Agent Zero : Convoluted Spy Thriller à la Bourne A Novel by Jack Mars

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(Edited)


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“ ..Yes, Yuri. CIA man is dead”

One night, some men barged into professor Reid Lawson's house and kidnapped him. These men suspected that he knew about the plan that would get a lot of people killed. Having to live a life that was seemingly normal.He soon will find out that it could have been a lie.

Agent Zero

Agent zero is a spy thriller novel by Jack mars. It’s ranked on the 8th position on spy-thriller on amazon and Mars is considered as a best-selling author in the USA. His book Agent zero is the first in the series that narrates the story of an agent known as Agent zero or Kent Steele rediscovering his true identity after having been implanted with a memory suppressor chip. This story also brings out the common notion about America vs Russia agents with powerful conglomerates from the middle east.

The cover pulled me into reading it because I thought it would include a hacking scene and advanced modern technology. Long story short, it was not as I expected; it did not contain any hacking scene but I can give a round applause that it tries to toy with the idea of memory chip suppressor.

This novel is not bad, in fact this could be your gateway to the first spy thriller that you will ever read. Although, ideally, if you are wanting to dive into this genre, The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum should be your first ever spy thriller novel. My reason to recommend that, it is because then you will be able to notice modern spy thriller novels that mimic its storyline. Like Bourne, Agent Zero uses a similar premise but instead of temporary amnesia, Mars introduced the idea of a memory chip suppressor. Throughout the story Agent Zero a.k.a Kent Steele is trying to find the reason behind his kidnapping and also why the CIA is after him while he is a CIA agent.

As the story gets to chapter six, it gets more convoluted. Sometimes I even wonder why the author put so much inner dialogues and some unnecessary facts about a place. I get it that the character is a European History professor and I appreciate the extra tidbits of knowledge. However at times, it was quite excessive. Perhaps because this is the first series of Agent Zero, we are introduced to the complexity of the problem so that we are drawn to read the other series.

Despite its complexity and sometimes difficult to follow, it is quite a page-turner as the author manages to capture my attention with its descriptive scenes and great suspense. This aligns with the plot that wasn't really fast-paced. There is room to breathe and to capture some terminologies that are completely novel such as GOOD (Get Out of Dodge ) bag and even understand what-the-actual-heck is a memory chip suppressor.

Sometimes, I wonder why many of these authors use Europe (Italy, Rome, Switzerland) as the setting or even the middle east. It's almost the same place that I often see in this type of spy thriller novels. Anyhow, if you want to find out what happens next to Kent Steele, you can give Agent Zero a try. Some of the novels are free on Play Books but some are paid.

My final note relating to Spy Thriller novels

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I recently read an article by a known spy thriller writer James Grady & He said " At their core, spy novels are about secrets. Secrets create power. Power determines how we live." To complement that, I think it's the reason why we should read spy novels because it is indirectly exercising our curiosity as often what we see isn't always the full truth. I also recommend reading the article linked above because it's also interesting!

Cover and my notes are screenshot from play book

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14 comments
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I have heard of the bourne Legacy, my sister actually had the novel but at that time I wasn't quite drawn to reading novels...now I'm actually quite interested.

I love stories that actually draw you in and at the same time teach you something new..I have now idea what memory chip compressor does, it'll be pretty great to find out..

I'll check out for the book...it looks like it's in editions..how many editions are there?

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As far as I know there is about 12 series with Agent Zero being the first one or the introductory story. I think you should check out Bourne because then you'd encounter that many modern spy thriller follows similar plot.

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Great review!

My reason to recommend that, it is because then you will be able to notice modern spy thriller novels that mimic its storyline. Like Bourne, Agent Zero uses a similar premise but instead of temporary amnesia, Mars introduced the idea of a memory chip suppressor. Throughout the story Agent Zero a.k.a Kent Steele is trying to find the reason behind his kidnapping and also why the CIA is after him while he is a CIA agent.

I haven't read the story, but it also sounds like the premise behind the movie Total Recall, which was based on Philip K. Dick's We Can Remember It for You Wholesale. The protagonist also has his memories altered and a secret organization is trying to prevent him from remembering who he really is.

Sometimes, I wonder why many of these authors use Europe (Italy, Rome, Switzerland) as the setting or even the middle east.

It's almost like an automatic cliché. In action movies, there's usually a car chase through the narrow streets of these European cities. If you have a secret box with money and important documents, then it's probably located in Switzerland because of their notorious banking infrastructure. This 'location cliché' is similar to the Cyberpunk genre in which there's usually an Asian-style market, which provides a contrast between the modern and the old. It worked great in Blade Runner, but it's now just standard fair.

The cover pulled me into reading it because I thought it would include a hacking scene and advanced modern technology

Judging a book by its cover? Classic! 😋

For a bit more technical read, I recommend a novel by Daniel Suarez called Daemon. The premise is pretty wild.

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This 'location cliché' is similar to the Cyberpunk genre in which there's usually an Asian-style market, which provides a contrast between the modern and the old. It worked great in Blade Runner, but it's now just standard fair.

I noticed this too! cyberpunk is always associated with asian-style urbandmarket/slum life. I wonder if it's because it looks modern and chaotic at the same time and the disparity between the wealth is too apparent. I'll have to get back later replying because I am without a coffee now 🤣

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I wonder if it's because it looks modern and chaotic

It is also an easy and affordable set up, if you're shooting a movie. Just put up a few stalls, and you're in the future! 😆

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hahahaha yeah, it's very easy to do. I actually tried to shoot similar vibe back in the day cause I lived next to stalls and it was after rain and broody with a few cars passing by.

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I like crime detective stories too! I quite love the Phillip Marlowe stories I think, the seedy American 1930s and the detective with a cigarette and a trenchcoat!

But, to your wondering about why they're set in Europe - I wonder if it is simply a trope of the genre? Given the classic crime and detective stories were popularised in the UK at the end of the 19th Century.

I think I'm with you though, I don't usually like when authors create unncessary tangents in their work; feel like screaming - 'I'm here for the narrative, let's get back to the point!'.

Have a good day

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That formatted funny, dunno why that middle section of comment is bigger.

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I think it's mostly the trope of the genre because all of them has that similarities, so something like a setting convention for spy thriller genre. The middle section is bigger because you were inserting -- right under the text. So you have to give them a space between the text to make a horizontal separator lines.


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(Edited)

Oh, this book review of yours had me at memory suppressor chip. I don't read too many spy type thrillers but this one seems pretty intriguing!

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What would be your favorite genre? the memory suppressor chip got me too and it's quite interesting mechanism. Maybe just maybe this thing would exist? 😄

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The memory suppressor chip thing is an advanced tech so that would definitely make me want to get into it, but I have my sights set in Bourne identity for a start in spy thrillers 😁

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I love the movie as much as I love the book. But again, I definitely choose the book over the screen 😂

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