Thursday, February 2, 2023

Alias Emma by Ava Glass: a breakneck chase across London

Title: Alias Emma
Author: Ava Glass
Publication: Bantam Books, hardcover, 2022
Genre: Suspense
Setting: Present-day London
Description: Emma Makepeace (that’s not her real name) is a newly trained spy when she is relieved from tedious undercover work in a tee shirt store and given a major assignment – bringing the doctor son of two important Russian defectors into protective custody. To make it more complicated, he is reluctant to leave his cancer patients and Emma’s boss is not answering the phone; suddenly, she’s on her own with Russian assassins after her and Michael Primalov. Can Emma hide them both from the ubiquitous CCTV cameras that allow their adversaries to stay frighteningly close?

My Impression: This is a race-against-the-clock thriller that my sister recommended months ago and which I finally remembered to get. The other night I had insomnia and there it was, in a pile by my bed, so began reading at 1 am and finished it four hours later – I am looking forward to the sequel. Books about espionage always appeal to me and here we have a determined and creative heroine with an interesting back story: her father worked for the Russian government, killed by his own people for sharing secrets with the MI6, but managed to smuggle his pregnant wife out of the country before he died. Emma grew up hearing about his courage and longing to avenge him.

Now is her chance to thwart the Russians. They want Michael Primalov so they can control his parents. Emma expects her agency will provide backup once she has persuaded Michael to trust her but, unexpectedly, she is told she is on her own. Her boss did manage to leave her one hidden message with a destination but to get there Emma has to keep calm and carry on off the grid, which means relying on old-fashioned methods to stay alive. It helps that Michael is a doctor (you need one when people shoot you) and they develop incredible rapport once he believes and trusts Emma.

Flashbacks tell more about Emma's life and training before she becomes a spy but most of the book focuses on 12 crazed hours trying to make it across London without being killed. The characters have enough personality to make them interesting. Still, it is the chase that makes the book exciting. Those who love London will revel in it as Emma and Michael make their way about the city.  
Glass previously wrote as Christi Daugherty. Several years ago I enjoyed The Echo Killing, about a crime reporter in Savannah. Born in America, she now lives in Britain and also wrote several travel guides for Frommer’s, an imprint of my former employer, Wiley. This is my fourth book of the year for Carol’s Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge.  I think my friend Tracy will like this.

Source: Library


TracyK said...

You are right that I would like this book, Constance, although I am very tardy in commenting. I always like to seek out newer spy fiction and try out the author. I had not even heard of this book before.

Claire (The Captive Reader) said...

I wouldn't usually go looking for suspense novels but this one has me intrigued. Something to add to my holiday reading list!