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by Jack Allen
Burping Frog Publishing, June 2002
ISBN: 0970305303

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Joshua McGowan is a Naval Intelligence operative, thrown into his most dangerous mission yet. He has to fly to a remote spot off the Russian coast to rescue a young KGB spy, who could be crucial to a Russian political movement. However, what McGowan does not know is that he is flying into a trap which could lead to the next Cold War.

'Change Of Heart' is clearly intended to be a spy thriller in the best traditions of James Bond, John Le Carre and Frederick Forsyth. However, Jack Allen is just beginning in this genre and cannot match up. Instead of a tightly-crafted thriller, we get an action-packed story that would test anyone's credulity to the limit.

The novel is interesting, but McGowan is too much of a superman to be believable. He manages to avoid helicopter crashes, he gets shot, stabbed, run over by a bus and numerous other problems afflict him. James Bond works through his snappy dialogue, interesting gadgets and other characters.Whereas Allen easily puts in enough action to swiftly convert the book into a movie, the dialogue requires better editing. A character will say a line, and then it will be repeated a couple of paragraphs later, clearly by accident. Sharper editing or closer proof-reading should easily have removed this problem.

The pace is fast and thriller fans could find something they enjoy here, but better editing is required. If the book was a tighter read, perhaps even with some of the action scenes dropped, it would be better. In this state, however, it is going to be stuck at the average level, which is a pity, since I feel that Allen definitely has a lot of talent that is waiting to be developed to its full potential.

Reviewed by Luke Croll, August 2002

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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