It is early 1950, the midpoint of the 20th century. Joe McCarthy is cranking up his demagoguery and Joseph Stalin had intensified the cold war. In Washington, J. Edgar Hoover's FBI is fighting a turf war with the newly founded Central Intelligence Agency. Harry Truman is in the White House, trying to keep a lid on domestic and foreign politics, but the crises never stop.
It should be a time of peace and prosperity in America, but it is anything but. FBI agent Thomas Buchanan is assigned to investigate the father of a former fiance, Ann Garrett, who dumped Buchanan while he was away to World War Two. And suddenly Buchanan finds himself on a worldwide search for both an active Soviet spy and the only woman he ever loved. In the process, he crosses paths with Hoover, Truman, Soviet moles and assassins, an opium kingpin from China, and a brigade of lowlife from the American film community. Truman's Spy is a classic cold war story of espionage and betrayal, love and regret, patriots and traitors.
This is the revised and updated 2013 edition of Noel Hynd's follow-up to Flowers from Berlin. The story is big, a sprawling intricate tale of espionage, from post-war Rome and Moscow to New York, Philadelphia and Hollywood, filled with the characters, mores and attitudes of the day. And at its heart: the most crucial military secret of the decade.
©1990, 2013 Noel Hynd (P)2014 Noel Hynd
"Noel Hynd knows the ins and outs of Washington's agencies, public and private." (Publishers Weekly)
"A notch above the Ludums and Clancys of the world..." (Booklist)
No. This is the first time I have ever written a review before finishing the book.
If -- and it's a big if -- I get through the rest of it, I will edit this review.
Narrator's voice is super low bass. I find it h hard to listen to his voice. That can be fixed somewhat through an equalizer. This book uses voice imitations for direct quotes which mimic the actual speakers.
My gripe -- and what is so annoying -- is the background music which plays all the time. In comparison to the volume of the narrator it is like a fly buzzing around -- not enough to really hear it but loud enough to get on my nerves. I keep thinking someone is in my house, or the answering machine is recording or that I left the radio or TV on.
Have not finished book yet.
Voice so low it is hard on my ears -- the way a car with loud bass hurts when it is next to you at a stoplight.
Not yet. It might be okay to read.
Music behind the narration? Whose dumb idea was that?
"Truman's Spy" could be a good thriller -- it starts out with an interesting Cold War backdrop and a diverse storyline involving an ex-FBI agent now serving as a small-town sheriff in Oregon, another FBI agent assigned to investigate his ex-fiancee's father, and J. Edgar Hoover himself hovering in the background as an FBI director not held in high esteem by his subordinates.
Unfortunately, this audio recording was utterly ruined by unnecessary, hokey gimmicks, such as musical cues that started each chapter (and even played in the background as the narrator read), having each line of dialogue modified by some kind of acoustic effect to make the voices sound slightly different, especially when someone was supposed to be speaking over the telephone -- and even dubbing in sound effects!
The manipulation of each character's dialogue was particularly annoying. I'm assuming it was Mr. Alan reading each line because no one else is listed as a narrator, but the gimmicky acoustic effects made it sound like he was delivering them from the other end of a piece of sewer pipe or a deep hole in the ground. The effect of having these line readings alternate with "he said," or "he commented," or "Mark said" etc. etc. was like trying to watch a play while someone read the stage directions out loud.
The audio manipulation also rendered a lot of the spoken dialogue almost unintelligible, with the words getting lost in the hollowed out soup can (or whatever echo chamber they used to record the dialogue) -- and then reverting back to the narrator's normal, booming voice for the "he said" cues. And when one character gets shot, we actually have to hear the sound of the bullets being fired! I don't know what clown of an editor thought that this would "enhance" the listening experience, but it certainly had the opposite effect for me.
After a few chapters of this I could no longer take it, and deleted the story from my device. If I had wanted to listen to an old-time radio show complete with sound effects and different people playing each part, I would have chosen to listen to that instead.
Ironically, Mr. Alan seems like a capable narrator -- if he weren't dragging a safe behind him in the form of these goofy audio gimmicks. All of the best narrators -- such as Michael Page, John Lee, Simon Vance, or Edward Herrmann -- can modify their voices when reading dialogue so that this kind of nonsense is unnecessary. And as noted at the outset, the story itself could have been an enjoyable thriller if it had been read by any of those or a host of other narrators -- or even Mr. Alan -- without the hair-pulling-inducing audio manipulation. My advice is to skip this version and choose a book with a narrator giving a straight reading without any "enhancements."
Kept me guessing
Yes, but without the stupid sound effects.
This was an interesting historical novel. The ridiculous sound effects took a lot away from the story. Otherwise I enjoyed the story.
ENTERTAINING, INFORMATIVE, BELIEVABLE
YES - IT WAS VERY OLD-FASHIONED CLOAK AND DAGGAR
Killing the Russian agent and spy outside the Russian embassy in London
Neither. It was like an entertaining history lesson
"Great coldwar story"
An excellent early cold war story line with loads of twist & plots that keep you riveted.
Would recommend a listen.
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