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BANG! “Slingshot” by @MatthewHDunn & Dirty Martini Shooters- Review & a Recipe

BANG! "Slingshot" by @MatthewHDunn & Dirty Martini Shooters- Review & a Recipe

Slingshot

by Matthew Dunn

on Tour June 25 – July 31, 2013 – Review Stop

(giveaway at the bottom… 2 paperbacks of Spycatcher & Slingshot US/CA)

Spy novels? Oh heck yes! I cut my teeth on Ian Fleming novels right along with my H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King fetishes. Tentacles, evil clowns and secret gadgets. When I first went to Hawaii in 5th grade Live and Let Die was on one of the channels and the adventures became even more visual.

voodooI remember three things about that night: smashing coconuts & getting covered in the milk pretending they were the bad guys heads, the eating of the sacrificial KFC while chanting like the voodoo priest/heroin runner, and laughing when my friend asked for a chicken boob; in 5th grade it was almost as good as a fart joke!

But I digress, because this is a review about Slingshot, the third of Matthew Dunn’s Spycatcher novels. A real spy, not one with machine guns in the exhaust pipe of his Aston Martin and a shark tank with an evil giant man with a ginormous gold grill and an insane laugh. We have conspiracy, intrigue, foreign leaders having clandestine meetings behind close doors… oh it is just festive!  

I felt like I was being thrust into a middle of the room during a Spooks (MI5) episode.. or in the back seat along for the ride chasing after a car chase with guns shooting in my general direction, or that of Agent Ros Myers (she’s my favorite). This could have easily followed your normal spy story path, but instead Matthew gave us characters with depth and vision, even the ones which should not have any at all. Will Cochrane is a trained operative who does not or is not supposed to show any emotions. He is steeled to be as dissociated as possible in order to get the job done. Kind of like our two characters from Cold Killing by Luke Delaney (another civil servant turned writer). In fact there is even the  juxtaposition of the cold operative and the sociopathic hitman. But is what really separates Will and hitman a code of ethics? A sense of honor and patriotism? Or perhaps it is just coincidence.

It is more than that but to go any further will run more twists than a school girls phone cord, tangled and interwoven to the point of not knowing where to start to untangle the story threads. If you pick this up, bear with the information you receive with the first half. I ended up starting over twice because I was reading it four chapters at time and switching to another book to stay on top of reviews , and then the fires…. so I lost track of all the info. If you get a bit turned off by heavy info dump, and just want to be a casual observer and not take part of the ride, this may be a bit much for a summer read.  Slingshot and any spy novel requires some time and focus to invest in. It was fun, and in the end you get a touch of the flamboyant James Bond feel (whats a good spy story with a touch of dispelling ones disbelief, its all in fun.) No exploding watches or pens that shoot acid or skis with turbo jets on them, but that wonderful over the top spy of spies! You be the judge. I for one am going back and reading the other novels while sitting back with a dirty martini and enjoying the ride!

She’s a dirty dirty girl…and she gives this book…. 4 olives!

4 OLIVES!

Slingshot Shooters

Hotel MuranoI am a huge dirty martini fan, the dirtier the better. I discovered Dirty Sue Olive Juice at the Hotel Murano a few years ago. To this day I never have been able to drink one without hearing James Bond saying “Shaken and not stirred” (Connery of course). My mother used to spout that it was not a real martini because it hadno Gin, well she is right.

“Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel. Got it?” Casino Royale (1953), chapter 7:

Martini’s are traditionally made with gin and olives, but me? I would rather have it with vodka and lots of olives and olive juice! When Sean Connery said that infamous phrase for the first time he became an iconoclast. My parents and grandparents held onto the bland and boring basic martini recipe to the the point it was almost a cocktail hour religion. But the velvety speaking Bond… ooooooh lala. I thought, hmmm fun things can also come in small packages so why not a martini! Plus… pow pow, bang bang… SHOOTERS!

Here is my recipe but in a jigger worth of dirty sexy vodka martini-ness!

