Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Spartak Trigger

I've been meaning to read this book for a long time. Life got in the way. But I finally got to it, so here goes.

Bryce Allen was born in Atlantic Canada in the early - 1980s. He graduated from the University of King's College in 2004 with a BA in History and currently resides in the Midwestern United States. The Spartak Trigger is his first published novel.


Disgraced cop and degenerate cad Shane Bishop now makes his living as a professional set-up artist, using his unique skillset to frame his clients’ enemies for various criminal offenses. When his latest job goes wrong and his mark ends up in a body bag, the ex-lawman becomes the prime suspect in a high-profile murder investigation – framed himself by a mysterious government agent. 

In order to obtain a key piece of evidence that will clear his name, Bishop is blackmailed into performing various acts of industrial espionage upon some of the world’s most powerful corporations. He soon graduates to foreign intelligence work and finds himself in Russia charged with infiltrating a radical neo-Bolshevik terrorist group known as ‘Black October’ and retrieving a microfilm they’ve obtained which contains a Soviet-era computer virus that has the power to destroy the world…wide web.


This novel is interesting on many levels, and I don't mean interesting in the sense that I can't come up with a better word, but that this one actually applies. The narrative is not typical, and that's part of the charm. At first, it takes a minute to get used to the main character arguing with the narrator, but once you adjust to that, it's quite amusing. Mostly because Shane Bishop is an asshole. I really can't come up with a better word here. Maybe dick. He is not a likable man, and he' not trying to be. He's a racist, misogynistic, lunatic with a an equally despicable job. He sets people up. He ruins lives. Like I said, he's an asshole. Not that the people's who's life he ruins are all that great, either. To quote Bishop:

"Another high-tech corporate monkey with a super-expensive severance package?"

And to hammer my point on what an asshole he is, here's another quote:

"I go to a pet store and ask the friendly salespeople all kinds of retarded questions but I don't buy anything."

He has a daughter and you want to think that might be Bishop's saving grace, but no, he's a shitty father as well, and his daughter is an unstable girl who makes terrible decisions. He does try to help her at some point. That was nice. There. That's about the only good thing about Bishop.

Now, back to the plot, Bishop gets framed. He is hunted down. He needs help. This starts the turns and twists and bends of the book. The spy part of it. He meets a lot of interesting characters who lead him in different directions. There's explosions. Action. Sex. Betrayal. Lots of fun. Read the book. Pay attention and you might not get lost:

"He begins to explain to me what the fuck is going on with this meandering, convoluted plot you've managed to tolerate thus far."

I agree with that statement. But I have to say, I enjoyed all the extra characters, the ones that die and the ones that don't. No spoilers! They add to the craziness and fast pace of the book. They come in and out of Bishop's life to briefly confound and piss him off a little more. My favorite part of the whole novel has to be Bishop's arguments with the narrator who desperately tries to keep Bishop in line with his fancy word choices and crafty omissions.

"The narrator sheepishly apologizes for what he calls a contrived coincidence"

You get the sense that Bishop is not all there in the head. He keeps getting calls wherever he is from telemarketers in all kinds of places. All the time. You get a feeling that the narrator and MC don't know what's going on and that endeared me to them and the story. For sanity's sake, you just hope it all comes to a satisfying resolution. I believe it does.