as real people.

The best thing about the book was the narrative and writing style. The way the story unfolds switching between conversations, flashbacks, current events, and then narrative flashbacks (are those even a thing? I mean when characters recount events). It was really entertaining to read it, a meta type of enjoyment.

Not a page turning but a fun read.

Score: 3.25/5

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