Slingshot Shooters (Dirty Martini Shooters)

  • 3 oz Vodka (the vodka from your freezer because vodka martinis MUST be chilled)

  • 1 oz  Dirty Sue Olive Juice (I’m addicted to this stuff! I make Bloody Mock Mary’s with this and even throw it in my greek salad dressing)
  • Vermouth
  • Stabbed olive on top
  • Course salt & course ground pepper mixed onto a plate

Combine all liquid ingredients, but the Vermouth, with ice in a shaker. Do your best James Bond impression (see video for reference). With just the right swirl of your wrist coat the inside of your chilled shot glasses with vermouth. Coat the rim with the salt and pepper mix. Then fill each shot glass while maintaining dirtiest sneaky spy face ever and top with the olive you stealth killed… now either pop in your favorite James Bond movie, or pick up the book and enjoy a modern day spy novel like this one for instance! *wink* (makes 2 shooters)

Slingshot: A Spycatcher NovelBANG! "Slingshot" by @MatthewHDunn & Dirty Martini Shooters- Review & a Recipe

BANG! "Slingshot" by @MatthewHDunn & Dirty Martini Shooters- Review & a Recipe

Master spy Will Cochrane must catch a missing Russian defector as well as one of Europe’s deadliest assassins in this action-packed follow-up to Sentinel, written by real life former field officer Matthew Dunn.

Will Cochrane monitors the nighttime streets of Gdansk, Poland—waiting for the appearance of a Russian defector, a man bearing a top secret document, who Will believes is about to step out of the cold and into the hands of Polish authorities. But suddenly everything goes sideways. The target shows up, but so does a team from Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) hell-bent on keeping the man from walking. Then, in a hail of crossfire, a van speeds into the melee and snatches the defector out from under them all. Everyone wants the man and the codes he carries—but now he’s gone and it’s up to Will and his CIA/MI6 team to find him before the Russians.

Will tracks both the missing Russian and his kidnappers, believing the defector has his own warped agenda. But soon it’s apparent that the real perpetrator could be someone much more powerful: a former East German Stasi officer who instigated a super-secret pact between Russian and US generals almost twenty years ago. An agreement, which if broken for any reason, was designed to unleash the world’s deadliest assassin.

Then Will learns that the Russians have tasked their own ‘spycatcher’—an agent just as ruthless and relentless as Will—to retrieve the document. Now Will knows that he faces two very clever and deadly adversaries, who will stop at nothing to achieve their aims

Genre Fiction
Published byWilliam Morrow / HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
Number of Pages: 416

AMAZONB & N+GOODREADS

Author Bio

As an MI6 field officer, MATTHEW DUNN recruited and ran agents, coordinated and participated in special operations, and acted in deep-cover roles throughout the world. He operated in environments where, if captured, he would have been executed. Dunn was trained in all aspects of intelligence collection, deep-cover deployments, small-arms, explosives, military unarmed combat, surveillance, and infiltration.

Medals are never awarded to modern MI6 officers, but Dunn was the recipient of a rare personal commendation from the secretary of state for work he did on one mission, which was deemed so significant that it directly influenced the success of a major international incident.

During his time in MI6, Matthew conducted approximately seventy missions. All of them were successful. He lives in England, where he is at work on the fourth Spycatcher novel.

Matthew Dunn

Catch Up With the Author

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Read an Interview with Matthew Dunn

Former MI6 agent and author of the Spycatcher series, Matthew Dunn gives readers a peak into his former life.

1.      How did you conceive of the character Will Cochrane? How is he like you, at least you when you were working? How is he different?

I wanted to create a character who personified the reality of intelligence work that operatives do in the field – the loneliness, the requirement to make tough decisions on the ground without being able to call for support from headquarters, the moral ambiguities of those decisions, the strong intellectual prowess, and the relentless mindset. An operative also needs a tough body, yet one that can be filled with both love and respect for the people around him.  Cochrane is a lot like me when I was in MI6, though his family background is different.  I’m now ten years older than he is, have two children, am recently married, and write for a living.  I’m no longer Will Cochrane.

2.      Do you see writing spy novels as a way to shed light on popular misconceptions or educate readers about the realities of international politics today?

