The latest book reviews in one place

A Long Night in Paris Reviews

A Long Night in Paris by Dov Alfon

A Long Night in Paris

Dov Alfon

3.88 out of 5

5 reviews

Category: Thrillers, Fiction
Imprint: MacLehose Press
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Publication date: 10 Jan 2019
ISBN: 9780857058799

From a former Israeli intelligence officer, comes the most realistic, thrilling and authentic thriller of the year. Chinese gangsters and Israeli intelligence face off in Paris - Israel's bestselling book of 2017, perfect for fans of Homeland, John Le Carre and Mick Herron "Fast action, clever plotting and a Bond-esque lead character who drives the narrative forward at every turn . . .

4 stars out of 5
Jake Kerridge
22 Feb 2019

"something of a rarity in this macho, moody genre... a spy novel with lead characters who are genuinely likeable"

This is a deeply enjoyable espionage thriller with plenty of juicy details about modern spycraft, and although he is sometimes as sardonic and cynical as John le Carré, Alfon's style is light and relaxed. He invests his heroes, Bond-esque spymaster Colonel Zeev Abadi and his beautiful, brilliant deputy Lt Oriana Talmor, with his own agreeable sense of humour, with the result – something of a rarity in this macho, moody genre – that this is a spy novel with lead characters who are genuinely likeable. 

Reviews

3 stars out of 5
David Herman
28 Jan 2019

"a thriller for the Netflix age"

A Long Night in Paris is indeed long, over 400 pages, but it’s a page-turner, with short, zippy chapters, often just a couple of pages, moving between France and Israel. The plot is full of twists and turns, involving a fascinating mix of Israeli intelligence officers, Chinese hit-men, Arab drug-dealers and the most incompetent French policemen since Inspector Clouseau...The reviewer from Alfon’s old stamping ground, Haaretz, compares Alfon with Le Carré, with the new hi-tech exponents of China and Israel replacing Le Carré’s Cold War spies. But there is a deeper flaw in the comparison: Le Carré has the ability to create characters you really care about, most famously George Smiley, and a sense of old England in decline. Alfon can’t match this. 

4 stars out of 5
Jake Kerridge
24 Jan 2019

"This is a deeply enjoyable espionage thriller with plenty of juicy details about modern spycraft"

Michael Frayn's farcical novel Skios begins with a man leaving an airport and being seized by the urge (and, admit it, we've all felt it) to see what would happen if he approached a driver holding a pickup sign and pretended to be the person named on it. This debut thriller by the Israeli journalist Dov Alfon has the same starting point – only he plays the idea for thrills rather than laughs.... This is a deeply enjoyable espionage thriller with plenty of juicy details about modern spycraft, and although he is sometimes as sardonic and cynical as John le Carré, Alfon's style is light and relaxed. He invests his heroes, Bond-esque spymaster Colonel Zeev Abadi and his beautiful, brilliant deputy Lt Oriana Talmor, with his own agreeable sense of humour, with the result – something of a rarity in this macho, moody genre – that this is a spy novel with lead characters who are genuinely likeable. 

4 stars out of 5
16 Jan 2019

"Alfon came to the writing of this book with the perfect resumé. The perspectives of a lifetime lend a strong sense of realism to the scenes and to the interactions of people at all levels"

Alfon came to the writing of this book with the perfect resumé. The perspectives of a lifetime lend a strong sense of realism to the scenes and to the interactions of people at all levels. He knows Paris, having been born and raised there. He is himself a former intelligence officer in the Israeli Intelligence Corps’ Unit 8200, which is responsible for signal intelligence (SIGINT) and code decryption. His political acumen was honed as a former cultural observer and editor-in-chief of Israel’s major newspaper, Ha’aretz, and he served as an editor for Israel’s largest publishing house. The translation is excellent also.

4 stars out of 5
Adam LeBor
11 Jan 2019

"the book races along with pace and verve to a satisfying ending"

Dov Alfon writes with flair and confidence. His insider knowledge brings an added layer of verisimilitude. The bitter competition between the multiple wings of the Israeli intelligence complex and a further set of rivals in the military are vividly drawn, as is the snake pit of high-level Israeli politics... Each scene is a chapter, 120 in total. The short bursts of action and multiple point-of-view characters sometimes make for a bitty narrative. But Alfon is skilled enough to ensure that the book races along with pace and verve to a satisfying ending.