Monday, January 23, 2012

Review: "Agent 6" by Tom Rob Smith

From Goodreads:  Tom Rob Smith--the bestselling, award-winning author of Child 44, and one of the most critically-acclaimed new writers of our time--returns with a thrilling and provocative new novel: AGENT 6
How far would you go to solve a crime against your family? It is 1965. Leo Demidov, a former secret police agent, is forbidden to travel with his wife and daughters from Moscow to New York. They are part of a "Peace Tour," meant to foster closer relations between the two Cold War enemies. On the tour, Leo's family is caught up in a conspiracy and betrayal that ends in tragedy. In the horrible aftermath, Leo demands one thing: that he be allowed to investigate and find the attacker that struck at the heart of his family on foreign soil. From the highest levels of the Soviet government, he is told No, that is impossible. Leo is haunted by the question: what happened in New York?

In a surprising, epic story that spans decades and continents--from 1950s Moscow to 1960s America to the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s--Leo's long pursuit of justice will force him to confront everything he ever thought he knew about his country, his family, and himself.

My Thoughts:  I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  I read Child 44 a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I even enjoyed The Secret Speech.  Both were fast moving, action-packed thrillers with a historical twist.  That being said, Agent 6 is quite different than previous Leo Demidov books.  There seemed to be a lot happening in the beginning but then the story sort of faltered.  You don't even find out the significance of the title of the book until the last 50-60 pages.  I didn't dislike this book because I have always liked Leo as a character but I was surprised that the author let him become so weak in this book.  In the previous two books, he was smart, strong and had a strong moral compass whereas in this book, he gets lost for a good chunk of the story and succumbs to drugs and depression.  Another thing that bothered me about this book was how anticlimactic it was.  Throughout the story, Leo is seeking out the truth and looking for justice for a crime against his family but when he finds out what really happened, there weren't any great revelations or surprises.  In Smith's previous books there were big 'Holy Cow' moments and this one just didn't have it.  Overall, I am glad I read this book so I could find out more about Leo's life after leaving the secret police but it just doesn't compare to Smith's past works.  There were also a lot of loose ends left at the end of the story but I am kind of hoping that Smith doesn't try to write another Leo Demidov book.  3 stars.


  1. A shame you didn't enjoy it as much as the first.

    Thanks for stopping by Book'd Out earlier!

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  2. Bad review all 3 books were amazing and told a different part of the soviet story. The third book in particular showed that all people even the a decorated solider are human and can be overcome by lose and depression and find something like drugs to fill that void. It jumped forward quite a bit but it told a good story all around. I love tom rob Smith's writing and Leo as a character I spent hours contimplating each book and have read all of them numerous times. I hope he does write another Leo book ! I would love to see him perhaps back pedle telling about his years fighting in the red army pushing the werhmacht out of soviet union and bring if forward to his trial where key figures from all three books are some how involved in his trial .

    Great writer great historical writer one of the best since Alan furst prolly better than furst . All his books get top ratings from me my fav is child 44 but only by a small margain!


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