In essence, there are two primary activities of spy agencies: the long-game of running foreign spies to obtain intelligence that can inform the foreign policies of the agency’s government; and covert, frequently extremely violent, paramilitary actions.  The primacy of either activity ebbs and flows depending on the circumstances of the times.  During the Cold War, all sides knew that pulling a gun was counterproductive as there was a standoff on all levels.  Since then, things have been very different and that was reflected in my work as an operative, though I was also very involved in the running of foreign assets and at one time was living under deep cover with 15 different alias identities.  My novels are fiction of course, but they reflect what can and does happen in the field, all of which never makes the papers unless something goes terribly wrong.  Even then there are mechanisms in place to block or misdirect public scrutiny.  The biggest misconception about the reality of espionage is that it is not exciting and extremely dangerous.  That is very wrong.  My novels reflect the realities of being in the field.  I have no point to make, beyond telling it how it is.

3.      While you probably can’t get too specific about this, how do you translate your experiences as an MI6 agent into the scenes and characters in your novels?

One of the joys of writing fiction is that I can disguise my experiences inside a fictional tale.  In SLINGSHOT, you’ll read about real events and people.  The names of the people have obviously been changed, and the events take place in different locations and under different circumstances.  I will leave it to readers to attempt to deduce truth from fiction.

When I write, I see everything through the prism of being an MI6 officer.  A frequent question I will ask myself is, “what would I have done?’  It’s a useful question and there is often no right or wrong answer, just as it is in the field when you’re an operative and you’re faced with intractable problems.  Will Cochrane makes mistakes, as I have done in real life, has to recover from those mistakes, and has to keep going.  The people I write about are similar to people I know.  The events are similar to those that I and others have been in.  That’s the world I know.  I concede it’s very different from the world that most others know.

4.      From James Bond to Will Cochrane, what do you think accounts for the timeless appeal of fiction featuring dashing spies?

Though I never wrote the Spycatcher series with comparisons in mind to Bond (or for that matter, at the opposite end of the spectrum, John le Carré’s George Smiley), it is understandable that comparisons are made.  I write my novels with a contemporary and very precise understanding of espionage and for that reason Cochrane is different to other fictional espionage characters.

Regardless, all share in common a dislocation from the real world in favor of an understanding of a very real, yet secret world that is all pervasive and often deadly. Such characters’ ability to operate in that world, and to be supremely intelligent, often charming, frequently deadly, is very intriguing. But more than that, I think the ability of operatives to be chameleons has a tremendous appeal.  Readers want to know who they really are.  That is a challenge.

5.      SLINGSHOT concerns some of the Cold War “loose ends” left behind in Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall. What do you think most people don’t know about what’s going on in that part of the world today?

Most people don’t understand the threat from foreign states.  Right now, Russia, Iran, the Israel/Palestine conundrum, China, North Korea, and Syria are the biggest threats to world peace.  Terrorism pales in comparison to what these states can do.  After the collapse of communism, Russia re-built itself on a capitalist platform.  It is aggressive to the West and, alongside China, does not want to be a responsible world power, as evidenced by its repeated vetoes in UN Security Council proposed resolutions to stop genocide in places like Syria.

The nuclear powers who have the capability to destroy the world are the United States, Great Britain, France, Russia, and China.  Three of those “big 5” are responsible. Two are not.

6.      What are Will Cochrane’s greatest weaknesses as a spy and as a person?

Cochrane has a huge heart and yearns for another life, particularly with a woman who would love him for who he truly is. This is his strength, rather than weakness, but of course – in the world in which he operates – love and compassion are honorable traits that evil men will use against him.

7.      Could a frightening story like the one in SLINGSHOT actually take place today?

Something similar and dreadful nearly took place.  I know, but can’t reveal details.

8.      There are a few pivotal roles played by women in SLINGSHOT: a retired operative named Betty who’s brought in on a vital assist; and a whip-smart CIA analyst named Suzy. Did these women come to life entirely from your imagination? Or did you work in the field with women like these?

I’ve met some of the bravest women and men in the world.  Gender doesn’t differentiate them; they are the same breed of unique animal.  I can’t give you details of specifics about people I knew beyond one anecdote.

