Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Book Review: "Once A Spy" by Keith Thomson

Once A Spy
Keith Thomson

Drummond Clark was once a spy of legendary proportions. Now Alzheimer's disease has taken it's toll, and he's just a confused old man who's wandered away from home, waiting for his son to fetch him.

When Charlie takes a break from his latest losing streak at the track to bring Drummond back to his Brooklyn home, they find it blown sky high- and then bullets start flying in every direction. At first, Charlie thinks his Russian "creditors" are employing aggressive collection tactics. But once Drummond effortlessly hot-wires a car as their escape vehicle, Charlie begins to suspect there's much more to his father than meets the eye. He soon discovers that Drummond's unremarkable career as an appliance salesman was actually a clever cover for an elaborate plan to sell would-be terrorists faulty nuclear detonators. Drummond's intricate knowledge of the "device" is extremely dangerous information to have rattling around in an Alzheimer's-addled brain. The CIA wants to "contain" him- and so do some other shady characters who send Charlie and Drummond on a wild chase that gives "father-and-son quality time" a whole new meaning.


OK... so if you have been in a Barnes and Noble lately or just about any bookstore, you have seen this one. It's set up RiGhT-SmAcK in front of your face as soon as you walk in. Well, not my usual type of read, but I've seen it so much, read the back synopsis like half a dozen times, then caved. Fantastic all around read! Here is a quickie for you...

A spy-thriller, I gotta tell ya...not too shabby. I was totally in awe at how I found myself flying through it like I was a speed reader. Really smooth. The story is set around 2 main characters- Charlie, and his dad Drummond (now, you should know that already if you read the synopsis up top, so I won't re-introduce them)and a handful of supporting rolls that you see throughout. Also, I won't go too much into the story because it's basically spelled out above. If you want an idea of EXACTLY what this book is about, the synopsis is a dead ringer. Instead, I'll tell you what I loved about it. Funny as heck! The sarcastic humor was right on point the whole time. What Thomson did was create a real life action movie between the pages. The suspense was pretty cool and also throughout. 

If you like technology, there was some really cool high-tech gadgetry going on here and... did I already mention action?? Really hard to put down when each page wants you doing nothing more than turning to the next. Alright, so you get the point... I really liked "Once A Spy"... I guess I am a bit overly excited because I really enjoy when I take a step outside my "norm" and find that I loved reading what I took a gamble on. 

Drummond plays this soo "retired" guy that half of the stuff he does or half of the crazy "this will save us, son" ideas that he comes up with always at the right times makes him such a likable guy. He even seems to play the calm collective role when he's being shot at while in a getaway service truck speeding through the streets of the city and avoiding disaster every few feet! Since he is a retired CIA guy, you get a good feel of what's it is like to be part of a top-secret, highly classified project.

Charlie plays the role of the "son" who has never really had a real relationship with his dad- who he is now on the run with really well. That's where a ton of the comedy comes in. Great job with ties between the 2. Charlie is your typical middle aged, singly guy who's drug is playin the ponies. Put him together with his dad and they make the oddest but best team around.

And... did I mention the action?? Got the point? I definitely would say that this book is for anyone who just enjoys a really good read, no matter what it is. Now I understand why they basically don't let you get past it in the store. Have faith- this book won't disappoint!


If you guys get a chance, go check out the "ipod" thingy on my left side bar that I am sure I am probably the only one who has actually listened to. There are 2 songs on there that I'm sure some of you that like the "oldies" might have heard before. "My Juanita" performed by The Brooklyn Bridge AND "Sixty Minute Man" performed by Rockapella are 2 songs that I actually sang the lead for when I was in an acapella group back in high school. What is REALLY cool is that we actually were "seen" by what was fm 101.1 at the time, known to many as "CBSFM NY" and given the opportunity to perform live on. "Cousin Brucie" was the D.J. that Sunday at 9:00pm when we sang "Going Back to Mexico" by the Rocketones. One of my favorite times of all! Coincidentally, we were doing "Grease" at the same time for the school musical. Also, one of my favorite times! Useless, but interesting info. Here's a link to the song. If you are a 50's doo-wop fan, you will really appreciate this one! Click the play arrow next to "Mexico"- enjoy!



  1. A man of many talents. The next time I make it back east you guys are going to have to go to a Broadway show with us. You know your way around the big shows.

    Thanks for sharing the review!

  2. Nicely reviewed. Came to your site while looking for reviews on the books that we are looking forward to keep in our office library.

    Being an avid reader, I think the world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts except books. In their world, there are volumes that have seen this happen again and again and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men's hearts of the heart of men centuries dead.


  3. The color scheme on this site drives me batty, but I like the review. Will have to check out the book.. my "to read pile" is getting big.

  4. Never would've thought to try something like this, but you've got me hooked! Def. putting it on my summer reading list!