This book begins the second of Len Deighton’s trilogies featuring weathered English spy Bernard Samson, set a few years after the end of the Game, Set and Match series.
If you are looking for an action-packed thriller then you may well be disappointed. In fact the whole story is a bit of a contrived disappointment. The main aims of this book are to introduce one new big idea and leave readers with a cliff-hanger ending. It achieves both but does so in a way that is laboured – it is guilty of introducing a few unnecessary characters and then using them to excess. Even this relatively short book seems drawn out.
This is very much a continuation of the story that came before, in particular Bernard’s home life and – most interesting of all – a small delve into the Winter family history. These are relatives of Lisl Hennig, the (now very) old owner of the Berlin hotel where Bernard grew up. They seem to have strong connections to Bernard’s father. Are there some dirty secrets that Bernard doesn’t know – or does not want to acknowledge? The question now begs itself: can we rely on Bernard to tell us the whole story?
There is another book by Deighton that was published between the two trilogies – Winter: A Berlin Family 1899-1945. It is a long time since I read it but it was truly brilliant. It serves as a fictional history of a Germany family in the first half of the 20th century, including a believable, fascinating look at the rise of Hitler and the Nazis. It also gives a lot of background to the whole Bernard Samson story. If you are really committed to this series, it would be best to read it before you start this Hook, Line and Sinker set. Unfortunately I cannot find any indication that the book will be released in audiobook format.
The next book in the series, Spy Line, chronologically brings us to the end of the story (so far). But there is still much more to learn. I can’t wait…
• Spare Cycles: Mini review: “Berlin Game” by Len Deighton (audiobook version)
• Spare Cycles: Mini review: “Mexico Set” by Len Deighton (audiobook version)
• Spare Cycles: Mini review: “London Match” by Len Deighton (audiobook version)
• Spare Cycles: Len Deighton books (including my original review of Spy Hook)
• Harper Collins: Len Deighton audiobooks