The Deacon

Fiction - Thriller - Espionage
296 Pages
Reviewed on 07/12/2019
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

The Deacon is the fourth book in the Nighthawk espionage thriller series by C. Edgar North. It opens with tragic news: Brian West, a.k.a. The Deacon, is dead. He had lived to be in his early eighties. But who is Brian West? In this thriller, the author takes readers on an interesting journey as former handlers of a dreaded retired spy gather on a yacht in the Florida Keys to commemorate him. Follow them as they unearth stories of an enigmatic Cold War spy who worked for both Canadian Intelligence and the CIA.

The Deacon ripples with humor and is narrated in an engaging tone that grabs the attention of the reader right off the bat. The story opens in a casual, intriguing way with the announcement of the death of the protagonist. My curiosity was aroused and I wanted to discover who The Deacon was. The author writes like an expert in intelligence work and espionage and creates a character that is rich and very sophisticated. Employing tools like humor and suspense, C. Edgar North ensures that readers keep on turning the pages. The surprises and twists in the plot abound in the narrative. The plot is original and cunningly executed, leaving the reader with only one choice: read on! I loved the skillful handling of characters, the beautiful prose, and the exciting narrative voice. This is an engaging entry in a series filled with the potential to entertain fans of thrillers and espionage. Enjoyed every bit of it!

Darryl Greer

C. Edgar North is the author of a number of novels with Nighthawk in the title; they feature Brian West, also known as The Deacon. In Nighthawk: The Deacon, West, who had been a spy for both Canadian Intelligence and the CIA, has just died and a number of his former handlers gather on a yacht in the Florida Keys to reminisce over a few beers and to celebrate West’s colorful life. West’s proficiency with languages led him to work all over Europe as well as in the former USSR and Central and South America. Although the scenes on the yacht and the dialogue between the characters on board permeate the story, the novel can really be broken down into a series of colorful short stories as the author describes not only West’s exuberant youth but his individual assignments when, later, he becomes a highly sought-after spook. In describing The Deacon’s exploits, the author to some extent draws on his own vast experience in over thirty countries, some of them what you might call out of the way, as well as his own unique work experiences.

It takes either a certain amount of personal knowledge or extensive research to fully understand how spies actually work – also to understand how things are done in what we might call out-of-the-way countries. In Nighthawk: The Deacon, C. Edgar North has managed to describe the exploits of his character Brian West in a believable way. I have no doubt that those readers who have read his earlier novels featuring this character would be interested to know more about his background. Setting out, as the author does, West’s history in a series of short stories may not be everyone’s cup of tea as it creates a kind of start/stop feeling throughout the book. But that said, each individual story is interesting and they are all linked together through the character of Brian West, as well as the dialogue of those characters on the yacht in the Florida Keys who knew him.

K.C. Finn

Nighthawk: The Deacon is a work of spy thriller fiction penned by author C. Edgar North. The fourth book in the diverse and complex Nighthawk series, this installment sees a gathering on a yacht in the sweltering heat of the Florida Keys, as the handlers of a deceased spy gather to celebrate his life. Brian West, a.k.a. The Deacon, led an incredible life through his eighty years in the business, and his handlers are keen to raise a glass to his many adventures. The story of Brian’s exploits plays out amongst their shared memories, building to a fascinating conclusion with a quiet, thrilling suspense throughout.

Fans of relatively short but intensive spy fiction are certain to devour every detail of Nighthawk: The Deacon as they turn its pages. On the surface, the story of Brian’s exploits is a fantastic and rip-roaring adventure filled with brilliant intelligence work and a flawless charm that The Deacon seemed to have whatever company he was in. The prose is stuffed with details that are exceedingly well researched, making it almost like an impressive manual of how a single spy could achieve such greatness to be celebrated in this way. The retroactive narrative, beginning with Brian’s death, gives an interesting intrigue to the story which bubbles along right to the last pages, leading us to wonder what the final twist in the tale will be. Overall, author C. Edgar North has done a superb job with Nighthawk: The Deacon, making it a compelling must-read for all hard-boiled espionage fans.