The Accidental Spy by David Gardner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Accidental Spy is one of the most entertaining books I’ve read in forever!
When Middlebridge College closed its doors, 56-year-old history professor, Harvey Hudson, found himself out of the job he’d held for 24 years and struggling to find a position at another institution. Desperate to keep body and soul together and to keep secretly paying the mortgage on his widowed mother’s home, he took a series of part-time delivery gigs.
A chance meeting with his old high school sweetheart landed him in an entry-level technical writer position at the high-tech firm she co-owned with her ex-husband. However, the years he’d spent in his collegiate ivory tower had left him unprepared for the new job’s work assignments. He struggled to understand the programming for which he was to write the documentation.
Under fire from the CEO, Margo’s ex-husband, Harvey outsources his job to a subcontractor in India at a small percentage of his salary. The results are a stunning turnaround for him at work. He begins to have romantic thoughts about Amaya, the woman in India who is actually writing the documentation he is taking credit for. But just as things are looking up, Harvey gets a late-night pizza delivery request from two FBI agents who reveal that the contracting firm in India is a front for a Russian intelligence agency and Amaya, his dream girl, is a Russian spy.
I was hooked! At the start of the book, the main character Professor Harvey Hudson is trapped in the depression trifecta: he’s lost his job, wife, and self-respect. But wait! There’s more. He’s secretly paying the mortgage on his widowed mother’s home while living in a dump over a poultry butcher shop, and the job at his old girlfriend’s software company is kicking his butt. I could completely relate to Harvey’s job security woes and his discomfort with his much younger coworkers. The fact that he knows absolutely nothing about the work at T&M exacerbates the problem and his deepening loss of self-worth. All in all, Harvey is a decent and lovable guy. The premise that he outsources his job to India absolutely sold me on picking this book up, and I was wholly behind Harvey’s strategy proving to be a successful move. And it really did work like a charm until it didn’t.
I was also completely caught up in Amaya’s backstory and involvement in the Russian cyberattack plan. She’s gentle and a total lady but feisty when she feels she’s been wronged. I rooted for these two to click and find their HEA.
The author’s writing style was easy to read and deliciously witty. This was definitely a book I didn’t want to put down; it was a five-star read for me from the start. However, there was at least one sentence (if not more) where I wanted to round that up to “11.” (“Because I stole his wallet.”)
With its outstandingly clever plot, witty, laugh-out-loud dialogue, and sympathetic main characters, I highly recommend THE ACCIDENTAL SPY to readers who enjoy spy thrillers and would like a lighter, less-than-serious take on the genre.
I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the author through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.