My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the author in return for an unbiased review. I can attest that the review below is unbiased and entirely my own thoughts.
The premise of the book was interesting. It deals with a topic on which America is completely, utterly and absolutely divided. Gun-Control. The books mirrors the current situation in America so in addition to a thriller it is a political plot as well. Hmm.. that's enough to garner my interest on any day.
Cal Bertrand - a 15 year ATF veteran is in the doghouse. Given a punishment posting pushing paperwork, Cal is waiting for his time out when he gets a confidential State Department cable from an anonymous email account.
Gun Control Legislation is about to come up for vote in the Senate. The pro-Gun lobby SFG is going all out to ensure that it is defeated. Two friends - mothers themselves and having lost people to the violence of guns; recruit Mac Ambrose their childhood friend and a CIA officer - who has spent 20 years of her life working for Langley - to make sure that the Gun Control bill goes through the Senate. They want a free, fair and non-lobbied voting where the Senators will listen to their constituents and not the lobbyists.
The story follows Mac as she goes about sabotaging the SFG to ensure that the Senate Legislation on banning the semi-automatic weapons goes through. The storyline moves along Mac's past and the present where a lot of things that make Mac are revealed. The pace of the book is steady which holds a readers interest and the plot is tight.While there are many exploratory detours made, none which take the spotlight away from the story (always a plus IMO) the focus is on the mission to stop SFG. Wake perseveres in keeping the story on throughout the novel.
The readers get insights on Mac Ambrose and what makes her tick through the snippets of her life as the book moves into flashback and how that situation ties into the current scene. Her personality and her reasons for doing things the way she does are explored thoroughly. [Spoiler] We find out that Mac was compromised in China, she underwent torture and even rape. [Spoiler end] While Mac is on the mission to ensure that the gun-control legislation goes through, Cal Bertrand is hot on her heels trying to find out who is responsible for sabotaging SFG so close to the legislation. As Cal chases Mac, she always ensures that she is one step ahead.
A Spy Came Home deals with an very interesting subject often ignore, the CIA Officers who spend their lifetimes abroad collecting information, turning and running agents for their country. It is not a glamorous or a thrill seeking or a James Bond-esque life as mentioned by Mac to her lady friends who equate her life to a Hollywood action story.
The question to ponder is what happens to these officers when they come home. Do they fit in or is life a daily struggle as Mac finds out while she tries to reconcile with her old life, pick the pieces and then move ahead.
A solid start a good female lead character in the form of Mac Ambrose whose strong suit is subtlety. Something which her adrenaline fueled male counterparts don’t understand much. I for one would like to read more of Mac Ambrose.