During one of my trips to MI6’s training facility, I walked off the shooting range and confronted an old woman.  It was common to meet unusual people in the facility as we often received briefings from Cold War warriors, for example, from both sides of the Western/USSR fence in order to inform the contemporary work we did.  But I’d never seen this woman before. She asked me what I was doing and I told her that I’d just been testing a new customized handgun.  She immediately had a look of horror and said, “Guns terrify me!”.  I smiled, walked her to the range and showed her how to shoot it.  She took the gun from me and, ignoring my instructions to position the weapon at eye-level, then held the gun against her belly and fired five shots at the target.  All hit a tiny radius around the target that any Special Forces operative would have been proud to strike.  I asked her how she did it, given she looked as fragile and as old as my grandmother.  She didn’t answer, but just smiled and walked off.

That evening I found out she was a former British Special Operations Executive officer who’d been parachuted into Nazi-occupied France and the Netherlands, who’d blown up German transportation lines, had – together with the resistance civilians she’d rallied – killed hundreds of Nazis, and had ultimately been captured by the Gestapo who put her in dungeons, brutally tortured her, before sending her to an extermination camp.

Men and woman, young and old, risk their lives every day by operating in the secret world.  I know many of them, and in my novels you’ll meet some of them as well.  Women like Betty and Suzy existed. SLINGSHOT is my heartfelt homage to them.

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Please, remember that every eBook received for review from Partners In Crime is given in exchange for an honest review. The eBooks are the sole property (copyrighted) of the author and should not be sold, distributed, transferred, or exchanged with or to other people, nor should they be listed on file sharing sites. Failure to comply with this disclaimer, will result in removal from all future tours.

10 Comments

  1. Answer one or all – Which James Bond is the best? FREAKING CONNERY! DUH!
    Shaken or Stirred? I like it shaken, I must have it ICE freaking cold and SHAKEN man, dirty dirty and shaken… harder than a baby shaken!
    Vodka or with Gin! Just give me the bottle! … wait I think I answered this… oh wait VODKA! I like my gin in tonic and lime, not with olives.. ewwwwwww
    Show me some love!

  2. JUST give me the motherfecking bottle. Please and thank you. Bah-Bye.

  3. Okay. If I don’t go with just the bottle, which I only do on rare occasions, I prefer Vodka. The good shit, not frakkin Absolut or Smirnoff. At least give me Belvedere, Ketel One or Grey Goose Vodka. Then I’ll have it in a rocks glass on ice with lemon. Sometimes I like to shake things up and use both lemon and lime.

    None of that dirrrrty shit, I can’t stand olives or the juice as that totally ruins the Vodka. If I’m in “that” kind of mood then, I like my shit straight the fuck up.
    Show me some love!

  4. Ooooh! I just thought of another way. It’s not and wouldn’t be considered a James Dean or Bond or even James fucking Taylor. But the drink is hella good.

    It’s called a Chocolate Cake Shot. I drank the shit out of them in Vegas. Not that I can really recall doing so…

    Use chilled glasses from the freezer and frost the rim of the glass with sugar and lemon. Add PREMIUM Vodka and Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur); stir together. Lick the sugar rim, shoot the drink, and suck the lemon. OH. MY. GOD. So yummy.
    Show me some love!

  5. I do love you, Hooker! My blogging goddess!
    Show me some love!

  6. I never thought I’d say this but its not Sean Connery, my vote is Daniel Craig. I don’t drink martini’s so I don’t know if gin or vodka is better.

  7. Fantastic post!!! Great review! So glad you enjoyed this book!
    Show me some love!

  8. Wow, Kriss!! What a great post! I loved your review – almost as much as I adore Connery ;)!!
    Show me some love!

  9. Oh, Connery was THE Bond, of course! Although most of the actors have added a bit to the mythos. I love Bond movies… 🙂

    And I can’t drink vodka. It makes me really REALLY sick. Don’t much care for martinis anyway. Gimma a bottle of some sort of super-sweet liqueur and I’m pretty happy. Chambord or amaretto, something like that. Mmmmm.
    Show me some love!

  10. Love. Love. Love.

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