Website last updated: 7-5-2024

Review of A Spy Like Me (2024) written by Kim Sherwood

By: Brian Smith
A Spy Like Me, Kim Sherwood, review, recension
Six days. Three agents. One chance to find James Bond.

To paraphrase Timothy Dalton, if Double or Nothing (2022) was a step in the right direction, then A Spy Like Me is a leap! Double Or Nothing fulfilled the brief to present a modern-day thriller, set in the world of James Bond, with a wider cast of characters. Kim Sherwood has achieved for Bond what Steven Moffatt and Mark Gatiss did for Sherlock – respecting the source material while presenting the characters in an authentic, albeit contemporary setting. James Bond’s history is revealed to be that of Fleming’s original, inflation-adjusted for 2024. This also leaves the door open to some familiar faces from the past.

A Spy Like Me begins around a month after the conclusion of Double Or Nothing and we are dropped straight into the action. At 1.25pm a bomb will explode at the BBC, another in a series of deadly terrorist attacks. The bomber’s name is known, and 004 (Joseph Dryden) and 008 (Roger ‘Dodger’ Macintyre) are there to prevent catastrophe.

Back at headquarters, Q has identified a pattern. Six days prior to the majority of attacks, a sale was made at Sotheby’s for over £1 million. During a visit to Sotheby’s MI6 install a tracker in the ‘Blind Man’s Watch’ which should lead to a former people smuggler with links to Rattinfänger.

Joseph Dryden - fast becoming my favourite alternative Double 0 – and Conrad Harthrop-Vane (000), are each given their assignments. Triple 0 follows the watch to Oman while 004 investigates the sale of rare artifacts which are funding terror. Johanna Harwood (003), still recovering from the loss of 007 and the death of Sid Bashir, both former lovers, is on night duty, yet to be cleared for active service by M. Moneypenny disagrees. Ultimately, Harwood goes rogue, giving herself the task of tracking down 007, having come so close at the end of the first novel.

The pacing is wonderful; the short chapters (50 of them, like last time) which cut between each agent and their missions creates continual suspense. The present tense narrative also adds a layer of tension as the story moves through the labyrinthine world of spies and double-agents, shooting through the gears like Johanna Harwood in her Alpine A110 Berlinette.

The writing is as assured as it is exciting. Every sentence, description and observation are economical, yet revealing. Example: ‘Both wear mirrored sunglasses, and watch themselves watch the other over coffee.’ There are many characters, and it pays to take your time to get to know them and savour the poetic prose. Sherwood leaves enough breadcrumbs to allow us to feel we are on the trail as well.

Everything one expects from a James Bond novel is present and correct. Well defined villains, heroes you root for, thrilling locations, action and suspense.

The story is set against the backdrop of our present day, a world of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, Doctor Who, Star Trek and Eastenders. Sherwood has fun playing with time, one scene is particularly [Jeffery] Deaver-esque. Whether by design or coincidence, there are subtle touchstones to Bond’s literary and cinematic heritage.

As each of the Double 0s investigate their own part of the bigger picture, Sherwood deftly draws the threads together, building the tension until the final, unexpected page. It will leave you breathless - and clamouring for the next instalment.

Review by Brian Smith. Copyright © 2024 From Sweden with Love. All rights reserved.

Editor's Note:
Available A Spy Like Me editions:

>UK hardback edition
>UK paperback edition (to be published on 29th August 2024)
>US hardback edition
>UK audio book edition
>Kindle edition

(For more information about Kim's books, check out her official website at



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