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The Amateur Spy

3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  202 ratings  ·  26 reviews
The Amateur Spy recasts the spy novel for the post-9/11 world—anyone might be watching, everyone is suspect.

Freeman Lockhart, a humanitarian aid worker and his Bosnian wife have just retired to a charming house on a Greek island. On their first night, violent intruders blackmail Freeman into spying on an old Palestinian friend living in Jordan. Meanwhile, in Washington, D
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 10th 2009 by Vintage (first published July 12th 2007)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 3* of five

The Book Description: The Amateur Spyrecasts the spy novel for the post-9/11 world—anyone might be watching, everyone is suspect.

Freeman Lockhart, a humanitarian aid worker, and his Bosnian wife, have just retired to a charming house on a Greek island. On their first night, violent intruders blackmail Freeman into spying on an old Palestinian friend living in Jordan. Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., a Palestinian-American named Aliyah Rahim is worried about her husband, who bla
Charles Matthews
Got plot?

It’s the one thing a thriller writer has to have, and the one thing a reviewer must not reveal very much of. Which makes reviewing thrillers difficult because, frankly, most thrillers don’t have much of anything else.

Dan Fesperman has two good plots in his new novel, “The Amateur Spy.” Here are their setups.

Freeman Lockhart, a retired United Nations aid worker, is blackmailed into spying on an old friend. He doesn’t even know which country he’s spying for, or what his handlers, who seem
Nancy Ellis
I almost didn't get past page 70 with this book. It started out with everything I can't stand to read or hear about....the UN and its "humanitarian" work, the poor downtrodden "palestinians", and.....well, you get the point. It is so well written, however, that I couldn't help but be drawn into the story, even though I never could stand any of the characters in the book. I did love one quote in particular on page 285: "In Jerusalem, belief as a form of aggression achieved near perfection. Whethe ...more
Apr 05, 2008 Corny rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Corny by: Previous novels by same author
Fesperman's novels have always been intricately plotted with lots of local color and clearly well researched venues all over the world. This book is disappointing. While the local color is still there, this time Amman, Jerusalem, and Greece, the plot is truly absurd and leaves many loose ends. The characters, unlike previous novels, are not believable, especially the moody surgeon Abbas and the enigmatic Omar. Very little makes sense and although you are carried along by the narrative for many p ...more
Why have I never heard of this author before??? I thought this was an outstanding spy story, with real characters & a believable plot.
Freeman Lockhart, retired aid worker, moves to a remote Greek island with his wife, only to be blackmailed into spying on an old friend in Jordan. Lockhart travels to Amman and fumbles his way through an adventure complete with lies, threats, and bombs. Like most of Fesperman's adventures, this story is easy to read and entertaining. While Fesperman expertly describes the political and physical reality in the Middle East, the plot is flawed. Characters operate under unclear motivation and threat ...more
Interesting plot twists with plenty of people intrigue
Could have been much better. I guess it works well enough for a spy story, but if you know anything about the middle east you get frustrated with the depictions of Jordan and the Palestinian issue. Plus, I found it a bit offensive that their were two main protaginists, but the story of the white american was told in first person, while the arab-american woman was told in third.
Gary Sedivy
Good tale of a professor-type being blackmailed into going to the Middle East to get information on some shadow terrorist group. He has been a UN aid worker and observer, and has 'friends' in the area. Even though he knows the language and some of the people, he has no idea what is actually happening. I liked it.
Katherine Clark
This is one of those books I wish I could choose 2 1/2. It took me a long time to read this book. It moved vry slowly. I just finished it, and I have to say I am not completely satisfied with it. It is well written, and I am curious about his other books, but I guess I'm a little confused by it.
Nina Chachu
At various points throughout this book I kept wondering whether the narrator, Freeman Lockhart, was indeed what he said he was - an amateur spy. Even now I still wonder to what extent he was telling the truth. So a lot of questions raised, and many not answered. But a fun read, nevertheless.
I have read 3 of Dan's books recently because I got caught up in his ability to spin a tale about current events that have left us with so many unanswered questions and concerns. This was my second on my list of favorites written by him, The Prisoner of Guantamo being my favorite.
Despite my 3 rating, I enjoyed the book. It was my first Fesperman and his intricate and slow plotting is the sort of mystery/spy novel I like. The plot doesn't really hang together in spots but ... well, I enjoyed it.
Pris Campbell
I enjoyed this book. The characters were a stretch at times, but the setting was detailed and rich in impressions of an area of the world most of us have read about but not seen.
Overall an interesting concept, and some of it was really well written. However, there was so much exposition, and so little actual plot that I couldn't get into it.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christopher Culp
Terrific location dewcriptions and atmospherics, but the plot and characters could have been stronger.
Arab-American black-mailed into spying in the Middle East for nasty undercover organization
That you can never trust those development professionals are telling the truth about who they are!
Again, I very much enjoy the characters and the stories Dan Fesperman creates.
Sep 11, 2007 Jen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Pick by Mark from The Economist - got good review. Should be out in US soon.
Excellent entertaining Tom Clancy shorter taking place post 9/11.
pretty good read storie was a bit predictable
Too much international, and Islam/Jew intrigue. added it
Oct 03, 2015
Sidney added it
Oct 05, 2015
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Dan Fesperman’s travels as a writer have taken him to thirty countries and three war zones. Lie in the Dark won the Crime Writers’ Association of Britain’s John Creasey Memorial Dagger Award for best first crime novel, The Small Boat of Great Sorrows won their Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for best thriller, and The Prisoner of Guantánamo won the Dashiell Hammett Award from the International Asso ...more
More about Dan Fesperman...
The Arms Maker of Berlin The Double Game Layover in Dubai The Small Boat of Great Sorrows Lie In The Dark

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“In Jerusalem, belief as a form of aggression achieved near perfection. Whether you went deep in the earth or climbed the highest hill, someone's faith would track you down, catch you in its sights, and demand that you choose sides.” 0 likes
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