30 July 2019
Maggie Sloan always knew that she wanted to be a spy. She is unusual, almost emotionless. More than just a loner, she separates herself from the world, looking in at it, observing everything, making copious notes and filing them away, but not truly engaging with other people. This in an adult would be odd enough, but Maggie has been this way since a child. But do not pity her, because Maggie has grown up happily enough. We see snapshots of her early life – an absent father and over-protective mother – which seem to be filled with trivial episodes, yet like an expert quilt-maker, Judith A. Barrett creates an image of this character which is so strong, that she is far more flesh and blood in this, her first book, than many others become through a whole series. And I truly hope that this is the beginning of a series, because I want to spend a lot more time with Maggie. There is death and betrayal along the way to Maggie connecting with other people, but the delight she finds as she learns to live: to cook, colour-coordinate (she was always in first black, then grey shades), open up to love, learn fighting and weapon skills and ultimately put everything she ever learned into practice, is truly affecting. Oh, and she sees imaginary people – a side-effect of a medical procedure – which is presented so matter-of-factly that no one can question their existence. Maggie will haunt you long after you put the book down.
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Have you read I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SPY? Maggie Sloan Thriller, Book 2 is in the works!